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Interim interview styles and how to prepare

by Laura Murphy


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Preparing for an interim role can be daunting, but fear not—as at Tile Hill, we are pros when it comes to getting you ready for interim roles and the unique interview styles that come with them. Whether you're a seasoned interim professional or considering this path for the first time, preparing effectively for these interviews is key to success. Senior Consultant Laura Murphy shares her top tips on how to prepare for your interview.

Research is Key
As an interim, you're expected to hit the ground running from day one. This means preparation is essential. Start by researching the organisation extensively. Most of the time with interim roles you do not get an in-depth job description, this means you need to go a bit deeper with your research. Head to the organisation's website, look into strategic plans, recent reports, and any regulatory inspections (such as Ofsted in educational settings). Understand the company's goals, challenges, and recent developments. Use this knowledge to formulate insightful questions and demonstrate your understanding during the interview.

Speak to the recruitment consultant to understand the nuances of the role and the specific outcomes or issues they are trying to resolve. It's crucial to really grasp the reason for bringing in an interim, use this knowledge to formulate insightful questions and demonstrate your understanding during the interview.

Take the time to explore the strategic vision and plans of the organisation. Most councils and organisations publish these documents on their websites. Understanding this roadmap will provide invaluable context for your potential role. Additionally, inquire about the organisational structure and any recent turnover. Asking thoughtful questions about these topics shows your engagement and interest in the role and organisation. 

Showcase Your Career Achievements
During the interview, be prepared to discuss your career achievements in a professional way. Highlight relevant successes from your past roles and have examples ready, such as case studies that demonstrate your problem-solving skills. Highlight not just what you did, but why you did it and the impact it made. Reinforce your points with facts and figures for better context.

Proving that you can adjust to new environments and industries along with challenges that have been set will help y
ou to transition smoothly into your new role and make well-informed decisions. This is not a permanent role so interviewers are not interested in your long-term career aspirations.
Consider how you would adjust and evolve your approach to fit the role you are entering, and provide evidence for why you believe this approach would be beneficial.

Confidence and Professionalism
Interim positions demand confidence and professionalism. Show that you can build relationships swiftly and effectively.
Be energetic and persuasive during the interview. Dress appropriately—treat the interview as seriously as you would a permanent role. If interviewers are late or if unexpected issues arise, remain composed and professional. Avoid discussing financial matters during the interview; leave that to your recruitment consultant. Instead, focus on showcasing your qualifications, experience, and skills for the role.

Manage Expectations Realistically
Be honest about what you can achieve within the timeframe of the interim role. Avoid over-promising and under-delivering. Discuss realistic outcomes based on your experience and the organisation's needs. You will be working with clients, internal employees, and senior leadership so communicating expectations clearly and effectively is crucial for success in these types of roles.
This approach will set clear expectations from the outset so you can start the role with a plan in mind. It will also give you respect and credibility from the organisation. You can read more about how to navigate success through interim contracts

Interview Questions
Here are some of the key questions that you would possibly be asked during a senior interim manager interview.
How do you approach entering a new organisation and quickly building rapport with teams and stakeholders?
In interim roles, time is limited. How do you ensure you make a meaningful impact within a short timeframe?

Interim Managers often need to work with existing leadership. How do you navigate collaborating with senior executives and decision-makers?

Can you share an experience where you needed to pivot your strategy due to unexpected challenges? How did you handle the situation?

Final Thoughts
Preparing for an interim role interview requires a lot of research, confidence, and professionalism. By thoroughly understanding the organisation, showcasing your achievements, and managing expectations realistically, you can position yourself as the ideal candidate for the role. 
At Tile Hill, we understand the process of interim placements and are here to support you every step of the way. If you're considering an interim role or seeking advice on interview preparation, don't hesitate to reach out to our team.

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