While the job market may be tightening for healthcare C-Suite positions, coupled with intense competition for those jobs that do become available, there is one career segment that will probably see significant growth over the next five years: interim executives.
The equation for this prediction is fairly straightforward: change brings turmoil; turmoil creates instability; instability breeds operating and financial problems, which in turn fuels executive turnover. And turnover breeds opportunity. This year there has been a steady uptick in the need for interim/turnaround executives. Many industry prognosticators that I talk with believe that this trend will only increase over the next five to seven years.
As a cautionary note, the competition for this work (like executive search) has always been intense, from the large national firms to recruiting agencies and independent executives, but for those who have a great story to tell, healthcare reform may turn out to be a professionally rewarding and lucrative gift from Washington.
Ideally, you can go after the work as a free agent, contracting directly with a board or the controlling entity. Or, you can work as a sub contractor for one of the national firms who routinely sell this service and offer a plethora of expertise and consulting resources. If you are contacted by one or two of the national recruiting firms that engage in this service, be aware that you might be unpleasantly surprised in how little of their fee you can command.
Here is a list of questions that may help you decide whether this lucrative career track is for you:
This is not a gig for the inexperienced, the faint of heart or those who are uncomfortable appropriately tooting their own horn. Unless you are extremely well known as a top-flight leader with an amazing record of turnaround performance, this is a business/career strategy that requires a lot of research and communicating — aka self promotion. In short, creating a company, printing business cards, building a professional web page with excellent content and then announcing your existence is the easy part. Building a productive network of contacts who are in a position and actually willing to help you identify and win engagements is the hard part. A lot of potential turnaround consultants are good at the former and are mediocre at the latter.
© 2019 John Gregory Self