Clients often ask what type of person to expect when hiring a finance interim.  We all know that there’s no cookie-cutter for senior finance executives, but there are usually some similarities among candidates.

Finance Interim executives are usually senior finance experts, who tend to be very experienced in a wide variety of environments. Typically, are taking an interim role while deciding on their next permanent role, or they simply prefer to work on an interim basis in place of permanent employment. They tend to be proactive, not afraid to roll up their sleeves, and will take charge of a project. These candidates are proven leaders with the demonstrated finance skills necessary for almost any situation.

For Part One of our series, click here:

Here are some more tips to consider when hiring a Finance Interim:

  1. Look Back

You need evidence that the Interim has achieved results elsewhere. Their willingness to share previous successes and failures with you not only makes a statement about their competence, but also informs you about the importance they place on measures of success and delivering results rather than simply working through a process.

  1. Are They Right For You?

Only when you are satisfied that the Interim meets all your needs should you start thinking about your relationship with them. Doing this any earlier can cloud your judgment. A good way for you to test their fit is to consider how comfortable you would feel about this person sitting alongside you in an important meeting. Your answer will give an accurate intuitive measure of how you feel about the working relationship.

  1. A Good Fit

New faces around your office can make people feel uneasy (even when people are working remotely). Ensure that your team is clear about what the Interim is doing and if necessary, how this affects them. There could be occasions when complete and open communication might not be appropriate, but you should always consider the impact an outsider will have on morale.

Allow the Finance Interim to thoroughly explore your organizational culture and the team they will work with to ensure that they can make an informed decision about committing to you.

Remember: not every Finance Interim would be a good match for your organization.  It’s recommended to work closely with an executive search firm experienced in Interim Hiring.  We can help you find the right fit. Call us at 519-673-3463 or 416-847-0036, or email Paul, Brent, or Tara.

Many companies and organizations are realizing that specialized interim help can be of great value, giving a short-term boost that can lead to long-term gain.

Why do organizations hire Finance Interims?  One major reason is that the organization needs someone with expertise to oversee a finite project – something that the permanent team would be stretched to complete.  Another reason might be due to a restructuring, to keep the financial side of things running smoothly during the surrounding upheaval.  Alternatively, a family-owned business might seek a Finance Interim because of succession planning, to help guide the transition.

Hiring a Finance Interim is a good solution for a lot of companies, but it’s not a decision to make lightly -- get it wrong and could be very costly.

The good news is that steps can be taken to significantly reduce that risk, in the form of a robust process for the hiring of Finance Interims. We recommend an 8 step process,
starting with these 3:

  1. Preparation

Before you take on a Finance Interim, you must understand the job or project and the specialist skills, knowledge, and experience that will help you to achieve the desired outcome. Consider whether you want a specialist in a specific area of Finance or someone who has a wider experience and skillset who can help you to work through any complexities that may happen.

Preparation is a key element that should not be overlooked or rushed.  Resist any pressure to appoint a Finance Interim quickly. If you have previously used a Finance Interim, don’t use an old job description, as it may be outdated.

If the process is flawed from the beginning, your chances of a successful outcome are diminished. 

  1. Research

Search widely - use your network and other connections, approach other people in your business for recommendations or referrals and use the internet to identify forums and other social media where your ideal Finance Interim might be active.

Don’t necessarily rely on your search firm if you have one, and don't just go for big name providers. Smaller specialist providers can deliver for you and are often much more engaged with the process and invested in your success, going the extra mile and offering better value for money.

You should take the process of selecting a Finance Interim as seriously as you would a permanent role.

  1. The Candidate

Does the potential candidate listen and hear you? Can they understand and evaluate the job or projects you describe? Or do they appear to shape your needs into the thinking they have brought with them?

How does the Finance Interim respond to your description of the job or project? Are they simply repeating or paraphrasing what you say, or are they reframing your needs to help both of you understand what you want to achieve?

Do you feel that your discussions with the Interim are part of an open, creative process? You need to combine the ideas and experiences of the Interim with your needs and desired outcomes.

A good Finance Interim will have a range of tools and techniques at their disposal and should be able to describe a process from where you are now to where you want to be. This will reassure you that they understand what needs to be done.  You should feel that the Interim has added real value even before you choose to work with them.

If you’re in need of a Finance Interim to aid your organization, we can help. Give us a call at 519-673-3463 or 416-847-0036, or email Paul, Brent, or Tara.

We’ll share more tips on hiring finance interims soon!

Some organizations can consistently secure and retain top talent as well as create a thriving culture. As with many best practices, it all comes down to communication: clear and quantifiable career paths, consistent reviews & feedback, and two-way-street leadership. Do you want to be the kind of organization that can attract and retain the best talent? We can help you refine your hiring strategy, onboarding plans, and follow-up communication to ensure your senior finance hires succeed. Give us a call at 519-673-3463 or 416-847-0036.

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