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Hiring an Interim Manager: Finding the Right Fit for your Team

Interim managers are vital for an organisation looking to embark on new projects or fill a leadership gap. They can provide expert knowledge and expertise whilst transitioning smoothly and quickly into a new role.

But when it comes to hiring an interim manager, how do you know who will be the best fit for the job? Here are 4 ways to hire the right interim to deliver the desired outcome:

1) Why do you need an interim manager? Understanding Business Needs 

Whether your business going through a major period of change, integrating a new system, going through a merger, or need to fill a leadership gap when a manager leaves, you may find yourself looking for an experienced interim. However, you need to understand exactly what skill set potential candidates need to ensure you hire the right person with the right tools. 

Before you consider bringing in interim talent, make sure there isn't an internal employee within the team who can step up to the role. Once you have this established, you need to outline the skills your team is missing, what you want to achieve from bringing an interim in, and what level of experience is required. When you're ready, deliver your plan to your employees and consider the relationship this person will have with the existing team.

Other things you need to understand when hiring an interim manager, are your budget and the organisational cost for the duration of the assignment. The new interim manager must also be able to get started from the moment they take over the role. It's completing this groundwork and making this information ready that allows them to take project responsibility from day one.

2) Talk to Interim Management Consultants

Quality candidates, especially senior managers, and interim managers, can take a while to find and often get snapped up quickly.

A specialist interim agency or even a specialist consultant will be able to help you find the right interim manager quickly due to having access to a network of professionals they have pre-existing relationships. At Chilworth, Chris Judd specialises in interim management and has access to a wide pool of active and passive candidates through years-long relationships and our extensive database.

Utilising the expertise of an interim management specialist helps fill your role quicker and reduces the chance of hiring the wrong person. This is achieved through search and selection and pre-screening. This not only ensures we present you with the right temporary manager but allows the interim to understand if the role is right for them too. Interims are paid a day rate, and we aim to find you the right solution within your budget, considering the salary of a similar permanent employee and the expertise of the interim to get you the right fit.

3) Initial Interviews

When you have compiled or received a shortlist of the best interim managers for the role, you need to understand them further.

You need to structure a thorough interview process that differs slightly from the process you would take a permanent employee through. You need to be able to assess whether each individual has the level of experience required, whether they'll be able to take on the role with a fresh pair of eyes, and whether they can deliver the desired outcomes from the moment the assignment begins. 

Getting the interview process right is vital, especially if the role has been commissioned at a senior level. You want to understand if you've made the right choice for an interim leader, and understanding the dynamics and needs of your permanent employees will play an important role in this.

Make sure to include scenario-based questions, like you would when hiring permanent members of staff. It will help you see how they'll add value within the organisation and better understand if they have the right experience and a strong track record.

4) Proof of Track Record

A great way to understand whether the interim executive you want to hire is suitable is to complete reference checks. References are a great way to understand an individual's performance, commitment, and ability to deliver on deadlines in previous interim roles.

You should also be communicating the requirements of your role clearly at all times as different types of interim professionals have differing skill sets.

Why Finding the Right Fit Matters:

By taking time to understand why there is a need for an interim manager in your business and discussing the role thoroughly with selected candidates, you are boosting the chance of making the right hire. Once the interim has been hired, they should have everything in place to allow them to get going right away.

Interim managers are highly adaptable due to their ability to focus and, if needed, will take full line or project responsibility from day one. They will integrate seamlessly into your team and deliver on the project or role throughout the assignment. 

Ultimately, hiring an interim manager with a niche skill or ability to deliver a project requires some planning. However, it is a better alternative to hiring a full-time employee permanently and harbouring worries over their future commitment to the business. Interim managers prefer short-term projects and are extremely adept at understanding what is required of them.

The only thing you need to do is make you are clear on your needs and goals.

If you're looking for an interim manager, or want to talk to the team about selecting the right interim manager, email Chris Judd at