Could you make it as an Interim?

5 key qualities that high impact interims demonstrate

With interim roles on the increase, more candidates are considering taking the day rate route. The gains of working through your own limited company coupled with the flexibility and variety appeal to many. However, the best interim candidates are a different breed from a good perm or long term FTC candidate.

Working on the interim team here at Oasis HR I’ve noticed that the same characteristics and qualities appear time and again from both clients and candidates. Given that unique view, I wanted to share some of those experiences to assist both new and seasoned interim professionals.

Here are my top 5 points that I feel make the difference between surviving and thriving as an interim.

1. Challenge – Interim is not for the faint hearted!

Not only do you need to enjoy a challenge, you need to be comfortable with consistent challenge. Nine times out of ten an interim will start with an uphill struggle and when they have finally got things in order, completed a project and smoothed the road ahead, it’s then on to the next project without a moment to enjoy things ‘ticking over’.

2. Pace – Even in a slow paced organization, interims need to pick up the speed

As an interim your role is more than upholding the status quo, you need to add value at every turn. With a limited time to achieve key milestones and goals – pace is key. You are the person responsible for pushing change through, getting people to agree and above all ensuring that there is action and activity. Above all the customer wants to see tangible results quickly.

3. Self-Starter – You need to be driven to succeed

A good interim has to be driven and confident enough in their own ability to just get on with it! Jumping out of bed in the morning and reveling in the challenge of bashing some heads together to get a key point agreed (with enthusiasm!) is the difference between a good, and a great interim. Even when it may feel like the whole world is against you and your project is being sabotaged by all around you – the decisive interim will focus on the positives and get the job done.

4. People Skills – Get on with people so you can get on with the job

In any new role getting to know your colleagues and stakeholders can be a daunting task. In some permanent roles it’s not unreasonable to expect this to take months. However on assignment, time is a luxury and interims need to have not only a lack of ego but a high level of gravitas and ability to inspire confidence.

5. Adaptability – Interims have to deliver consistently in an inconsistent environment

This can be a dirty word in recruitment, especially in a market with an ever increasing list of specifics for each hire. The fact is there is a multitude of change from one project to the next even if the role requirements, and project specifications match up to your experience, each new assignment brings a new team, new location and new environment. In any new role you must be able to quickly asses the environment, culture and process of a business and quickly figure out the way you need to proceed to add value.

Deciding to take the plunge as a career interim can be a daunting decision but if it IS right for you it could lead to a happier, more successful and ultimately more satisfying career. In our experience if you have the five above qualities you won’t go far wrong.

Amber Holdsworth

Written by , Consultant

Amber joined Oasis in January 2013 and has quickly progressed to Consultant. She is an interim specialist and has built a great network of in-house recruiters and top level HR consultants. Amber has a passion for traveling, having sailed across the Atlantic twice and living in Cambodia while completing her degree in Development Geography. Her love of a challenge extends to anything from the trickiest head hunt to a hair-raising abseil down Battersea Power station to raise money for Cancer Research UK. She is known in the office for spouting random facts on anything from deserted islands to ancient laws, she is hopeful that at some point she will find a purpose for this completely useless information!

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