Alternative Employment Options: Interim Management vs. Consulting

During the latest economic business downturn, many companies are holding their collective breaths waiting for the mid-term elections, to see which way congress will swing? The private sector has not been adding new employees unless absolutely necessary. As of late, one of the fastest growing business sectors is Interim Management positions. Companies have discovered that contracting with a proven expert is a very popular choice. Without any long-term commitment, a client company can employ the services of a highly qualified (sometimes even over-qualified) manager to help through a difficult process.

The client can be assured of strict management and cost control over a highly skilled individual, a luxury they may not wish to fund permanently. When the person goes, so does the cost. Assignments can be for 30 days to six months to one year or even longer. Whether it’s a special project, company re-structuring, improved sales growth, a factory re-location, or just the long-term absence of a key member of the management, these problems can overwhelm an enterprise with limited resources. The answer, often, is Interim Management.

Many company executives who initially think they need a management consultant ultimately decide to engage an interim manager. In fact, a recent survey of 100 senior directors showed that 78% felt that interim managers offered clear advantages over management consultants.

Like consultants, interim managers provide:

• The latest thinking with “can-do” attitude
• Short-term access to top management talent
• Strategic capability
• An independent eye
• The ability to fast-track a critical project

Unlike consultants, interim managers are:

• Implementers as well as being strategists, analysts, planners, trainers, mentors, coaches and outcome-based project managers
• Loyal to your business objectives – not their consultancy’s objectives
• Flexible to do what you need – not restricted to doing things the way their consultancy prescribes
• Focused on your profitability – not their consultancy’s profitability. They do not have an incentive to sell in additional services companies may not need
• More cost-effective for both parties
• Non-threatening to existing employees (More team and partner friendly)
• Increase compatibility fit and could pave the way for a permanent role within the organization after the “Feels Right – Test Drive”

A classic interim manager’s profile might read:

• CEO, President, Entrepreneur, Executive Director or Senior Manager in earlier career roles
• Reasonably over qualified for the assignment
• Organized and adaptable
• Results driven
• Thrives on change
• Enjoys freedom of “no strings” employment contracts
• Has chosen Interim Management as a distinct career choice – it’s not a fill in between permanent
roles!

Major benefits for the client company include:

Availability – getting an interim can be much quicker than permanent recruiting and interims are often expected to ‘hit the ground running’ becoming very effective within the business very quickly.

High Value – Interim Managers are often over-qualified for the role and bring a wealth of experience in a chosen discipline.

Low Risk – every company inevitably has some politics at play. The Interim Manager stands aside from this and is quite simply results driven. There are no onerous employment agreements and contracts or expensive severance packages involved.

Special Skills – the Interim Manager will often bring key skills that the organization does not possess or would take a long time to cultivate organizationally or recruit permanently.

Good Hunting!

Mark S. James, CPC is the Founder and President of Hire Consulting Services, LLC. He founded HCS in 1999 and has been providing executive search and career coaching services for over 20 years. He is a Certified Personnel Consultant, which was awarded in 1998 by NAPS, the National Association of Personnel Services.
During his early career spanning over 15 years, he held several senior sales and marketing management positions.

For the last 9 years, Mr. James has been the host and facilitator of the monthly ExecuNet Networking Meetings for executives in career transition in Cincinnati, San Diego and Irvine, CA. He is also an online moderator and facilitator for ExecuNet’s Networking Forum and the Consulting Executive Roundtable.

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