Senior Interim Consultant Femke Kemps about the importance of personality in a position

We get to know many great companies inside and out and advise CFOs, management and boards in making the right choices. In addition, we are fully aware of the ambitions of Finance professionals, but who are we actually?

This week we speak to Femke Kemps, Senior Consultant at LIME Search. Femke has taken a nice consultancy path in her career. With her start at KPMG and her experience at Boer & Croon, Yer, Medinova, among others.

Femke, you have gained a lot of consultancy experience in your career. Can you take us through your ambitions?

I have a broad background in business administration (Nijenrode), but that is actually not that relevant to the career choices I have made. I have always been fascinated by people and I really enjoy connecting people. I am curious about what motivates, moves and drives people and I think that must be a prerequisite if you want to enjoy this work and continue to develop yourself in it.

In my career I have worked with various companies that managed to realize a successful business case and others that were unable to do so. I really believe that people make a difference in this and I think it's very cool to be able to contribute to that.

When I can help companies to realize that it is about the people in an organization and that they can make the difference, it gives me a lot of energy. There is often a certain idea or belief within the MT as to who exactly should fulfill the position. A certain criteria/wish list. If you can break that belief with a new insight and with someone who fits much better because of the personality aspect, then that is ultimately what I do it for and what I sincerely believe in.

Which teams shaped you?

When I look at my career, Boer & Croon has shaped me the most. The risk she dared to take at that time, by placing young, ambitious professionals with clients, is truly special. A good selection at the front in combination with optimal guidance in the field of personal and business development were the success factors. They put a lot of energy and time into developing the soft skills of professionals.

I learned there that it is really about the person and that the CV is less important. For example, I worked with young professionals who did not even have much experience, but could really take a role to the next level purely because their personality matched the ambitions of the company and what was needed in the team at that moment.

Lorike Hagdorn († 2017), then a partner at Boer & Croon, was a real example for me. A creative thinker who always thought in terms of opportunities and possibilities. She also taught me how to move as a woman in an organization. She also taught me to work in a process- and output-oriented manner and to understand how important it is to take your own responsibility as a professional.

How important is talent and leadership development within recruitment and selection?

Many companies say they want to go in a different direction. However, few companies realize that it takes a lot of time to fully implement new ambitions at all levels of the organization. Talent and leadership development is crucial here. You have to bring in new professionals to realize the ambitions, but then also guide and help them to actually make that transition.

You often notice that managers and leaders want to enter into more dialogue with the rest of the organization, but they need help with this. It is then nice to discuss with an outsider, who knows the business case, how you as a manager can break certain patterns. I love looking into these types of issues.

Simply hiring a talent is not enough, you really have to put energy into the personal development of a professional and look at team building and team development. Many managers underestimate how much time it takes to properly forge a team.

You and your team are responsible for the Interim branch within LIME Search. What makes LIME Interim different from, for example, working for the permanent branch?

What I like about interim management is that you ultimately have more contact about how a particular assignment or project is progressing. With permanent placement you place a finance professional and of course you still have contact about how that goes, but eventually that frequent contact stops.

An interim manager is involved in a temporary project, about which you have more frequent contact. Even if it is after the project. I really enjoy staying involved and being able to contribute ideas.

Also in interim projects I believe that the person makes the difference for the customer and that is exactly what I am working on. Continuously check in the contact whether I have made the correct assessment in terms of person for the type of project, corporate culture and leadership.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I once placed a Submarine Captain as Operations Manager for a separate department with 160 employees of a multi-million dollar company. The client was open to taking on a different type of profile and I honestly believed that this person had the right leadership skills and personality for the role. After two weeks of intensive knowledge training about the industry, this captain was ready to start. This again proves how important it is to look purely at the person and not to focus on knowledge and experience.

What is a career tip that you often give to others?

I was once told that no one wakes up in the morning thinking about making someone else feel bad. If you receive an annoying email or response in a business context, try not to take it personally. Everyone is busy in their working life to ultimately have a nice working day. Many people tend to make a response much more negative and personal than it is actually intended. Keep things in perspective.