What is HR interim?
HR Interim Manager is not a term that should be used to describe those individuals who look to interim HR opportunities as a temporary stopgap whilst looking for their next permanent opportunity, but should instead be reserved for individuals who are true and proven heavyweight career interims. These individuals are committed to an interim career and they relish the challenge of different assignments and projects.
Clients tend to employ Interim HR Managers to take ownership for the delivery of a specific temporary project or resolution of an issue, for example:
- to fill highly specialist skill gaps within existing teams
- to solve problems such as disputes/crises
- to design and deliver change initiatives around mergers/acquisitions or redundancies
- to cover vacancies for maternity, secondment or illness
- to project manage the implementation of a specific HR system
- Often in these scenarios a permanent role may be unnecessary or impossible to find at short notice where time constraints are paramount. Additionally, there may not be any suitable individuals internally for the position in question.
Career Interim Managers are generally senior professionals with significant experience and knowledge within either generalist HR or specific skill areas such as Reward, Change Management or Employee Relations. They have broad industry experience and are able to bring fresh perspective to each project. As they are unencumbered by any previous involvement with the company, interim HR managers are able to be objective and concentrate wholeheartedly on the project they have been employed to complete.
Clients tend to employ these individuals as they are self starters and can integrate into the business quickly, thus ensuring business continuity and minimizing downtime. To coin an overly used phrase, good HR Interims can hit the ground running.
Measured by their track record and previous achievements, Interim HR professionals are often over qualified for the assignments they undertake, however the benefits to the individual often outweigh the reduced seniority. The benefits are generally considered to be:
- Increased earnings which can be further enhanced by working as a LTD Company
- A flexible lifestyle which allows the individual to accommodate other commitments
- The opportunity to establish a work / life balance
- Objectivity as an interim you are more likely to avoid corporate politics and the inevitable red tape!
- The chance to gain a broader depth of industry experience
HR interim job titles
- Interim HR Director
- Change Consultant
- TUPE Expert
- Recruitment Project Manager
HR interim specialist responsibilities/accountabilities:
HR Interim Managers are experienced professionals who have already gained significant success in their field. Seniority of HR interims will range from mid to Executive level professionals from HR Business Partner to HR Director working at board level.
HR interims skills/essentials:
- The ability to act independently, impartially and objectively
- Results focused
- A mature and consultative attitude
- Over qualified for the role with an impressive track record within HR
- Flexibility: Interim Managers need to be able to adapt quickly to different working environments and cultures and have a flexible attitude to where, how and when they work
It is important to remember that whilst a career as an Interim Manager can be fast-paced, challenging and massively rewarding it is not always an easy path to follow. Interims need to be able to cope with financial uncertainty as you can never guarantee your next contract. Another point to note is that this is a highly competitive environment which commands huge self-discipline and the ability and confidence to pitch to clients for business on a regular basis. Individuals who are new to interim management often find it difficult to deal with not just these practical downsides of interim work but also the psychological consequences; it can be disheartening dealing with extended periods of unemployment and handling rejection when pipped at the post by candidates with more relevant interim experience.
As an Interim Manager you will need to consider your options as either a paid employer (PAYE) or Limited Company. For financial and insurance reasons many clients prefer to work with Interim Managers who are set up as Limited Companies. If you are considering going down this tax efficient route it is recommended that you speak with an accountant who will be able to explain the positive and negatives of working as a LTD Company, what legislation you will need to comply with and the attached administration, costs and insurances.
Finally as an Interim Manager you will be constantly expanding your network and so it may be worth associating yourself with the following organisations who offer professional support and development to their members as well as useful networking events: The Institute of Interim Management