Newcomers to interim management can find it hard to adjust to the business of winning assignments, but learning how to work well with a good agency will prove invaluable from the very beginning, By Rob McLuhan
Interim work can be highly rewarding but it does involve more or less perpetual job-seeking. While those seeking permanent employment will thankfully put the rigmarole of CVs and interviews behind them when they join a new company, the interim manager must treat the business of winning assignments as a skill in itself.
Much of the aggravation is taken out of this by a good agency, which will identify suitable projects and make the first contacts. So an ability to maintain a good relationship with the agency is itself essential. Interim managers must not only impress potential clients; they need to ensure that someone is actively keeping an eye open for future opportunities.
For managers who have established a career in interim work all this soon becomes second nature but for beginners the routine can seem unfamiliar. That is especially the case for top executives who may be embarking on a new career as an interim after having retired from a long-term post.
"Quite often it is the more senior managers who need the most guidance," comments Sheila Chalker, partner at Interim Management Services. "They have had staff to do their office work so when it comes to organising their own CV and administration it can seem quite foreign."
Write a good CV
Many of the rules for an interim manager's CV are the same as for a permanent position, and all agencies emphasise the need for clarity, conciseness and relevance. Treat it as a marketing tool for your professional expertise and achievements, they say, and be prepared to tailor it to specific assignments.
Experts have always been divided about how long a CV should be, with some urging brevity as a means of creating impact while others prefer to err on the side of too much detail. David Bradford, managing director of Impact Executives, says, "You don't have to restrict it to two pages, although more than four is probably too much. But stick to the key facts, rather