Organizations frequently require executive-level personnel to lead them through periods of transition. As a result, interim executives have increased in popularity over the last decade. That’s why it’s important to have a trusted partner in the interim space, capable of leveraging rapid support to solve your immediate problem.
What Is an Interim Executive?
An interim executive is an experienced leader capable of managing through a period of transition while a retained search is conducted for a replacement. These leaders have tremendous expertise in their roles, enabling them to manage your organization effectively through a period of disruption. In the case of a sudden exit of an executive, this professional can seamlessly guide your organization through uncertain times, providing stability and maintaining consistency.
Internal vs. External Interim
Some organizations choose to elevate an internal resource to manage through periods of transition. There are some advantages to this approach; presumably, there’s a good cultural fit and your employees already know that person. Also, if you have an employee who wants to learn new skills, an interim assignment is a great opportunity for them.
However, there are negatives as well; for example, there will be coworkers who need to adapt to the internal interim’s new elevated role. Will that cause problems within the team? Will productivity decrease since this individual will be juggling both previous responsibilities and new ones? Will your internal interim become accustomed to their new role and expanded responsibilities and prefer a change?
An external placement minds the talent gap while avoiding common pitfalls associated with elevating an internal interim resources.
But what are some common types of interim professionals and which is the best fit for your organization?
3 Types of Interim Executives
Though there are no hard and fast rules in the interim space, there are some frequent traits that interim professionals tend to share.
1. Challenge Seekers
These individuals are inspired by the challenge of new projects and new problems to solve. They have made a career out of airdropping into organizations, quickly assessing the nature of the need and problem solving rapidly. They are happier in interim placements than permanent placements. One common type of challenge seeker is the Fractional CFO.
Retirement is a journey, not a destination. It is in quotation marks because many individuals “retire,” but choose not to leave the market entirely. Instead, they leverage years of experience in service of organizations that could benefit from their expertise. One type of “retired” interim resource is the professional do-gooder. They’re inspired to utilize their gained experience in service of smaller, often mission-driven organizations.
3. Between Roles
Individuals between roles are interested in many different types of opportunities to keep busy, gain additional skills and cover gaps in their resume. These individuals are often drawn to interim work because it gives them the chance to get their foot in the door, meet a new team and see if there is a good cultural fit. However, clients must be aware that this talent will always be seeking their next full-time opportunity. There is also a cost associated with giving up their search in service of a short-term assignment. This could lead to an increased hourly rate.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Interim Placements
There are advantages and disadvantages of using an interim resource. It’s important to have a clear vision of how, when and where this individual will serve you to maximize the arrangement for both parties.
|Advantages ||Disadvantages |
|Interim is fast. Interim is a rapid solution to a pressing problem. For organizations in distress this can offer tremendous relief. ||Interim is not guaranteed. We work rapidly on your behalf once engaged, but interim resources are subject to market conditions. |
|Interim fills the gap. Disruptions can quickly emerge when a key member of your team is missing. Interim keeps things running smoothly. ||Interim can be expensive. Long-term, interim can be a helpful but expensive option for your organization. |
|Interim is vetted. We cannot speak for all firms, but CBIZ interim professionals are vetted by our group and by our trusted client-partners. ||Interim talent seeks certainty. Clients seek immediate short-term solutions, but candidates may be seeking permanent placements. |
|Interim solves immediate problems. When departures are unexpected, interim delivers rapid relief, but a long-term solution is still required. ||Interim doesn’t solve long-term. While interim addresses your immediate need, it is no replacement for a retained executive search. |
|Interim delivers special skills. Interim talent delivers skills your team may not possess. This can accomplish short-term projects without pulling staff away from primary duties. ||Interim may thrive better as permanent. As you work with your interim resource it is important to continually assess if this individual may fit better as a true member of your team. |
Why Partner With Us?
EFL Associates, a CBIZ company, has over 40 years of experience with executive search. This makes us one of the oldest and most established talent acquisition firms in the country. Our CBIZ national portfolio of organizations and client-partners provides an extensive network of vetted talent that we are ready to leverage on your behalf. Interim is a rapid, trusted and effective solution to your immediate problem; however, your organization should also consider an executive retained search to locate a permanent fit. Connect with our CBIZ Interim Solutions practice leader today to start finding the right interim leader for your unique situation and requirements.