Is an interim career for me?

am a senior HR manager for a medium-sized company. I have read a lot recently
about interim management and am quite attracted to the idea. What could I
expect from a career in this field, and how do I know if it’s for me?

Daniels, director of Carr Lyons, writes:

and more people are taking time out to undertake interim work, both in HR and
generally in business as a whole. The benefits are that you get the opportunity
to experience different cultures, do not tend to get bogged down in office or
corporate politics and will enjoy a greater sense of freedom.

the downside, it can be a lonely life and you will need to hit the ground
running. You will have no bedding-in period and will be expected to add value
from day one. It really is a question of personality. If you are
self-motivated, work well under your own steam and can interact with people at
all levels, you should be ok. It can be an enriching experience, although you
do need to bear in mind that you may be more vulnerable in an interim capacity
in the event that there is further deterioration in the economy.

Malpas, joint managing director, Malpas Flexible Learning, writes:

it this way: do you invest money in the stock market or in National Savings? If
you prefer safer options, interim management may not be for you.

senior interim posts give you the chance to deliver results quickly, work in a
variety of industries and maybe cross from the public to the private sector and
vice versa.

if you are looking for excitement, variety and challenge, this could be the
move for you.

you will be expected to hit the ground running, quickly grasp the key business
issues, and build strong relationships in double quick time – yet still be
prepared to challenge. To build a good reputation in the interim management
industry you will need to deliver results fast.

the other hand, some companies merely want someone to tide things over while
the original job holder is on sabbatical or parental leave. These positions may
still give you variety but will not challenge you to the same extent.

must have been something that has caught your eye about interim management and
attracted you to it. Try to work out exactly what this is before making a move.
Interim management isn’t for everyone.

your networks to see if any of your friends have done this kind of work. If
your network doesn’t turn up anyone, try going to your CIPD branch meeting.
Contact some interim management recruitment consultants. Find out what skills
and attributes they are looking for. A flick through the back pages of Personnel
will give you many leads.

Aitken, consultant at Chiumento Consulting Group, writes:

an interim manager is a career choice made by a person who chooses to become an
independent worker. You must have a burning desire to own and run your own
business and be very sure that you possess skills that are marketable and what
organisations want.

prospect of working on a variety of assignments and with different
organisations is very attractive but anyone entering into interim has to be
realistic about the difference in status from being an employee. Notably the
short term nature of most contracts could mean periods of unemployment. If you
are the sort of person who needs relative job security and a regular level of
income then this will not be for you.

ideal interim candidate has a high level of independence, the ability to relate
and influence quickly and an in-depth knowledge of the type of business they
are going to assist. To be faced with these challenges on a regular basis calls
for a special type of personality and it maybe that psychometrics can help
establish if you are suitable.

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