Interim managers rely on service providers

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Interim service providers (ISP) continue to play a key role in the interim labour market, it appears, as a survey by the Institute of Interim Management (IIM) has found that seven out of ten use ISPs to find assignments at least some of the time.

According to IIM’s latest Interim Service Providers Survey and Guide, 72 per cent of interim managers find assignments through intermediaries such as recruitment firms or business consultancies. In fact, 44 per cent of all assignments are sourced through ISPs. However, networking and experience also work to the advantage of an interim contractor - 27 per cent were found through previous clients, while another one in eight used their networks to find roles needing to be filled.

Making good connections with businesses and individuals is clearly the key to success for most interims, since only 17 per cent of contracts were found through more impersonal methods such as online job sites or new direct clients.

Online connections are also growing in importance, since social media has made a sizeable impact on the labour market for interims. More than a third of interims have their own websites, according to the survey, but IIM says that LinkedIn has become one of the most visible presences online for many interims. Building extended networks, sharing business contact information and clearly expressing availability all help to simplify the recruitment process for businesses, IIM says.

However, there is an increasing emphasis on businesses needing to find the right talent. IIM says that it has now become more important to be easy to find than to actively seek new opportunities. Indeed, 78 per cent of assignments sourced through ISPs involved the ISP finding an interim for the specific assignment. This indicates that being searchable through ISPs can have a major impact on contractors’ prospects.

When it comes to choosing an ISP, nearly three-quarters of ISP-placed assignments were found through ISPs that the interim manager already knew, while a further seven per cent were sourced through an unknown provider via LinkedIn, which offers at least some prior knowledge before a relationship is struck up. IIM points out that most interim managers achieved success through established relationships with a small number of providers, rather than sending out CVs to dozens of unknown ISPs.

Among the qualities that interims look for in successful ISPs, honesty and integrity were the most important. Beyond that, the nature of their relationships with clients figured highly, with understanding of the clients’ needs and strong client relationships in second and third place respectively. An understanding of the interim manager’s circumstances ranked in fourth place and, perhaps unsurprisingly, interims also put a premium on straight-talking ISPs.

“The use of service providers is an excellent and popular ‘route to market’ for many interim managers,” says Ad van der Rest, IIM co-chairman.

“The success of this relationship relies on professional and effective practices from both provider and interim manager alike.”

Interim managers who send unclear information to ISPs or contact them too frequently to hassle them for assignments are unlikely to be contacted, he adds, while ISPs who treat interims as commodities “do little to enhance their reputation”.


By Victoria McDonnell

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