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What’s an Interim Manager and What Role Can They Fulfil?

What’s an Interim Manager and What Role Can They Fulfil?

According to research carried out by recruitment firm Robert Half Management Resources, the majority of CFOs and Financial Directors (90%) were planning to hire experienced interim managers over a 12-month period as recently as 2016.

This highlights a trend that has continued to evolve in the five years since, with interim managers ideal during times of economic uncertainty or during a period of initial growth for businesses.

But what exactly is an interim manager, and what should you look for when hiring this type of employee within your business?

What’s an Interim Manager?

As the name suggests, an interim manager acts as a temporary leader, typically during periods of uncertainty, change or transition within a particular business.

An interim manager may also be hired during times of recession or tentative economic recovery, especially if firms want to continue to scale without substantially increasing their long-term cost base.

Interim managers may also be used to fulfil roles at relatively short notice, with company’s initially promoting from within while sourcing external candidates to go through a comprehensive application and interview process.

Of course, there’s no limit to the amount of time that an interim manager can work for, although typically they’ll retain the role for a period of up to 18 months or so.

What Skills Should You Look for in an Interim Manager?

Now that you understand the purpose of an interim manager, the next step is to consider the key skills that you should look for in this type of employee. Here are some to keep in mind:

  • Leadership: This may sound obvious, but it’s imperative that you hire an interim manager that has excellent leadership skills. After all, their ability to motivate and work within an unfamiliar team is one of the core definitions of the role, while a willingness to listen to those within the business can also allow for a more seamless transition into the role.
  • Communication: Interim managers depend on their core communication skills, from their ability to translate core ideas to others and willingness to be receptive to the concerns or questions of their new employees. A good interim manager should be able to communicate verbally and in writing with their staff, while explaining concepts and reasoning in a concise manner.
  • Decision-Making: Interim managers often have to work during periods of stress and uncertainty, so leaders of this type must have an ability to make tough decisions quickly without compromising on their capacity for thinking clearly. This skill is also underpinned by critical and analytical thinking, as interim managers need to assess situations quickly before making well-reasoned decisions.

It’s also fair to say that recruiters prioritise experience when sourcing interim management solutions, as such employees need to hit the ground running in their brand new role and showcase adaptability even during challenging times.

Without this, an interim manager may struggle to cope in particularly difficult circumstances, especially if the business in question is struggling or in the mindset of a highly challenging transition.

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