Discussing the assignment

Professional interim managers will focus the client business discussion upon the assignment, project, issue, or requirement highlighted. They will be delighted to discuss their expertise, prior successes and approaches to the situation. However, businesses who attempt to ‘interview’ the interim manager as if they were a permanent employee run the risk of having a ‘cross-purpose’ conversation that fails to unlock the ‘added value’ of the interim manager.

  • Assignment discussions should not be thought of as a permanent ‘interview’. Interim managers are not a ‘candidate’ for a ‘Business As Usual’ permanent role. An assignment meeting is to qualify a professional specialist for a finite project or situation.
  • Skills, expertise and behaviour may naturally be discussed, as interim managers will be within the organisation for a short time. Interim managers are happy to show how they have implemented other assignments and share evidence of their effectiveness.
  • The discussion should be balanced so that the current situation is addressed. The meeting should address the interim manager’s skills, expertise and behavioural approach, as well as exploring the business issue, project and business drivers of the assignment requirements, to better focus the interim manager’s proposal ideas. Interim managers will reference their suggestions with further examples of their achievements and implementation strategies.
  • Over-structured meeting formats can be problematic. Particularly in Public Sector organisations, due to a wish to have a uniform process, structured or competency frameworks are sometimes used to ‘score’ the ‘applicant’. Interim managers are there to provide a solution, so narrowly constructed processes may ‘engineer out’ chances to discuss approaches and proposals that the organisation had not already thought of.
  • The interim manager may not agree with the business’ initial plans. Interim managers are focused on providing the best solution to the situation. This may not be what the business first expects it to be and the interim manager may even challenge the understanding of what the problem or situation is. Discussing this is normal and is helpful to the business.
  • Interim managers are accustomed to moving ‘at speed’. If there is a pressing issue, businesses that set up multiple ‘interview’ stages and introduce various ‘gatekeepers’ before meeting the ‘owner’ of the situation run the risk of losing their lead candidates to others. The situation ‘owner’ is ultimately best placed to judge the interim manager’s proposals.
  • There is different ‘additional information’ to an employment interview. Interim managers will have researched the prospective company and of course ‘company benefits’ don’t apply. Businesses may usefully validate the interim manager’s credentials such as their ‘own business’ structure, Professional Indemnity Insurance, professional memberships and appropriate accreditations and certifications.

An interim business meeting combines an assessment of the interim manager and a focused discussion to qualify and address the business issues at stake.