Interim marketing managers tell all

These successful Marketing managers tell us about how they came to work on an Interim basis, what's next and offer advice to anyone considering a similar path. Read on:

IT&T Interim Manager, Head of Natural Search

Please summarise your previous experience:
I have worked in a number of areas including Management Consulting, Systems Installation and as the COO of a web start up.
How important are Interim Marketing professionals in the Telco sector?
Interims are vital to inject the latest search expertise. With an established team, particularly in larger firms, it can be difficult for businesses to change processes and working practices quickly enough to keep pace with market developments. An interim will often bring in fresh, up-to-date ideas that help drive development.
What do you see as the benefits of operating as an interim manager?
Definitely the element of freedom: as an Interim you're less restricted by operational constraints, which frees you to make more effective decisions.
What do you think are the key transferable skills for marketing temps in the Telco sector? 
The major one would be online search experience on a corporate scale – skills in this area are always in great demand within Telcos.
What trends do you see in this market for temps in your sector?
I think we're likely to see more large scale efficiencies, coupled with more small innovations in search marketing.
What advice would you offer other candidates looking to make the transition into interim opportunities in the Telco sector?
It's vital to understand the specifics of channel delivery – this is a key area of knowledge that most companies will look for.

Interim Patient and Public Involvement Manager, Public Health Organisation

Please summarise your previous experience:
I have 16 years voluntary and Public Sector experience and worked as a manager in the NHS from 2002 until being made redundant earlier this year.
What were your reasons for considering temporary work?
I was keen to try out different work environments whilst I considered my longer term future. I was also aware that an agency would be better qualified than the Job Centre Plus to help me achieve my goals. Lastly, I considered what a gap on my CV would look like in the future, as well as remaining current with my skills and knowledge. 
What differences have you found working as a temporary worker rather than permanent employee?
It is hard to not think as a temporary worker when you are used to thinking strategically. On a rational day I still have no fear about the future but some days I have wondered how I might feel if the client ended my contract unexpectedly as I have enjoyed my placement and see potential for the future. This conflicts with the 'temporariness' I was seeking in the first place.
How easy did you find securing a temporary position? 
After being made redundant I was expecting to find it difficult but my consultant reassured me throughout the whole process and I have to say it was easier than expected.
How quickly do you believe you have been able to get up to speed in your current assignment?
I feel I am doing quite well, hopefully my employer would support that!
Do you think you will continue to operate as a temporary worker or will you look to return to permanent work?
I haven't made any decisions on that but I'll certainly consider both options in future.
What advice would you offer people considering temporary work?
Consider what it is you want to get out of your assignment, be truthful and honest with yourself. Don't forget it is temporary but making the right impression may prove useful for the future; just because you are temporary does not mean what you are being asked to do is temporary.

Head of Internal Communications, Government Body

Please summarise your previous experience:
I moved into Communications 10 years ago after a successful start as a management trainee and branch manager in a building society. After various interim and permanent roles in the financial services and utilities sectors, I moved into the Public Sector last year.
Without previous experience in the Public Sector, how easy did you find it to make the transition?
It wasn't that bad! I'm working within a small government agency with around 300 employees (including contractors) - so there was no huge organisational structure to come to terms with. Yes, there are a lot of meetings but nothing unusual in that! The biggest change was the shift away from maximising profit; there is a clear principle to deliver value for money for the budget we receive, ensuring efficiency in everything we do.
What do you see as the benefits to operating as an interim manager?
Freedom to choose the jobs you do, time off between roles and the financial benefits. As an Interim there is greater opportunity to challenge the status quo in a positive way, bringing new ideas and approaches to business processes.  It's very refreshing, good fun and often valued by the organisation.
How transferable have you found your commercial skills within the Public Sector?
Very. There's a bit of adapting to do but fortunately that's one of my skills! Learning the operating models and 'business' rules pretty quickly is a major priority. For example, I have managed budgets for years but in the Public Sector this is dictated by strict government guidelines, so you learn new ways of doing things. 
What challenges have you found changing sectors?
The biggest challenge has been getting accustomed to how political drivers affect the way priorities are agreed and communicated. In a commercial environment the outcomes are clearly defined but when part of your core activity is to be an influencer of government policy there's more at stake than simple, financial concerns.
What advice would you offer other candidates looking to make the transition into the Public Sector?
Research your new environment thoroughly. How is the organisation funded and what impact could this have on your budgets? What different legislation do you need to be aware of? The Freedom of Information Act, for example, had considerable implications on my work.  Be prepared for some different thinking. The political environment has a huge influence on the behaviours of Public Sector organisations and it will benefit you hugely to find out what the drivers for decision making and prioritisation are at the first opportunity.