FAQ For Interim Managers

What are differences between an Interim Manager and a Management Consultant?

Management consultants advise and recommend.

Interim managers advise, recommend and implement.

Consultants are usually employed by large consulting organisations with inflexible methodologies and large overheads. However closely they work with the client – management consultants are ultimately responsible and accountable to the consultancy. An Interim Manager becomes a full member of the management team of the client company for the duration of the Interim Management assignment. As an independent expert, they will operate as part of your team, rather than as an employee of an external organisation.

Interim Managers tend to be sensibly over-qualified for the assignment so that they are immediately effective, whilst many junior consultants tend to learn on the job. Also Interim Managers are far less expensive to employ as they don’t have overheads of supervision from a consultancy company. This is backed by research which shows that the costs for Interim Managers are recovered at least threefold on average, making them a very cost-effective option.

Aren’t Interim Managers just jobless managers who will leave the moment they find a permanent opportunity?

Absolutely not! Interim Managers are experienced executives that thrive on variety, on delivering value, on complex organisational challenges and on situations requiring the management of change. They chose Interim Management as their career.

A career Interim Manager is driven by the challenge of dealing with short term assignments, especially where they are contributing special skill that are only needed in the short term. Being task driven they are often not interested in climbing the corporate ladder or in corporate politics.

What are the downsides of being an Interim Manager?

Absence of job security is the most often quoted downside. Some other downsides are continuous search for the next assignment and stress of delivering the current assignment (“Interim Managers are only as good as their last Interim Management assignment”). However, more and more executives are realizing that those disadvantages are a small price to pay for the independence and for benefits of being an Interim Manager.

Are Interim Managers sometimes offered a permanent contract once the interim management engagement is completed?

In fact this is the norm. Interim Managers tend to be sensibly over-qualified for the job. They are very results-driven and often deliver benefits beyond the initial scope of engagement. Clients often approach Interim Managers and offer a permanent position. However, most Interim Managers are committed to their Interim Management careers and decline such offers.

Occasionally, Interim Managers join clients. When this occurs, will facilitate the transfer. When this happens within the first year following the completion of an assignment, would charge the client a fee comparable to fees charged by Executive Search firms for such a position. The advantage to the client is that they would end up hiring an Executive after “testing” him effectively, therefore minimising any risk of getting the wrong person on board.

Is Interim Manager an employee or a consultant?

The Interim Manager would be retained on a consulting basis on an hourly, daily or weekly basis. The organization would not be responsible for benefits, insurance, taxes, etc.

How long is an average Interim Management assignment?

Typically 3 – 9 months, but they can be as short as two weeks or as long as two years.

Who would the Interim Manager report to?

The Interim Manager would report to the Executive Director or, when serving as an Acting Executive Director, to the Board. The relationship with the Executive Director would be collaborative. The Interim Manager would assist the Executive Director (or the Board) to develop the management structures needed to strengthen the organization.

What happens if the scope of an Interim Management assignment changes mid-stream?

The Interim Management model is highly flexible and adaptable. All changes can be handled in a managed way using a project-management based approach to ensure clarity for all stakeholders. If there is an impact on the original contracted period, this is easily addressed as the standard contract includes a provision for modifications to tenure, if necessary.

How does an Interim Manager transition out at the end of the assignment?

In instances where there is a permanent job at the end of the assignment, the Interim Manager acts as a mentor/coach in transferring what has been learned to the permanent executive and turning over an action plan that will assure that momentum is not lost and an orderly transition will take place. In any case, the Interim Manager will provide detailed documentation and any handover required by the client.

What happens when the job is completed?

The Interim Manager will generally provide sufficient documentation and personal handover to their permanent replacement to enable the new incumbent to get off to a good start. If required, an Interim Manager will help you define or redefine the role and help with selection.

As the contract comes to an end and there are no termination costs.

If you need any further help in the future or if you would like monitoring service, the Interim Manager is always available to provide this on an “as and when” required basis.

What qualities does an Interim Manager need to become successful?

Flexibility is the key and the most successful Interim Managers are often the ones that are not restricted by rate or location. They must be able to quickly fit in with a diverse range of cultures and working environments. First class people skills are essential too, as is their ability to grasp situations quickly, engage staff and make an immediate impact.

Critically, Interim Managers need to be clear about the specific expertise that they can offer. A generalist Interim Manager often finds it more difficult to find work than someone who is a proven specialist in their particular field, as organisations will usually expect Interim Managers to be able to demonstrate success in a similar role.

What happens after an Interim Manager registers on

One of our consultants will review Interim Manager’s CV to assess whether their background and experience would enable us to place them on an interim management assignment. Within 72 hours we will send them a Registration Pack and arrange an interview with one of our consultants. Once they are approved, our consultants will start actively matching them to opportunities we have available.

How does compare to Executive Search firms and to Management Consultants?

Interim Management is today widely recognized as a flexible solution, quick to implement and very efficient in various situations. It does not compete with Executive Search or with Management Consultants and is often complementary.

The table below highlights some of the major differences between these businesses:

Interim Management Executive Search Management Consulting
Starts within 1-3 weeks Several months 1-4 weeks
Mission Implement change Look for best candidate Analyse problem
Outcome Solution in place Permanent hire on board Recommended solution