The Interim to Permanent Switch: What You Need to Consider
Thinking of trading your interim career for a permanent role? Here’s what to look at first.
The reason you went interim in the first place
People turn to interim management for different reasons. It may be the need for a more flexible lifestyle, a desire to escape corporate politics or the ability to be your own boss. Whatever your motives, going back to a permanent role after being an interim is a significant change. Think about how much you value the benefits of your interim career, and whether or not you are willing to give them up.
A permanent role could be ideal if circumstances have changed and you want a more “normal” work situation again. Just make sure you are prepared for the transition back into life as an employee.
Consider how you want to be perceived by potential clients and employers. Do you want to be seen as a dynamic career interim who can adapt to multiple fields and disciplines? Or is it your highly specialised skills you want to be recognised for, regardless of whether they are used in an interim or permanent context? If it’s the former, taking on a permanent role could dilute your established interim status. When you decide to re-enter the interim world, your CV may not carry the same clarity and confidence as that of a dedicated interim. It doesn’t mean the decision to take a permanent position is the end of your interim career, but be prepared to justify the move later on.
If your niche skills are the backbone of your personal brand, a permanent role should make the most of them. In other words, unless you want to do something different, don’t take a job outside your normal remit. That way, when it’s time to move on, your brand can only be enhanced.
In general, interim management is more lucrative week-to-week than permanent employment. For example, an interim project manager might command £600 per day, but a salary of only £90,000 as an in-house project manager.
That said, you bear the responsibility of running your own limited company as an interim. You have to invoice for your work and pay yourself, as well as keep on top of accounting records. If you don’t mind taking a pay cut in exchange for a regular, hassle-free salary, a permanent role will give that to you.
Commitment to the company
When you take a permanent job you commit not only to the role itself, but to the company. Unlike in an interim role where assignment delivery is the sole focus, permanent employees should be invested in the long-term success of the business. You are embedded in the company’s fabric in a way you are not as an interim. This is preferable to many people, but if you love the independence of being an interim it could be a difficult to adapt to.
Cultural fit is also important for permanent staff, and the company’s goals, values and mission should match your own. The job will be much harder to commit to long-term if you don’t feel aligned with the business. While interim roles are designed to be in-and-out, permanent jobs are not, so make sure you’re in it for the long haul.
There is a half-way point between interim and permanent if you’re still undecided – the fixed-term contract. You still get most of the perks of being a permanent employee, including regular pay cheques, holiday and pension, but it is a shorter commitment.
Many interims negotiate fixed-term contracts when they are enjoying an assignment and want extra security, but don’t necessarily want to stay with the company long-term. These contracts can evolve into permanent roles, or end as planned, leaving you to get on with the next assignment.