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Using Interim Managers Hiring An Interim - The Importance of a Good Brief

Published on February 11th, 2015 | by Roderick McInnes


Hiring An Interim - The Importance of a Good Brief

The interim recruitment process differs somewhat from the conventional process of recruiting a permanent employee. Noticeably it is a lot quicker as interim managers are often required to start at short notice, or even immediately. On average, permanent executive searches take between three to five months; an interim manager will be up and running in a matter of days or weeks.

Because of the necessity to recruit quickly, but with quality, a good brief is paramount to successfully hiring an interim manager.

Interim vs. Perm Recruitment Briefs

Of course, that is not to say that perm roles do not require a good brief. The main difference is that the perm recruitment process allows time to  explore a candidate’s suitability for a role at length. In the case of an interim role, a much tighter brief is required, with more detail on technical and personal requirements (skills, competencies etc.), allowing hiring companies to make a quick decision and fast-track the appointment.

That said being too specific could narrow the talent pool drastically. This is a common mistake made by companies whose experience lies in recruiting permanent employees. Setting the bar high is normal practice for perm recruitment: it allows you the flexibility to reduce your ‘must haves’ if the candidate pool does not meet your expectations, and to revise the compensation package upwards or downwards depending on the market. For interim appointments, when the clock is ticking, there is little time to adjust the package or job spec and therefore it is important to get the balance right so you do not limit your choices.

So, what key elements should be in your interim manager brief? Here are my top 3 tips:

  1. Be Clear In Your Objectives For Appointing An Interim: Successfully hiring an interim means having clear objectives from the offset. Both interim and client should know exactly what the goals of the appointment are, and how these will be measured during the course of the engagement.
  2. Be Specific About Skills Required: By providing additional detail you will accelerate the recruitment process as you will be able to establish fit by the candidate’s ability to demonstrate technical competencies in response to your brief.
  3. Be Realistic: Don’t restrict the interim pool by setting expectations too high. Remember there will only be a finite number of interims with the expertise you require available at any given time. Avoid making ‘nice to haves’, ‘must haves’.

Finally, be prepared to move quickly when potential candidates are put in front of you. The interim recruitment process is a short sprint, rather than a marathon, and therefore you need to respond speedily if you do not want to risk losing strong candidates.

You should be able to ascertain straightaway from a candidate’s CV whether they can do the job.The interview will establish whether you can work with them and whether they are the right cultural fit. If the answer is “yes” to both of these, your new interim manager should be starting shortly afterwards.

What do you think makes a good interim brief? We are interested to hear from both interims and clients about what they think should be in a job brief, and how these factors affect the interim appointment. Please leave your comments below.

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About the Author

Roderick McInnes

Roderick is responsible for all aspects of the marketing and communications mix, ensuring Alium maintains its market position as the leading provider of interim and transformation talent in the UK and internationally.

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