Should I hire interim or permanent executives?

It’s time to start looking ahead. Whilst life may be VUCA your business cannot afford to stay on pause. Having the right talent leading your company will impact not just how you survive but thrive in the future. 

interim executive hire

When things are unstable you might be tempted to reduce risk by looking at interim hires rather than permanent staff. However, interim executives shouldn’t be treated as a short-term solution. To do so would be to belittle the wealth of benefits they can bring to a business. Permanent and interim hires each have their strengths and which is suitable depends on the desired outcome or project at hand. 

Here are our suggestions when it comes to choosing between an interim or a permanent executive hire. 

Change and transformation 

Interim hires are a great option here. Often these individuals are brought in to make difficult decisions that might disrupt the company or that the CEO might struggle to make. The interim person, whether that’s a consultant for short-term or interim for mid-term, will make their impact and then leave the company. This means that they can execute potentially difficult/ unpopular decisions, and then remove themselves from the company. This leaves the Director to reap the rewards, without any bad-blood.  

Project delivery

An interim or consultant can provide crucial expertise and project manage workstreams in areas that the Company, CEO or Director may have little or no expertise. Whether this is a fresh approach to organisational design, building a data centre or a systems implementation. 

That said, they might do such a great job that the project roles into business as usual and you decide to make the individual permanent. 

Growth strategy

This is not the place to use interim hires. This should be the job of your CEO or a specific Growth Director. When you are planning a mid to long-term strategy you need someone who is heavily invested in the business. They need to be in the role long enough to not only come up with great ideas but to execute them. If you use an interim hire for this type of role they are likely to make quick decisions that they don’t feel responsible for seeing out – maybe that’s a good thing, but I’d like to see it through. The will need to set the vision and take the business on the journey, otherwise the strategy may be sidelined once they exit. 

interim executives

Immediate executive vacancy

This is a great reason to use interim hires, particularly where there is a potential for a shift in structure or role remit. By hiring someone in the interim role, you give the organisation time to ‘breathe’,  establish what it really needs in that role and test how it will work. Good examples of this may be when you are considering whether you need a CMO, Brand Director, Digital Director or something else altogether.

Special Purpose

Interims are also useful when there is an important project that can’t wait until you find ‘the one’. For example, you don’t have a CFO but have some specific cost-cutting to do. In that case, you may bring in a Chief Restructuring Officer or CFO to make those changes.  

When you want to give the No. 2 a chance

Often we believe that the second in command has the capability but not the experience. In this situation, an interim hire may provide the necessary space and mentoring for the second in command to rise to the challenge and come up through the ranks. 

These are just a few examples of when you might be looking to decide between interim or permanent executive hires. The right leaders will have a huge impact on your team and the success of your business. In these strange times, they could even be the difference between success and failure. If you’re looking at your organisation structure and feeling stuck on what to do next, speak to one of the team today. 

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