Becoming an interim manager is potentially a very exciting career move. From interim management you often get a lot more variation than you have had in your corporate career, the ability to negate a lot of the politics that you've previously been involved with and potentially some very good reward. A lot of people, when they first get into interim management though are quite surprised by the number of different factors that lead to a successful interim career. The team at EO have put together the following tips for you if you're thinking about becoming an interim manager to help you navigate all that.
1. You must have a Ltd Company
As a new interim the first thing you need to do is apply for your own limited company. You will need a copy of your limited company document if you get offered work which you will get from Companies House when you apply for a limited company.
2. Appoint an Accountant
Although it’s not a legal requirement we suggest that you get in contact with an accountant to discuss your needs. Accountants can help with your end of year accounts, submit your VAT returns, setup and run payroll, help with book keeping, deal with company related correspondence and provide tax planning advice.
3. Investigate professional indemnity and public liability insurance
You will also need public indemnity insurance. The amount you will need may vary depending on the size of the role and the client so always check this with them before signing your contract.
4. You may need to register for VAT
If your ltd company will turnover more than £83,000 you’ll need to VAT register and send a copy of your VAT certificate when you get offered work. We advise you to speak with your accountant.
5. Recognise that interim is a change in lifestyle
It’s important to recognise that interim is not just a change in job, it is a change in lifestyle so it’s important to go into that with your eyes open as your work/life balance will change.
6. Interim offers variety, freedom and can be lucrative
Interim offers a lot of great opportunities. There is variety with the work you can do, you get freedom to work on different types of projects and there is a feeling of being in control of your own destiny. Financially it can of course be lucrative as well if you can find a regular stream of work opportunities.
7. As an interim you are expected to perform and are easily disposable
There are also certain negative aspects to being an interim. You have to work hard, you're expected to perform, and as a contractor you are easily disposable (more so than a permanent employee). That can create a certain amount of stress both in-role and outside of role as you will often be coming into businesses that need your help and could be distressed themselves. A project may have gone off the rails, employees may be demotivated, or management may be entrenched. It takes a certain type of person to be able to go into situations like this, be empathetic to the situation and handle the stress and pressure when the business is looking to you to help them out. When not in role, you could be on the benches waiting for a role to come along, or spend time working away from home during the week rather than with family.
8. It's both challenging and rewarding so weigh up the pro's and con's
Interim is both challenging and rewarding, so if after you’ve weighed up the various pro’s and con’s you feel would be well suited to the interim lifestyle then it might be ready to take the next step. It’s important to consider all of this and talk to your family about whether it would be a good fit before going further down that path.
9. Networking is critical for interims
We ran a survey recently of 1000 interims and 70% of respondents said they found their current assignment through their own network.
10. You are representing yourself in the marketplace
Now that you're thinking of becoming an interim, you need to adopt a completely different mindset to the one you had as a permanent employee. What may have been important before is now absolutely vital as you are representing yourself in the marketplace.
11. Be generous with your network to drive reciprocity
The most important tip is to actually approach other people with a mindset of how you can help them. Don't just go after what you can get from them straight away. Be generous with your knowledge and give value, this drives reciprocity.
12. Continually network, not just when looking for a role
As well as this, network with specialist recruiters and alert them to your availability and your requirements. Also make sure that you network on an ongoing basis, not only concentrating on this when you become available. Make networking a habit.
13. You need to think and behave like an independent consultant
When operating as an interim manager, you need to think and behave like an independent consultant as you will be providing your expertise to the business that you're onsite with.
14. Consider holiday, sick pay and working away from home in your rate
One of the most important things to consider is, of course, your day rate, sometimes it's an hourly rate, so generally you're looking at a day rate. It is important to research what you're looking to charge for the skills that you have, and take into consideration things such as holiday, sick pay, accommodation if you're working away from home, and other factors and combine that into one rate that we present to the client for you.
15. Be competitive with your day rate on early assignments
As a first time contractor it is important to be flexible but you don't want to sell yourself short. Speak to your peer group and speak to other recruiters to make sure you pitch yourself at a rate that is right for you.
16. Your day rate should be adjusted to the client and the length of assignment
When considering your day rate, also consider factors such as the client that you're working for, how long a contract it is, and how likely it is that you can extend with that client.
17. Interim interviews are different to permanent interviews
Lots of career permanent employees struggle when they’re going for their first interim role and often that is because of the way they interview. Interim interviews have a different feel to them than interviews for permanent jobs, so don’t make the mistake of expecting the interviewer to just spend their time drilling down into your CV.
18. Interviews are centred around skill set not personal ambition
The interim interview is more centred around skillset rather than personality and ambition that is more related to a permanent search. As an interim manager you are seen as a short term fix to a current problem so whether you buy in to the business, the vision and are culturally aligned with employees is less important than the competency of the specific skill set you bring with you… after all you may only be there for six months!
19. Understand the requirements for the role
You need to act with pace, really understand what they require for the role and then take the lead by giving suitable examples that makes you the most relevant candidate and will secure you your next contract.
20. Be consultative and provide advice on what you would suggest
Think of the interview as a consultative conversation where you are teasing out the pain points the client has and then using your previous experience to provide guidance and ideas about how you would tackle their problems.
21. Be a specialist (clients want you for niche skill sets)
Whatever you do, be very good at it. From a client's viewpoint they are looking for someone that can hit the ground running, is a true expert, very experienced in that key niche and has substantial expertise. They're buying your experience, they're buying your knowledge.
22. Stakeholder management is crucial
When you're walking into an organisation they don't know you and you don't know them, so building up relationships quickly is very important and stakeholder management at every level will be critical to the success and the delivery of your particular project. You may be in a call centre one day and the next day presenting to the board, so being able to build relationships across the business and use those relationships to empathise with the client is absolutely critical.
23. You need to be hands on
You're not an employee and there is no employee - employer relationship. You're there to get things done and deliver. You can speak perhaps a little more candidly and tell it how it is. There are always politics so unfortunately there is no avoiding that, but because you have no baggage and are not necessarily looking for a long term career within the organisation clients may look to use you as a trusted advisor leveraging your fresh set of eyes and viewpoints.
24. Delivery is the priority for interim managers
The other key thing around there is, you're there to get the job done, so be very practical, pragmatic, you're going to have to roll your sleeves up, probably not able to delegate many things. It is all about doing and delivery.
So those are our top 24 tips for becoming an interim manager. If you found them useful then don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, follow us on LinkedIn and also visit www.executivesonline.co.uk/reports for more helpful resources.
If you are an executive considering becoming an interim manager then make sure you register your CV with us by following the link below.