Why Would You Hire an Interim Manager and Where Do You Find Them?
According to Ad van der Rest from the IIM (Institute of Interim Management, the professional body for Interim managers and executives), there are around 16,000 Interim Managers providing support to UK businesses with 70 percent of those actively on assignment at any one time. The industry is worth an estimated £2 billion.
So why choose an Interim manager? It may be that you need to strengthen your team for a period of time, fill a recent departure, have identified a problem and don’t know how to fix it or need someone to help transform your business. Whatever the challenge, there will be an experienced Interim manager available who has done it all before and who can, within weeks, sometimes days, provide you with the support and expertise you need.
A good Interim won’t need a job specification; they know their role is to improve your business and deliver results and often, they will identify opportunities and issues you may not have considered.
Interim managers are experienced business leaders with specialist skills and a track record of making a difference; they will hit the ground running. They can quickly fill gaps and will always add value as their continued success relies on your recommendations at the end of the assignment. They have no interest in career progression or company politics; so be prepared for honest feedback and someone who is focused on delivering results. A good Interim won’t need a job specification; they know their role is to improve your business and deliver results and often, they will identify opportunities and issues you may not have considered.
So what will it cost? They say that a good rule of thumb is to work on the Interim’s day rate being 1 percent of the salary you would offer for the role. So a £70k position would cost around £700 per day; however, longer assignments can help reduce this cost.
ROI on your Interim is a must, but often not always immediately obvious. It is easy to look at the day rate, multiply it by five days a week, 46 weeks a year and question your value for money.
However, once you have that figure, take a look at the true cost of a permanent hire, which includes NI (National Insurance) contributions, holiday pay, sick pay, training, bonus, induction and benefits including pensions, cars, PMI (Project Management Institute) and professional membership fees. Then consider the costs and disruption incurred through the delay in filling a role which will include advertising, interviews and notice periods time lag. Of course, there is the cost of managing the employee out of the business when they have completed the assignment. Bear in mind that your needs change – an Interim’s contract can be ended very quickly without any HR considerations.
You are hiring this expertise to make a difference – it’s not a long-term hire or cost.
Finally, remember that it’s not unusual for an Interim manager to be over experienced for the role they fill. This allows them to deliver results quickly, avoiding costly mistakes and they will bring value add to your business which could include cost savings, revenue improvement and bottom line profit growth. You are hiring this expertise to make a difference – it’s not a long-term hire or cost.
So where do I find an Interim? Well, of course, you can look at your own network, perhaps on LinkedIn. Most Interims find their next assignment by word of mouth. So, this is a good starting point, posting within your own groups. There are also specialist Interim groups available on LinkedIn, which you could join and post messages to. The challenge you will have is finding someone who is available immediately, but it is most certainly worth exploring.
The next step is to look at agencies. Be aware that your usual recruitment company may not be the best place to go, as what you need is an experienced Interim, not someone who has left their permanent role and claiming now to be Interim. Most Interims will work through their own limited company or the agency and will always have their own insurance.
So how do you find a specialist? The IIM complete an annual review of the industry and provide a list of the top Interim specialists, which can be found on their website. It details their specialism along with guidance on how to find an Interim. When researching Interims online, you may see, like all agencies, that there are generalists and specialists – again, go back to your network and ask for recommendations while conducting more research.
Speaking to Steve Dengel, from Osprey Clarke, a specialist Interim provider, with over 20 years’ experience, he says “Interim and permanent candidates, all have astounding CV’s, but what does good look like? Unless you’ve met many Interims previously, it’s impossible to benchmark them, as they are a special, indefinable breed. Request past and relevant case studies and ensure their business process is quality and delivery biased and they represent ‘known’ candidates, previously met with capabilities validated.”
Steve added, “The provider should require a personal client briefing, clarifying and challenging their perceptions, ensuring only outstanding candidates are presented, whether a ‘perfect 10’ or offering wider skills, delivering tangible value added solutions. Top flight Interims offer premium quality, bespoke solutions and should be represented by providers with similar characteristics, be diligent in engaging both”.