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The best interim managers are ‘rock stars’

28th October 2015

Once hiring managers have identified top performers they should assess and profile them and then measure everyone else against them. Why change a successful formula?

This approach is a winner in interim management where the ability to handpick the best executives at speed is a clincher with clients with urgent issues to address.  I was mentored by Martin Wood, one of the greats in interim management. Whenever a client needed an interim manager he’d call out in the office for ideas. “We need another ‘Peter Smith’.” It was as simple as that. He’d spent years meeting great interims, so he knew who the ‘rock stars’ were. When a particular star like ‘Peter Smith’ wasn’t available, at least Martin knew exactly the profile his client needed. Not just in terms of experience but personal style and character too. It was a template for very successful hiring and at speed. Whilst there weren’t many of them, we hunted for more ‘Peter Smiths’. We’d even tell the client they needed a ‘Peter Smith’. The client got it because they knew we’d been through a thorough process of finding those interim managers who really ‘rock’.

Interestingly LinkedIn has launched the next generation of its recruiter product, designed for those executives who want to replicate standout or ‘rock star’ employees. It analyses job title, skills and education to build a search string to find candidates who are similar professionally.

But here’s the rub. Finding the best talent is a contact sport. Martin would personalise the assignment – ensuring that we not only got the right person with the right experience, but crucially we got the right personality and chemistry match too.

An online professional social network can’t give you a full-dimensional candidate profile. Search engines are great for scouring data, but not so great assessing character, emotional intelligence or other sensitivities essential to successful business management. Someone has to meet and assess these candidates and measure them against the very best. Otherwise LinkedIn risks over simplifying a crucial hiring skill – recruiting people who really ‘rock’!


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