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Interim Executive Search

Mike was a co-founder of one of the earliest and largest Interim Management Companies in the country.  He has completed over 200 interim executive searches and is one of the country’s most experienced executive recruiters in this field.  

Whether you need a specialized skill set, have a high-level project to complete or find yourself with an unexpected hole in your organization, finding the right Interim Executive requires a diligent process, not a just a key word search on a database. Our Interim Executive Search Methodology is a rigorous and systematic process designed to bring you candidates who will deliver the specific results you need.


Our Five Step Methodology


1.  Define Success. The single biggest key to getting the right interim executive is defining specific expectations over the desired time frame.  Like-accomplishments are the greatest predictor of future success for an interim executive. We utilize our SOAR methodology to make sure your position spec clearly defines expectations, timetables and deliverables.

2.  Sourcing Strategies. In ten years and thousands of searches we never got the request for the “general manager” because no client ever had a “general problem”.   Interim Executive Search is just that, a search.  We source candidates through a wide array of networks, data bases and contacts.  We find the candidates who have the specific accomplishments in their background so they can solve your specific problem.  We don’t bring you a generalist who will have a steep learning curve.  

3.   Identify and Verify Successes. Using our success based interviewing process we will probe each candidate for the 5 key predictors of success. We will put each of their accomplishments under the microscope to determine if they have had like accomplishments to the goals you need achieved.

4.  Candidate Profiles and Success Driven Interviews. The strong candidates’ qualifications, assessments and résumé’s are standardized and summarized for your review. The Qualifications Summary reveals each candidate’s unique value, strengths and points that may need to be overcome to ensure a successful assignment.

5.  Negotiate, Validate and Verify. Once a final candidate is selected, we help negotiate compensation and contract terms Interim executives may be hired as employees or as independent contractors depending on the nature and length of the assignment.  We perform deep reference and background checks that validate and verify that the candidate achieved what they claim in their resume.

Fee Structure

Fees for an Interim Executive Search are a combination of small retainer and monthly installments.  A $3000 retainer is required to start the process.  When the executive starts, a fee of 30% of the monthly cash compensation of the executive is due each time the executive is paid.  You only pay for the time the executive is in the position.  No additional fee is due after the executive has been in the position for 12 months.  Should the executive convert to a full time position, a conversion fee of 33.3% of the total estimated annual cash compensation, less any fees paid to date, will be due upon the conversion date.

Six Things to Know When Hiring an Interim Executive


1.   No one ever has a “general problem”.  A “generalist” is rarely the right fit for an interim assignment because companies don’t have “general problems.”  Be wary of providers who have a “bench” of executives ready to jump into your company.  They may require a steep learning curve to accomplish what you need.  Industry experience does not always translate into the specific problem solving experience you need for your company.  Hiring an interim executive or project manager is not the same as hiring a temporary A/P clerk.  

2.   It’s not the size of the “inventory”; it’s the caliber of the recruiting process.  Interim executive search is just that, a search. An interim executive search firm should have a clearly defined process designed to find the interim candidates who will deliver results you need. A large database is meaningless without a defined recruiting process. Look for a process that will ensure you see candidates who have solved similar problems to the ones you face, not just have right key words in their resumes from a database search.  Beware the company who promise candidates in days.  You will end spending more time interviewing candidates who can’t deliver what you need done.

3.   Be Prepared to over-hire:  Most interim assignments are a result of a problem or an opportunity for a company that they don’t have the internal resources to handle.  An interim executive or project manager will need to be able to quickly get their hands around the situation and start making decisions.  A more senior executive is usually able to get up to speed faster.

4.  Career consultants rarely are good interim executives.  Interim management assignments require that executives make decisions and execute on those decisions.  Most career consultants have spent their careers advising, but have not been held responsible for results.  Line executives make better interim executives because they are “doers”, not advisors.

5.  Don’t pay consulting rates for an interim line manager.  You should be prepared to pay a premium for an interim executive, but it should still be closer to what the position would pay if it were a full time job, not an hourly consulting rate.  Consultant rates are based on shorter increments of time and on only being billable an average of 50% or less.  An interim executive will most likely be in a position full time for several months and an hourly rate could get cost prohibitive.  Additionally, there is a good chance you may eventually hire the interim executive for the position.  You don’t want to start off with the executive being paid way above the salary range and have to negotiate a substantial cut in salary.

6.   It’s Not a Marriage, it’s a tryout.  One mistake companies make is to put too much emphasis on an interim candidate’s “fit” in the organization.  That should be a low priority.  You are hiring this person to solve your problems over a short period of time.  Whether they are a fit for your organization can be determined over the course of the assignment.