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Becoming an Interim Manager

Written by: CABA
Published on: 5 Dec 2019

Two people having a coffee

Pic: Marcus Aurelius, Pexels

If you are thinking of becoming an Interim Manager and would like to get a better understanding of what that entails – please read on! The following points will give you a good overview of things to consider.

What is an Interim Manager? 
The definition used to be clear, but sales people have muddied the water. It’s a manager who works in an organisation on a temporary basis and invariably sits at or near board level. Change is usually a factor in interim management assignments and can involve filling a post during the search for a permanent replacement.

Where do assignments come from? 
Private sector organisations often find candidates from their own networks and will look for recommendations from your satisfied clients. The public sector tends to use agencies or providers for sourcing interim managers and again, satisfied clients are the key to standing out.

Spend time getting to know yourself 
What are your goals in life? What 3 to 5 skills do you bring to the work place?
What 3 to 5 benefits do you bring to the work place? How would you use to describe yourself in 3 to 5 points?

Benefits of being an Interim Manager 
One of the best benefits is getting to be your own boss. You’ll have the opportunity to work across a wide variety of projects and see many more issues than most managers. Being an Interim Manager may help you professionally and you’ll learn new skills to keep up with your CPD.

What do you need to be an Interim Manager? 
You’ll need around 20 years experience with 10 at a senior level. Excellent health is also important as interim management is high stress and can involve long hours. You’ll also need to enjoy a challenge, be results driven and have good interpersonal and communication skills.

Interim management vs. consulting 
Consultants write reports while Interim Managers deliver a project. There is some crossover, but less than people assume. Interim Managers are experienced successful managers whilst consultants tend to have had a career in consultancy. They are both part of a continuous spectrum.

Strap Line 
Make sure able to answer the question “What do you do?” Present yourself as a brand with 1, 2 and 3 sentence versions. Try to use the 1 sentence version when possible.

What do you need? 
To get started you need a good CV that is different from other candidates along with business cards and letterheads. Get an online presence by creating a LinkedIn profile and your own website. Build a network – satisfied clients are the best source for work.

Your CV 
You have 15 seconds to make an impression - make it count! The private sector wants an 800 word 2-page MS Word CV while the public sector wants a much longer CV in varied formats. Try the STAR methodology (Situation, Task, Actions and Result).

LinkedIn is the most important marketing tool of today and most potential clients will check your LinkedIn profile. Keep it interesting and up to date, only connect to people you know and make it easy for people to find you by joining groups and posting on forums.

If you help other people then they will usually help you - if they don’t reciprocate after a while, drop them. Use a contact tracker, keep it up-to-date and talk to people on the phone where possible. Don’t forget other communication mediums such as hard copy mail and social networking. Get involved with an industry association such as the ICAEW’s interim management group.

Public Relations 
PR is much more effective for an interim manager than advertising. Be active in your field, write articles for trade papers and go to as many conferences, meetings and events as possible. Find out about conference speaking opportunities and volunteer for committees.

How to find your first assignment 
Finding your first assignment is just a project like any other so you need to treat is as such. Produce a project plan. Who is the target audience? What do they need? How can you give it to them?

Interview techniques 
Ask questions to find out what the client wants and give examples of things you’ve done in your career to deliver similar results. Tell the client what benefits you will bring to their organisation and link your benefits directly to the job spec that you have from your research. Do not waffle!