Dos and Don'ts for Interim Positions

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As banks and other financial firms remain hesitant to bring on full-timers in this economic downturn, interim placements are growing at a steady pace, says Bill Guy, chairman and CEO of Cornerstone International Group, a retained executive search firm.

However, while taking on interim hires may make sense for a skittish employer, not all mid-career professionals are that "hip" to the idea. Still, Guy tells eFinancialCareers that there could be real value in an interim post.

He recommends some key dos and don'ts when looking for and taking a short-term spot:

1. Approach a company directly and skip the headhunter. Offer the employer a solution to a vexing business problem or concern they might be having at the time. This requires a bit of homework on your part. Ask your connections for help and scour the financial statements and news. Get a sense of the industry and company division, and look at the current restraints on the sector.

2. Circumvent the internal recruiters too. If you have a connection at a firm or bank, use them. If you don't, try your best to reach out to the decision-makers directly, and be ready to make your pitch.

3. Look for a bank, investment or PE firm that needs something you have to offer. While most people are afraid of rejection, remember the old adage of "nothing ventured, nothing gained."

4. When you get in the door, consider the job to be a sales pitch. At the end of the day, you're selling yourself, hopefully, for longer term employment. If the interim spot doesn't last, remember it's great to leave a good impression. It helps to have a recommendation that's not too moldy.

5. Walk a fine line. Be forthright and direct. Work hard, but don't be too pushy about your job desires. It's fine to make it clear that you're available for, interested in and qualified to do a full-time post. "There's no arm twisting involved, when you're offering the employer something they need," says Guy. Be careful not to brag, but find out the hot button of the company and offer a concrete solution.

Even when you're in the door for an interim position, don't let up on your full-time job search with other banks and firms. Don't be fooled by time extensions on an interim deal. It might simply mean that the project or deal is taking longer than expected, and the employer still has no interest in bringing on more full-timers. Then again, it might be good news for you. Essentially, don't limit your possibilities.

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