Working as an interim or a contractor has many benefits, but may not suit everyone. On the plus side, it can offer a varied, flexible and rewarding career that can allow you to manage a better work-life balance. However, it can also have its challenges and many professionals fear leaving the security and benefits offered by permanent positions. So, what should you expect if you take that interim position? Here are some things to be aware of.

Life as an interim

Interims are needed at all levels of businesses across most sectors – not just at the management level. Interims are brought into an organisation on a temporary basis to help out with specific project needs or to fill a temporary skills shortage. Working as an interim can take different forms, from rolling contracts based on daily rates to fixed-term salary contracts. As with contracting, a career as an interim can offer you more flexibility as well as exposure to a wide variety of companies and projects.

This can be an exciting career that offers the chance to have a real impact on businesses and work with a number of different organisations. Interims are typically highly-skilled, experienced individuals who can quickly take the helm of a project or business scenario and make a real difference. Interim manager roles can also offer highly competitive rates of pay.

High-level interim contracts can be pressurised, as they are driven by a real business need that requires immediate leadership. A client will want to see an interim manager deliver positive results quickly and efficiently for their business. Depending on your nature, the element of pressure could either be a positive or a negative factor. Job insecurity is normally the main drawback of an interim lifestyle.

Work as an interim will require you to be highly adaptable and flexible. The ability to step into new challenges and get up to speed with the demands of the new project is an essential quality. You will also need to quickly adapt to the ways in which your new company works. This can be an issue for some as regularly changing roles and ways of working can be unsettling.

As well as being able to adapt, you’ll need to be cool under pressure. It can be stressful dealing with new people and new situations and there will be a demand to demonstrate your value quickly and deliver tangible results – often in a short timeframe. Most people who chose to work as an interim long term, will thrive under this pressure and will be confident and comfortable with getting stuck in with new teams.

Given that you will be working with new people a lot of the time, it is crucial that you are a strong communicator. Taking direction, offering expertise, shaping processes and driving projects forward all relies on your ability to communicate effectively with the team you find yourself placed within. What is also important, is the ability to adapt your communication style to fit with the task and audience at hand.

Whether interim, temp or permanent, Michael Page always has excellent live jobs to apply for.

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