One of the most crucial stages of making an interim management appointment is the assignment discussion. During this conversation, an interim manager meets with the prospective client for the first time in order to discuss the current situation of the business and what is required from the interim manager and the scope of the project. Like any interview, it also gives the company a chance to evaluate the relevant skills and experience of the candidate and assess whether they are the right fit for the role.

Finding the right candidates

Like any position, it is vital to gather a pool of prospective candidates in order to make the best appointment. This can be done through a number of methods. It may be that you are aware of interim managers within your existing contacts; a search can be done using social media business sites such as LinkedIn; but the most common method is to approach an interim management specialist such as Momenta who can provide a strong pool of candidates.

No ordinary interview

This discussion may appear to be the same as the process to hire a high ranking executive but this should not resemble an ordinary interview. This is not an interview for a permanent position and an interim role has some unique requirements. Under normal circumstances, even if the candidate brings their own ideas, they will generally feel the need to impress the company. An interim management candidate is different. While the candidate would not speak to the company if they did not want the job, they will not necessarily be telling the interviewer exactly what they want to hear.

Share pertinent details

Interim managers are specialists and an ordinary interview with standard questions will not help to reveal their added value. There must be a candid discussion and the company must be open about the reasons an interim manager is required, particularly if it is a crisis situation. Without this knowledge, a manager will not be able to provide the right strategy to move the business forward. While this knowledge may be sensitive to the company, interim managers are professional and their career depends on their discretion.

Be prepared to listen to strategy ideas

While a company may have an interim strategy in mind, it is not the job of the manager to simply follow instructions. Instead they will make their own recommendations which may be completely contrary to what the company had envisioned. Their work will be in collaboration with those already within the company, but if these ideas are not welcome at the discussion stage then that is unlikely to change. It is worth bearing in mind that the interim manager will have a strong track record in their field and they would only suggest a strategy if they believe it will have the desired impact.

Keep the interview process short                        

Interim managers like to work quickly in order to begin making changes which will benefit the company. A long interview process will prove detrimental to the implementation of the strategy, especially if they are required to be interviewed by multiple individuals on different occasions. If they are kept waiting too long, there is a strong likelihood that they will find another interim assignment elsewhere.

The interim management discussion is the perfect opportunity to discuss the challenges facing the business as well as evaluating the skills of the prospective candidate. Interim managers will usually have a strong record in helping businesses and although they are able to start work quickly, their availability could be limited by high demand. Keeping this process simple will yield the best results.

To find out more about our interim management services, call us on 020 7374 5610 or e-mail