How to find the right interim manager

How to find the right interim manager?

Probably the most important words in the title to this article are “… the right interim….”. It’s not that difficult to identify some interim managers now though various sources either through dedicated agencies or trawling the internet.

However to quickly find an interim who is most likely to deliver the assignments objectives is the challenge. You are not only looking for an experienced interim who has a proven track record but importantly whose approach fits culturally with the organisation. Here are a few guidelines for CEO's, HR Professionals and other Senior Management on how to find that right interim:

Spend time to specify and justify the appointment with the assignment sponsor. Time spent at this stage will be recouped several times over by not having look through unsuitable applications.

How to specify the assignment:

1. Specify the interim appointment in terms of: Background to the assignment; Assignment deliverables: Must have skills and experience; Preferred skills; The person; Contractual; Fees
2. Background: What is the business reason for the appointment; Why an interim and not an internal resource or permanent hire? A large number of interim appointments are made because there is a imminent requirement for a management resource. Interim managers can be deployed within days.
3. Assignment deliverables: What are the main deliverables you are expecting from the interim? (Or in other words what would constitute a successful assignment)
4. Must have skills; What is the minimum set of skills and experience for this role. (e.g. The interim has achieved this before: Sector experience, Qualifications, etc)
5. Preferred skills: What would be nice to have ( i.e. "the icing" on the cake)
6. The person: Team player? Self starter? “Hands on” (What is required)
7. Contractual. Professional interim managers contract through their own limited companies and carry professional indemnity insurance. Through their limited company they enter into a contract with the hiring organisation which sets out the terms. Always take up references personally before committing to the engagement. This will give you first hand knowledge of whether their approach will be appropriate to your organisation.
8. Fees: Interim managers are paid a daily fee for their services. These fees vary according to market forces and scarcity of the skill set. Find out what is the fee range and factor than into the Return of Investment (ROI) for the assignment. See also "How interim day rates are established"
9. When you ask for applications make sure they not only provide a CV but also specific detail on where and how they have achieved similar assignment deliverables before.

Having defined the specification where do you look?

  • The majority of interim assignments now happen through networks and contacts. The assignment sponsor or a colleague may have worked with a particular interim manager before. However is that person available and do their skills fit this requirement?
  • Interims know other interims so they may be able to recommend some one they have worked with before. However this may take time and the person they know may be on assignment.
  • Search on the internet or social media including Linked in. This can appear attractive but can be time consuming if having identified an interim they are not available or have the wrong skill set for the appointment.
  • “Enabled interim networks” are groupings of interims which can provide a short list of interims against a specification. Interimconnect is the largest professional interim grouping in the UK in this category. Make sure if using an “enabled network” that they have a dedicated “search and selection” resource. One advantage is that they do not  charge fees on top of the interims daily fee. But the cost advantage needs to weighed against the required level of service.
  • Interim agencies. A recent count showed some one hundred and forty interim agencies in the UK. Most are generalist in that they cover the main sectors and disciplines. However some specialise in a sector or discipline. There is an Interim Management Association which is a grouping of some of the larger agencies. Agencies charge a daily “on cost” or fee on top of what the interim manager charges. The level of service they provide for that fee needs to be factored in to ROI calculation for the assignment as a whole.


For more information or for a confidential discussion on your business needs contact David Bryan on 44 (0)20 3858 7267 or use the website contact form.

If you are an experienced interim and are interested in joining the network please follow this link.


How to find the right Interim manager


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