Guy Herbertson shares three essential steps for approaching interim providers and explains how to maximise the connection.
Identifying the right interim service provider and the individual within that company can be challenging and time consuming but also essential. When you are trying to establish and develop relationships with interim specialists always ensure you first send them your CV. A consultant can quickly establish whether they are the best partner for you or perhaps refer you to colleagues who may have opportunities or be better suited to your background.
Different firms and different individuals will have different operating models. In general, established providers of interim services will also help signpost you to recommended, relevant providers and partners to continue to build a larger network. And remember, consultants have to spend the vast majority of their time identifying new interim opportunities or delivering against live opportunities. Your agenda and availability is not necessarily theirs.
Once you have identified the consultants most relevant to your role or sector then it is important that you both take the time to get to know each other. The provider will want to know all about your background and experience and how that translates to their areas of focus and you need to know that you are being represented by credible individuals.
With the most relevant providers make the effort to meet with them as diaries allow, as a provider meeting helps show your genuine commitment to a career as an interim but also your willingness to work with us. With your established network of providers make the time to meet with them when you are coming to the end of an assignment or during a break, this keeps you front of mind.
As an established interim building trust continues to be crucial. Ensure you have built a personal connection with the most relevant partners keep them updated (step 3), be as responsive as you can to requests or questions (this should be reciprocal as well). Sometimes providers can be frustrating but be professional, patient, polite and consistent with your contact to ensure you are also kept informed.
Consult with your chosen providers as well, you should trust their advice but act upon the advice given as you see fit, this will also help to build trust and a consultative relationship.
You are more likely to be placed by your interim consultant multiple times in the space of a few years, a good interim consultant will look to nurture the relationship over time. If you secure an interim opportunity through another means, let them know, and arrange to speak at least a month before you return to market. This ensures that you can be front of mind for any new opportunities or client activities that they may be working on at that time.
Providers will always aim to keep you updated as well but with large networks this can be difficult and it’s not that you are being ignored although we appreciate this can be frustrating. An email update and request for a catchup will not go unnoticed but diaries may not allow, do not lose faith though and again continue to be patient and consistent in your updates.
Sometimes it can be frustrating when trying to identify the appropriate consultants, but it will be worthwhile once you have.
Feel free to discuss topics with your chosen providers as well, you should trust their advice but act upon the advice given as you see fit, this will also help to build trust and a consultative relationship.