Interim or Permanant: Who to hire and when?

When bringing a new senior person into the business, you’ve got a choice between an interim or permanent hire. But which is best? Every scenario is different, but there a some situations that lean far more strongly towards one than the other.

Programme/ Project Delivery

Who to hire: an interim resource

In recent years, there has been an unprecedented increase in the demand for project managers, where the necessary skills are not available in house. That’s just one of the reasons why an interim manager is preferable: you can find someone who possesses skills that were gained in an appropriate industry environment. What really gives interims the edge over permanent professionals is that the interim can concentrate solely on the task in hand, whereas a permanent employee will always have other daily tasks to perform. An interim can dedicate all of their time and attention to the project. They can bring focus, expertise and inspire the rest of the project team.

Business Growth
Who to hire: a permanant resource
Growth can depend on so many factors, but ultimately, it takes someone with a thorough understanding of that individual business – not simply of the industry – to be able to make decisions that can promote it. Growth isn’t a ‘quick fix’; it’s a long-term goal that can take months, if not years to achieve. That’s why a permanent fixture is better placed for this job. It’s a good idea to hire someone who’s going to be around to see those plans come into fruition; to tweak them and make changes; to react and adapt to external factors that are initially not an issue. Ultimately, you want someone who can remain accountable and responsible.

Management Vacancy
Who to hire: both

It can take a long time to fill a C-suite position. Notice periods can extend to half a year and contractual negotiations can be painful – yet all the while, that important role is vacant. While subordinates may be able to assume some responsibilities, it will put them under added pressure. It’s a permanent role, but you need someone now. The solution? Hire an interim executive in the meantime. That way, while the headhunting and recruitment processes are continuing in the background for the permanent appointee, you’ve got a competent person doing the job and making sure that it is business as usual for the company and your customers.

Change And Transformation

Who to hire: an interim resource

It makes far more sense to hire an interim that has specific business transformation than to give a new, permanent employee this mammoth task. A professional with a proven track record is far more able to come in and enact the change, without worrying about all the politics. It’s a sensitive and difficult area; whether a total restructure plus TUPE transfers or the introduction of some new software, where people’s jobs are affected, you need someone with excellent communication skills and who can clearly convey points to all stakeholders. It’s important also to make sure that individual can leave a lasting legacy once the transformation has taken place; ensuring that changes are embedded adequately and the business can go forward as planned.

Team Development
Who to hire: a permanent resource

Whether it’s merging teams, training them on new processes, helping ‘survivors’ get back to normal after a round of redundancies or simply finding ways for people to work smarter, developing teams is a tricky task. People can take exception to a so-called expert coming in, telling them things and disappearing again. Hence it can be preferable to hire a permanent resource. This could be someone to work out of the HR department or within the team’s own function, but it’s someone who will have a greater commitment to the task (as they’re sticking around).

The above are just a few examples of scenarios you could find yourself facing. Whether you hire an interim or a permanent resource is entirely dependent on the individual circumstances, but there are cases where one is certainly more suitable than the other.

If you would like to find out how Valtus can assist with your change management programme, please call us on 01793 398 7500 or email