Engaging an interim manager can be a challenging and complex task. On one hand you need the best one available on the market for your transformation challenge, on the other hand, if you put “interim manager” into google or social network, you get the impression – the longer a manager is unemployed, the more “jobs” he failed, the more “executive interim manager” he is. When a company decides it needs a quick injection of expert know-how, there is no time to waste. A professional interim provider must be able to present a suitable and immediately available candidates very fast.
Let’s have a closer look at the role of an interim management provider, and get an answer to “how/ which one should I choose”. As usual, it depends on your expectations, challenge and the budget, but in general, keep in mind the following:
Avoid the temptation of Permanent Executive Search company to recruit one of their candidates into an Interim Mission
Engaging an interim manager differs widely from hiring a permanent employee. When you are looking for a permanent employee you prefer somebody who almost fits the role and grows into the role over a period of time. 90% – 95% fit is more than you wish for. Major points influencing your decision are:
- The long term fit into your current company culture,
- Daily commuting time to the company from his home base,
- Relocation and the family-related issues of the permanent manager,
- Loyalty and risk of leaving after some period,
- Soft skills and communication fit with the organisation in the current stage
You also prefer to hire somebody to whom you have something to offer as well – enlarge his experience by the missing 10% of competences, as it creates loyalty and a long term bond.
But for an interim mission, you are looking for somebody completely different. You want somebody who already achieved the goals in several previous missions with a proven track record. An interim manager has to hit the ground running. He is always overqualified, preferably with an international experience from various assignments.
The process for finding and approaching interim managers is a very different one. Executive Interim Managers are not willing to study long job descriptions, they do not fill job position boxes in the organizational charts, they do not know what “company benefits” means at all.
And they definitely do not waste their time talking to a junior researcher, then a recruiting consultant to get a chance to be presented to the client’s HR manager after 6 weeks as part of a long list.
The real costs of non-exclusivity
Understanding the challenge
An experienced interim provider will ask you for a real and detailed mission brief, thus increasing the probability of presenting the best suitable candidate. He knows what to ask and what to look for, and most important, what can go wrong during transformation project.
Do you have time for 5 such detailed briefings?
In order to get the best and most suitable interim manager for your transformation, you have to share your most confidential information. How do you plan to keep it confidential if 5 agencies are searching overall on the same market?
In a non-exclusive search, many providers try too much to squeeze the interim’s daily rate to get the business. The result is a less motivated interim who “is open for new opportunities” during the assignment.
You order peanuts, you get peanuts
You have heard it for sure several times before. If you spread the truth about your critical situation to the market and give a very low target daily rate to several providers, and also look for an interim manager on your own, the result is simple : in best case, you get an unemployed permanent employee, who just delays the transformation.
The digital CV broker
This model is based on matching the interim manager / consultant with the client via a digital platform, in many cases supported by a mobile application. The fee is paid either by the interim or the client upon registration, upon perfect match or as a monthly subscription. Managers in such databases are most of the time “wanna be interims” or currently unemployed managers, and have rarely been interviewed either by an experienced Executive Search Partner of an Interim Management Provider Partner.
The price for such a candidate starts currently at 1,70 Eur per CV and the daily rates are similarly low. The process is more similar to buying a memory card in an e-shop where you browse over several options in a similar price range and you just add to cart. The only difference is there are no stars and reviews on ability to deliver breakthrough turnaround solutions. And there is no 14 days return policy.
These agencies hold large databases of managers and are able to perform a likely match of a candidate from their database with the client’s brief. Within a few days they present 6-8 candidates, all of them perfectly interviewed, and the client can make his own selection after additional interviews. After the appointment of the interim manager the job of the recruiter is finished.
A Cooperation for Excellence
One or two handpicked executive interim managers are presented after an agreed detailed brief. Both candidates are strictly bound by a non-disclosure agreement or similar confidentiality agreement, that has been signed already at the beginning of the process. The project start goes smoothly and quickly, as the interim manager was presented only after serious assessment by the Partner of the Interim Agency.
The Partner must therefore have substantial and broad experience as interim executive on a board level himself, where he gathered experience from transformation, change management and turnaround projects in multi-cultural environments ideally on international assignments. He must have faced many critical situations that have shaped his view in building and ranking the capabilities of managers, and … he learned from more failures than many regular managers have encountered in a regular management position.
The real value during the transformation mission comes, when the Partner provides coaching and mentoring to both, the interim manager and the client. The Partner, together with the interim manager they create a concept/ a framework how to approach the situation on hand, that the interim manager under the supervision of the partner implements and drives the transformation.