10 Things to Know About Using Interim Managers

Interim managers can add great value to a business, but there are some things to keep in mind to get the best out of the investment. Here are our top 10 rules for getting it right.

1. A clear brief

Be absolutely sure about the reasons you are hiring – and know that your brief is a “moveable feast”, capable of changing as the assignment proceeds.

2. Objectives and deliverables

Inside your brief, make sure you have clear objectives and deliverables. These also need to be agreed by all necessary stakeholders.

3. Person specification

Who is the person you are trying to hire? What characteristics, skills and experience do you need in the role? What kind of cultural fit do you need? This last question is especially important.

4. Milestones

As well as objectives and deliverables, part of a successful assignment will include defining particular milestones and timelines. Make these “markers” part of the assignment plan so you are able to recognise success or challenge.

5. Agreement in the business

Usually, we are already dealing with the senior decision makers in the business, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the role has full “sign off.” It may be that the HR or Finance leads also need to give the go ahead before the search process can proceed.

6. Do you have the authority to hire?

Although you may have the above authority to hire, is there agreement about the role amongst wider stakeholders who will be affected? Team members that may work with the individual for example? Do they understand why this person is being brought in?

7. Is it interim or permanent you actually need?

Many companies know they have a talent or skills gap, but do you actually need an interim? For the most part, interim managers are placed in an organisation for a matter of months to implement a change or transformation. If you need someone who is going to be part of your team and business in the longer term, perhaps a permanent hire would be more suitable?

8. Regular communications

Whether it is for one month or one year, it is important that you schedule in regular updates or reviews with the interim to understand progress or pain points. If you are using a professional provider of interims, they should also be in regular touch.

9. Sounding board

As someone with an independent perspective, interim managers can also be used as a sounding board for companies when they want a fresh opinion – perhaps on a specific project, programme or overall company performance.

10. Exit plan

Although it may sound premature, it is important to ensure that you have an exit strategy and timeline in place for your interim, with an allocated amount of time given over to a knowledge and skills transfer. A professional interim always leaves quickly, quietly and with a legacy in place.