The current HR interim market
There’s an on-going trend for HR interims to have niche and/or specialist skills these days. The need for generalists or even straightforward business partners covering ‘business as usual’ HR roles seems to be diminishing. In our view this is a consequence of two factors: organisations becoming more cost-conscious in tough economic times; clients filling these roles internally through better talent and succession planning. HR aside, there’s also demand for executives in the business-critical areas of finance, operations and general management.
HR skills in demand include:
- Reward, and within this area specific project skills, for example exposure to certain pay and grading models/systems
- HR project and programme management skills – having proven programme methodology experience such as Prince2 or MSP
- HRIS – including cloud-based HR systems such as Workday, or add-on systems around applicant tracking or learning management systems
- Organisation design: as businesses undergo large change programs there is a demand to bring in specific organisational design skills to fill a gap between the strategic work, that large consulting practices such as Bain or McKinsey do, and the tactical implementation of these new operating models
- Employee relations: the consequent changes to structures following operating model changes ultimately require high levels of ER skills to assist in running consultation processes
How can you stand out from the crowd?
Be a specialist. Focus on selling what you’re best at and have a wealth of experience in. Know what you’re worth but be prepared to be pragmatic – it’s about knowing in what circumstances you should concede a little of your target day rate, and when to hold firm. Interims need to be hyper-connected and should use all of the networks open to them.
Develop strong relationships with direct sources of assignments but also a small number of quality intermediaries who specialise in the kind of work you do. Word of mouth is particularly important, so make sure you not only do good work but also ensure others who might hire you hear about it.
Working with recruiters - top tips
1. Meet us 1:1 to get to know us as individuals as well as organisations, and then keep in touch. It’s all too easy to secure an assignment and forget to let us know. All we need to know is where you are and for how long to make sure we can consider you for the following role.
2. Share information where you can. We are all in business and I am a firm believer that being open and honest is the best way to develop long term, mutually beneficial relationships.
3. Work with us to sell you and your know-how in as many ways as you can. For example, you might contribute comments to our blog posts, write a guest post yourself, offer to share each other’s web links or speak at one of our client events.