The pros and cons of being an interim manager

by | 11 Oct 2022 | Insights

I spoke to Nick Archer recently. Nick is Communications Consultant for one of the leading suppliers of innovative construction solutions.

Nick has previously worked in permanent contracts and is in his first interim role now. I asked him about the pros and cons of interim management, and I hope his answers will be useful for anyone considering their first interim role.

Below is the transcript of our conversation:

Nicolette Ford:

Nick, my first question is, what kind of roles were you doing before? Were they in communications like you’re doing now?

Nick Archer:

I’ve spent most of my recent career as a senior communications practitioner working for different companies in different sectors, whether that’s green energy in India, or mining, literally all over the world.

I finished with my permanent role about 18 months ago and took some time out that was much needed, more than I realised, I think. Then, whilst looking for a new permanent role, this interim opportunity arose, and it’s been working out incredibly well.

Nicolette Ford:

What made you decide to take the plunge into interim?

Nick Archer: 

In my previous role, Nikki, I’d been with the company for seven years. Whilst looking for a new permanent position, headhunters had said to me that it would be quite useful to be able to demonstrate the ability to go from one sector to another and also to prove that I really could roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty.

So, when this interim opportunity arose, I was really interested. It’s working for a German company, something I hadn’t done before, working very closely with private equity people, something I also hadn’t done before. I love learning. I’m on a lifelong, learning expedition and it’s been very fulfilling.

Nicolette Ford:

How did you find the transition?

Nick Archer:

That’s a really good question and I wasn’t sure how I was going to find it myself. People had told me an interim role is in many ways better than a permanent position, because people will think twice before calling you at the weekend, or late at night. You somehow have more respect for being a contractor rather than in a permanent role.

It was agreed that I would work four days a week and that flexibility worked out incredibly well. I’m very lucky with the company I’m working with. They don’t mind whether I do the four days a week Monday to Thursday, or Tuesday to Friday, and they’re also very relaxed about where I’m working from. That additional flexibility has been fantastic, and we have taken the opportunity to travel pretty widely over the past few months because the role has enabled me to do that.

Nicolette Ford:

Is there something that you like the most? Is it the flexibility that you like the most, or perhaps the fact that you tend to get a bit more respect in the role?

Nick Archer:

I think reflecting back on it, if you’re in a permanent in-house role, particularly after a number of years, you actually are part of the furniture. As an external consultant people look to you for real, objective advice, and I’m finding when I give them that objective counsel they tend to take more notice of it.

Nicolette Ford: 

And is there something you like the least about it? Is there something that perhaps is better in a permanent contract role?

Nick Archer:

Well, I’ve never been a huge fan of time sheets. Doing the accounts, or invoicing, or VAT return is something I hadn’t previously done. But it’s relatively minor compared to the actual role, which I’m enjoying hugely.

I also know that they’re happy with me because we’ve asked them the question and I’m looking forward to supporting them over the coming weeks and months.

Nicolette Ford:

The last thing I want to ask you is if you have any specific advice for anybody considering their first interim role?

Nick Archer: 

I think the interview technique needs to build a little bit different. I think when you interview for a permanent role, you’re trying to identify why you’re the right fit for them.

I think with an interim role you still want to demonstrate that you’re the right fit, but you also want to demonstrate that you’re very flexible; that you’re as happy talking with the executive committee, or the board, about strategic issues, as you are rolling up your sleeves and drafting an announcement or a Q&A. I think those are important proof points to get across.

Nicolette Ford: 

Should you reflect that in your CV too do you think?

Nick Archer:

Yes, I think that’s a great point, Nikki. I agree.

Nicolette Ford:

Thank you so much for your time and the really good insights. It’s much appreciated.

Nick Archer:

Pleasure talking to you.


If you’re considering your first interim role, or would like to chat to one of our partners to discuss whether it could be right for you, please contact us.