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An interim manager is usually appointed when a managerial role is left vacant due to an exiting employee, maternity leave, an M&A, or a major transition. It’s a critical position that will help navigate your team through a time of significant change.

If you hire the right candidate, an interim manager can bring many benefits, including:

  • Providing a sense of stability through change management
  • Bringing a fresh perspective, new skills, knowledge, and experience
  • Being a cost-effective medium-term solution
  • Improving productivity thanks to strong project management and leadership skills 

It’s no wonder that as many as 90% of CFOs and FDs plan on working with an interim manager. Demand for interim managers will continue to rise globally as businesses go through significant change fuelled by digital topics, hiring challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic. In some countries, the utilization rates of interim managers are as high as 73%. In Germany, the utilization rate will be more than 90% in 2022. 

However, the benefits of hiring an interim manager will only materialize if you make the right choice. Here’s what you need to know to make the best decision for your organization and reap the benefits of a great interim manager.

Optimize Your Search 

First, you need to find someone with highly relevant industry experience. Interim managers must be onboarded and achieve productivity in the shortest amount of time possible. So, they should have demonstrable experience working in similar roles.

That leads to the second point of having the ability to learn and adapt to new circumstances quickly. This means having the drive and taking the initiative to do what is required to fill the role and perform duties to their maximum potential.

Leadership skills are also crucial. A great interim manager empowers employees by providing a sense of stability and direction during significant change. They must be natural leaders who can delegate tasks effectively while also providing the team with the support and motivation they need. 

Prepare for the Challenge 

An interim manager is somewhat of a unique role to fill. You’re not dealing with something as transitory as a project manager for a one-off project. An interim manager will be closer to an actual employee that’s more deeply involved in the day-to-day business of your organization. They may even transition into a permanent role.

From that perspective, it’s not just about finding someone with the right skills. It’s about hiring a candidate that can seamlessly adapt to your culture and way of doing things. However, they should also keep an eye on relevant trends and have a talent for innovation, questioning processes, and ideas to push your organization forward. 

There are also several practical considerations. Due to high demand, it can be costly to hire an interim manager. Doubly so, because companies typically want someone with senior-level experience. Thus, finding the right balance between experience and cost can be an obstacle.

Depending on the timelines of your projects and client requirements or demands, finding a candidate with suitable availability can be challenging. 

Finally, the interim manager needs to be someone that you trust. They will have access to high-level insider information and will dictate the direction of your team. Making the wrong decision could have serious implications for your culture, competitiveness, and propriety information. 

One of Malt Strategy’s major advantages is our vast network of industry and functional experts. We have access to over 5,900 hand-selected, vetted interim profiles and can quickly find the perfect candidate for our clients at the desired price point. We’re fast, reliable, and personalized so we can ensure you’re matched with the right solution for your organization. 

Recently, we worked with an innovative online furniture startup. Although they had a great concept, they struggled to make the business profitable and were approaching bankruptcy. Due to their precarious financial position, their hiring budget was limited. 

Malt Strategy helped them by finding a top interim manager within the allocated budget. In just a few short days, the candidate we proposed took on the interim Deputy CEO role and completely turned around the company’s trajectory. They avoided bankruptcy in less than a year—and achieved profitability for the first time.

3 Tips to Finding a Top Interim Manager 

After staffing more than 320 interim projects, we’ve picked up a few tips that have helped us successfully find and match top professionals with organizations around the world. 

  1. Allocate enough budget. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to save money on wages by compromising on the qualifications and experience of the candidate. If you’re looking for a high-performing individual, this comes with a certain price tag. Be prepared to allocate enough budget to avoid attracting an under-experienced executive.

  2. Move fast. Demand is high, and leaving a managerial role vacant is not ideal for productivity. If there is a lot of delay during your hiring process, you will lose highly sought-after candidates.

  3. Look for a culture fit. Don’t underestimate the importance of culture. Hard skills and work experience are important, but hiring a leader who doesn’t mesh with your organization is a recipe for disaster. Look for an interim manager that believes in your values and embodies your culture.

The search for an interim manager who fits your culture, has the right background and skill set, and is a strong leader can be time-intensive. We simplify the process by connecting our clients with the right interim manager in 48 hours or less.

If you’re interested in finding out more, then please get in touch.

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