The employment market is becoming increasingly dynamic. Today, the tendency towards remaining in organisations for long stints is shifting. Instead, many of the most talented individuals are recognising the benefits of changing jobs more often. This is for various reasons, one of the most important being that such ambitious individuals crave stimulation. Certainly, this is beneficial for the organisation that receives them – but what about those that are left behind? How can companies ensure they hire interim management that measures up?
After all, projects are vulnerable if leadership shifts. To plug gaps in a management position, candidates need to be able to ramp-up fast, have excellent communication skills, and extensive experience managing people. Furthermore, the complexity of these requirements compound depending on the industry. In this article, we discuss the qualities of an outstanding interim manager and where organisations should look to recruit these individuals.
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The qualities of excellent interim management
Interim management is a fluid and changeable responsibility, depending on the project or industry. However, as introduced, there are some key qualities of an outstanding interim manager. These baseline attributes are detailed below.
1. Demonstrable experience
Naturally, the candidate should have a strong, industry-specific CV, with evidence of a progression through levels of leadership. Their CV will prove their adaptability and experience in companies of differing scales. The best interim managers are confident of their skills and can sell themselves – after all, a hallmark of the most effective interim managers are those that can win the hearts and minds of the team quickly and with conviction. As such, the demonstration of soft, interpersonal skills is as essential to efficacy as practical experience.
2. Laser focus
Interim management personnel should also be extremely focussed. Their expertise should be concentrated, demonstrable and oftentimes, very specific. As an interim manager is introduced into the team to bridge a gap in leadership, they need to be able to integrate themselves into the role quickly, seamlessly, and with a focussed approach to the tasks that need to be fulfilled. This isn’t only because interim management is hired to oversee day-to-day operations – occasionally, companies hire interim managers to deliver a particular task or project. As such, they must have the focus to deliver within the specified timeframe, free from the distractions of internal politics or other peripheral responsibilities.
3. Agility and adaptability
In addition to experience, the best interim management will be in their element performing in uncertain circumstances. For professional interim management, their careers are full of uncertainty; it’s likely that they’ll never know when the next placement will come up. Equally, they’ll be accustomed to dealing with unfamiliar colleagues and systems, with the ability to adapt fast. The best interim managers will have the intellectual capacity to start and deliver a new project as soon as every six months – and embed themselves within the team quickly to deliver results.
Sourcing interim management: Internal vs. external
When those in leadership roles move on, the can leave significant rifts in project management. Therefore, to ensure teams complete initiatives on time and to budget, companies need to onboard interim management rapidly. This begs the question; should organisations recruit interim management internally or externally?
Most executives will be familiar with the benefits of hiring internally to plug gaps. Primarily, you’ll know what you’re getting; you’ll be familiar with the candidates and their qualities. It’s also likely that the candidate will be familiar with company culture, thus adapt quickly. Furthermore, it can enhance the organisation’s brand as an employer as it demonstrates that staff have upward mobility. Moreover, often, time is money, and it will cut the costs of employing through an agency or job advertising service.
However, internal hires come with their downsides. Occasionally, it can cause conflict between existing staff. Equally, it’s possible that an over-familiar individual may lack the focus or gravitas required to deliver a disrupted project on time. Furthermore, there will always be a void left in the promoted individual’s role – either the team is temporarily over-stretched, further temporary restructuring has to occur, or another permanent hire has to be made.
Often, projects need fresh influence to keep them on track. Luckily, new developments in the employment market are streamlining the necessary time and capital resources to make a new hire. Now, industry-specific talent networks are giving executives access to exceptional external professionals – ensuring that they can hire someone with highly relevant experience quickly and economically.
Why talent marketplaces present the solution
The emergence of online talent marketplaces reflect market dynamics; in a climate where professionals are moving around with greater frequency, these platforms serve to mirror the industries they serve. By providing high-value, certified freelance talent, these talent networks allow companies to hire highly experienced individuals as quickly and easily as their projects demand. Although it’s inevitable that key players will move on, thanks to these solutions, employers can now react with greater efficiency and confidence.