As long as I have been following the market for interim managers with a treasury expertise, there has been a small inner circle that is almost never without an assignment. This is intriguing, not only for aspiring interim managers and the ones between jobs, but also for me as a recruiter. Two of them are currently in an assignment via my services, one almost. Perfect timing to make an analysis, these are my, not too scientific, not so comprehensive, observations:
- To state the obvious first: they have a track record that combines a broad and deep enough experience and skill set. They are the proverbial Swiss army knife. A one trick pony might last for a while if his skill is in demand, often this skill will go out of fashion after a while;
- Based upon the first observation they are not only able to hit the ground running, but can radiate this in a first meeting. One of the above mentioned interim managers recently had a 30 minute interview and was the first of four candidates scheduled to be interviewed. The client called me to cancel the other interviews, he found the one he wanted to hire. In my perception this has to do with a thorough preparation, asking the right questions, connecting own skills with requirements and showing eagerness to do an excellent job;
- “If he (she) did it before, he will be able to do it again”. Clients lean upon experiences of earlier clients. Related to this is how hard it sometimes can be to find the first assignment for an aspiring interim manager;
- Personal development is not something to bother the client with. You get the big bucks because you can deliver. If this means doing work below your level, you do it, being overqualified is often required.
- If in an assignment, first do a great job, later you can think about how to find the next one. Do not sit on your expertise and network, show initiative. This will lead to extensions and the opportunity to learn and update expertise. Something that is hard early in a new assignment;
- Successful interim managers are able to find the appropriate pricing level. Too low means no quality, too high means too expensive. And being busy is more important that the last €5/hr. Your rate should not disqualify you for the interview round. When that starts, fee is often not something interim managers are measured upon.
These are aspects I see with all three interim managers. I would like to know what your observations are this concerning.
Pieter de Kiewit
email@example.com / 0031611119783
A great article, Pieter.
As an interim Treasurer I can only confirm what you say. Another important asset interim Treasurers have is that they can bring in ideas on how to improve processes and possibly do things in a more efficient manner.
By the way, interim managers do not generally talk about going to interviews. Interviews are mainly for employees. We go to negotiations to find out whether we are suitable to help the client solve a problem.
Thanks for your response and I agree with what you say. Even for us recruiters it is hard to balance landing new assignments and working on the ones we have. What I do see with the above mentioned candidates that they often have to sell no. Furthermore they often have a relation with their client in which they can work part time in the end and start phase of a project: they deserved flexibility. Finally they often give us a heads up about their expected availability. Too many aspects to this topic....
Interesting insights and undoubtably doing one's homework is a key factor to success.
One thing I would like to add, as the title contains 'Never without an assignment', is the balance between giving one's all to the assignment, whilst at the same, finding the next assignment. This is difficult for us all, as we all want to give 100% all the time and it therefore usually results in 'Continuous assignments, with small vacuums inbetween', rather than 'Never without and assignment'.