1. Internal preparation

Where do you start when you want to hire your next interim manager? Well, let’s begin this step-by-step process by stating the obvious: “Start with a good preparation”. Meanwhile, keep in mind that hiring an interim manager differs from hiring employees on the payroll.

Preparation checklist

  • To whom will the interim manager report?
  • What is the overall goal of the interim assignment?
  • What is the duration of the assignment? Is it realistic to accomplish the goals within this timeframe?
  • What will be the interim manager’s main tasks?
  • What is the available budget for the interim manager?
  • Will you hire a ‘different’ profile on purpose? E.g. specific skills or seniority the team currently lacks.

Have you gone through the checklist? Great, now all you need to do is check if everyone on your team is on the same page. It’s very important that everyone understands why you require an interim manager and what he or she can bring to the team.

2. Zoom in on the candidate’s desired profile

If you want to attract the right profiles your job description needs to be spot on. So start by listing all the requirements for the job at hand. This should be a team effort between HR and the teams involved.

Organisations usually require an interim manager for one of these two reasons: someone is temporarily leaving the company (e.g. maternity leave), or the company lacks certain knowledge and expertise. In the first case, you probably have a pretty solid idea of the skills and attributes you are looking for. In the second case, you may be exploring new terrain, which requires a bit more investigation.

Pay extra attention to hard and soft skills

Be aware that, compared to other job descriptions, you might also need to highlight certain hard and soft skills. For an interim manager it’s always important to have a self-starter attitude as you will want your new recruit to achieve goals fast.

So far you know who you need, and you have the budget to hire that person. The question remains: “How will you find that person?”

3. Hiring an interim manager: choose the right interim management partner

Start with the beginning: “Contact the interim management company and explain your situation.”
Not sure which type of interim management company to contact? Check out this insightful market overview.

Is it the first time you are working with a recruitment partner? Then your company will likely be assigned a dedicated account manager. Didn’t get one? Ask for one. Why? Because the account manager can then be your single point of contact.

4. Meeting & briefing your account manager

Meeting your account manager

It’s a good idea to meet your account manager face-to-face. It will help you both to better understand
each others’ business. This personal approach means you will get results faster.

Briefing your account manager

When you brief your account manager make sure to zoom in on the context, the candidate’s profile, your budget, the preferred start and end date. The account manager will soak up your requirements and will get to work to find your ideal candidate fast.


Two frequently asked questions at this point are “Will I always get the perfect match?”, and “When can I expect to meet the first job candidates?”.

This depends on the company and company type. In the case of interim management company 4P square, the answer is “We deliver an 80% match within 48 hours, in 90% of the cases.

5. The talent hunt is on

Interim management companies specialised in a specific business domain will usually have qualified interim management profiles on the payroll. The aim of these specialised agencies is to always have a few candidates ready to go. Are you working with such an agency? In that case, finding the right fit could be much easier.

If there is no immediate match the talent hunters will use a whole range of tools and tactics to find the right candidates.

What are some of the tools and tactics used by interim management companies to come up with a longlist?

  1. Contacting the segmented network.
  2. Browsing the database, looking for matching profiles.
  3. The job application will be posted on the website, distributed via e-mail and featured in the social media outlets of your interim management recruiting partner.
  4. Active headhunting strategies will be used to gain traction. For social media, this means the company will not only use organic posts but also sponsored ads.

6. From longlist to shortlist

Some interim management companies might just send you over their entire longlist. But this is far from ideal. Often candidates that are merely a match on paper will also have made the longlist.

Try to find a recruiting partner that will first create a curated shortlist before presenting anyone to you. This could mean a candidate would first have to do a face-to-face interview with the interim management agency before he is presented to the client.

This thorough approach ensures all of the proposed interim managers are qualified, available, affordable, and excited.

7. Remember: No cure, no pay

Keep in mind that the standard practice is no cure, no pay. If an interim management company has done its utmost to find your next interim manager but wasn’t successful you owe 0 euro for this service. This means you have nothing to lose and only great profiles to win.

8. Time to invite candidates for an interview

When you receive the curated shortlist it is up to you. Which profiles do you believe are a good fit? You can now invite one or more candidates for an interview. At some recruiting agencies it is standard practice for the account manager to join the interview. Let them know if you don’t feel comfortable with this.

9. How did the interview go?


Are you convinced the candidate is the right fit for you? Great! Then you can hire the services of the freelance interim manager. Or, if you want, you can always ask the candidate to come back for a second interview.

Not convinced

Not entirely satisfied with the candidates you interviewed? The talent hunter will keep searching until they find the right match. Often the interview itself and the feedback will shed new light onto what’s important for you. The talent acquisition managers will be able to use this new information in their search.

10. Negotiating the price

Do you believe the interim manager comes at the right price? If you disagree with the day rate you might have to do some final negotiating. Not sure whether you’re getting your money’s worth? Find out more on the costs of an interim manager.

11. Rounding up the paperwork


At this point, it is time to do some paperwork.
If the agency works with a freelancer there will be a kick-off meeting between the agency and the freelancer. This meeting serves to deepen the relationship, brief the freelancer on the way of working, the billing procedures, the internal training possibilities, and the knowledge database.

If the agency works with someone on their payroll this introduction is not necessary.

Keep in mind that the contract is usually between the client and the interim management company. Not between you as the client, and the freelancer directly.

12. The start of the assignment

When the assignment is about to start, the account manager will contact the client to get the latest status update. This could just be for some last-minute practicalities.

13. Continuous feedback loop

When the project is ongoing the account manager will periodically check in with both the client and the interim manager. Keep in mind this isn’t the case for all types of companies. Want to find out more about the differences between interim management companies? Check out our overview that makes sense of the interim management landscape.

The account manager checks in with the client

Is the client satisfied with the work the interim manager is doing? When the interim manager is on the payroll at the interim management company this formal feedback will also play a very important role in his or her performance review.

The account manager checks in with the interim manager

How does the interim manager feel in his new position? Perhaps he needs help?

When you hire an interim manager via a specialised interim management and strategy consulting company you not only hire the expertise of the interim manager. You also get access to the know-how and network of the company behind the interim manager. In some cases, it could be useful to appoint a sparring partner or hand out the right tools or training.

14. The end of the assignment

Do you wish to extend the duration?

If you want to extend the duration of the contract it is wise to contact your account manager timely. You want to avoid the interim manager has already agreed to his next assignment.

Final evaluation

When the project comes to an end the account manager will ask for a final evaluation. If the continuous feedback loop worked well, there shouldn’t be any major issues. Nevertheless, it is good to get some formal feedback at this point.

Everything you need to know about interim management

Interim management has become increasingly popular over the past decade. So what is it exactly that an interim manager does? What sets him apart from a strategic business consultant? And why would companies prefer interim managers over permanent employees? To top it all off, we give you some tips and tricks for aspiring interim managers and starters. Ready? Go!