Interim Management FAQ

Who are Interim Managers?

Interim Managers are experienced, highly qualified, hands-on, pragmatic executives with the skills and abilities to deliver an immediate and lasting impact.

They will have a track record of taking initiative, are organizationally aware, with excellent project management and communication skills. Interim Managers differ from consultants because they assume executive responsibility with a clear mandate to act on the client’s behalf. They are generally sensibly over-qualified for the assignments they undertake, and have extensive functional and industry experience. They have successfully addressed similar issues to those faced by their clients. Available immediately, their skills closely match the needs of the client.

Most of the Interim Managers selected by have over 20 years of industry experience and have chosen Interim Management as a career path that enables them to deploy their knowledge, talent and experience across a variety of business environments.

What kind of companies would benefit from hiring Interim Managers?

The simple answer is all companies that need to manage issues outside their current capacity or their capabilities. Demand for Interim Managers is coming from virtually all sectors.

What kind of assistance could an Interim Manager provide?

An Interim Manager could assist in a period of transition or change by temporarily assuming any of the functions that would be the responsibility of Executives or Project/Program Managers. Some examples include:

  • Project Management
    • Implementation of a new technology
    • Implementation of a new strategy
    • Expansion into a new market
    • Factory relocation
    • Start-up or closing-down of a division
    • Handling of a new activity or an atypical project
  • Gap Management
    • Sudden loss of a senior executive
    • Organisational changes
    • Overstretched Management
    • Management of rapid growth
    • Management of a start-up
    • Change Management
    • Going through a merger, de-merger, or acquisition
    • Rationalising, downsizing, or restructuring
    • Embarking into a major program of cultural change within the organisation
  • Turnaround Management
    • Manage a crisis or a turnaround
    • Turnaround underperforming businesses or divisions
    • Recover failing projects / programmes

What are the main advantages of Interim Management?

The main advantage is a business result brought about by instant access to high calibre management talent. Significant numbers of our clients tell us that Interim Managers add value beyond the scope of the assignment.

Why are so many companies engaging Interim Managers?

Companies facing change must move quickly and manage the risks, but experienced change managers are hard to find and costly compromises often result, delaying resolution of critical issues. Qualified managers are becoming scarce and traditional recruitment methods are slow and carry a high opportunity cost. The solution accelerates the process and can rapidly provide high calibre executives.

What is the history of Interim Management?

The concept of Interim Management began in the Netherlands in the mid 1970’s. Dutch companies wanted a model that would enable them to conveniently access specific, senior management talent for pre-determined periods of time to deliver on key tasks and bring new initiatives to life. By forming a panel of experienced senior managers and placing them on secondment into variety of companies to deliver on specific management tasks, the concept of Interim Management was created.

The added degree of flexibility and scalability that Interim Management delivered proved to be highly effective and the model became established in the U.K. in the 1980’s.

Over last 30 years Interim Management grew between 20% and 40% annually and the industry is now worth over $3 billion.

The Interim Management concept is now rapidly expanding into Americas and Asia-Pacific.

Why would an organization retain an Interim Manager rather than hiring additional management staff?

Long range, companies should consider hiring permanent managers. An organization however might find itself in a transitional period where there is an immediate need for senior management capabilities but the organization is not ready or not able to fill that need with a permanent position. This could occur, for example during a search for a new Executive Director, during a period of rapid change or a crisis or when the management needs have not yet become clearly defined, etc.

But wouldn’t employees be more committed to an organization than an Interim Manager?

This is a common concern among first-time buyers. The opposite is true. Interim Managers are only as good as their last assignment. They live on their references.

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.

If Interim Managers are so good, why do they choose uncertainty?

Interim Managers are entrepreneurs, independent by nature, and have chosen Interim Management as a career path. They like the challenge, variety and flexibility it offers and they find it rewarding.

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.

What is the cost of an Interim Manager?

Daily fees vary according to a number of criteria, including market price, complexity of the assignment, level of the function, estimated duration of the assignment, risk level of the company, etc. Fees range from approximately $950 per day upwards. Which compares favourably with full costs of a permanent manager and is typically significantly cheaper than management consultants.

Clients are only required to pay for the actual days worked by the interim manager. The client remains in control of costs at all times, by agreeing the number of days to be worked in advance and afterwards certifying the numbers of days to be invoiced.

How cost-effective management option is it?

Research shows that the costs for Interim Managers are recovered at least threefold on average, making them a very cost-effective option. A recent survey of clients suggests that the vast majority of users will use Interim Management again.

Is an Interim Manager more expensive than a permanent manager with an employee status?

The total costs are about the same as for normally employed managers. An Interim Manager invoices based on an all-in fee per day he spent on the assignment. In some cases, other daily travel and accommodation expenses will be charged. There are no additional costs. Overall, the cost of the Interim Manager compares favourably on a day to day basis with the full cost of a permanent manager when taking into account not only the salary and the social security but all the peripherals such as bonuses, holidays, sickness allowances, training, insurances, stock options, recruitment and lay-off costs and various fringe benefits.

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 does it take to select an Interim Manager? will endeavour to provide the client with a shortlist of candidates within 48 hours of receiving an Interim Management brief. The Interim Manager will be in place within days of being engaged. Usually it takes about two to three weeks until the Interim Manager starts.

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.

How long will it take for an Interim Manager to become effective?

They are immediately operational.The Interim Managers we select for a particular assignment would have experience in your industry and will often have encountered challenges similar to yours.

As a matter of fact our clients often benefit from our Interim Managers’ experience before the assignment actually starts, when we involve him/her during the preparation phase.

Is it possible to engage a part time Interim Manager?

Yes, this often suits both parties.

How would the presence of Interim Managers impact client organization’s permanent staff?

Experience shows that Interim Managers have the ability to easily integrate. Interim Managers in general have excellent social and managerial skills and experience. Also, they are assigned only on temporary basis and are hence not considered as a threat. In that context, it is very important to clearly explain the purpose of the Interim Management assignment to the organization prior to his/her starts.

How to announce the Interim Management appointment to staff?

The client executive normally makes the announcement describing the role the Interim Manager has been asked to assume, and the objectives that have been established for the assignment.

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.

How does find Interim Managers?

We are constantly accepting applications and evaluating candidates who are interested in Interim Management assignments. Most Interim Managers come through our website but since we are all ex-executives we also have a large personal network of peers, ex-clients and managers. Whichever source it is, we carefully evaluate candidates before we accept them into our database.

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.

What happens when receives a brief for an Interim Management assignment?

Client briefs are forwarded to our consultants. They usually contact the client in order to better understand the requirement. They then search our portfolio of Interim Managers to select suitable candidates for each position. We primarily select from candidates with the right skill set and immediate availability which is why we recommend you to register and keep us up to date with your availability. Consultant will contact selected few Interim Managers and arrange an interview to discuss the brief more fully and agree daily rates. A short list of 2 – 4 Interim managers is then forwarded to the client, and interviews arranged. Usually the client decides quickly which Interim Manager is most suitable for the position.

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