Good interim managers have a special combination of qualities and are in my opinion hard to find. Amongst the legion of immediately available and ‘out-of-work’ managers interim managers are the ‘diamonds in the rough’. Managers don’t automatically become interims simply because they leave their jobs and become immediately available.
They must be able to manage themselves efficiently (into and out of assignment), and satisfy demanding clients who have high expectations of immediate results. If they weren’t adding value they would either have their contracts terminated early or not find work again (unless an unscrupulous recruiter/interim provider hasn’t bothered with their checks).
Often, the interim arrives when the situation has become critical and after others may have already tried and failed. In my experience more than 85% of my interims’ assignments are extended, which suggests a good match between interim, assignment and the client. It’s also confirmation that the client believes value is being added.
Adding value is a key requirement of survival and success. The interim manager’s reputation is dependent on a continuing series of successful assignments. They should always be able to demonstrate this to you. I assess interim managers every day and each time my first questions are “Why were you hired?” and “What legacy did you leave in place?”