What is an interim manager?

The term "interim manager" is derived from the Latin "ad interim". The meaning of "ad interim" - "meanwhile", "temporarily" - already makes clear what the main task of an interim manager is. He temporarily fills a personnel gap in a company that the company cannot or does not want to fill in any other way. He is a temporary manager and leaves the company again when he has fulfilled his task.

There can be various reasons why the company fills a position with a jumper.

Sometimes interim managers take on single projects for which the expertise is lacking in the company and which are scheduled for such a short time that it is not worth filling this position on a long-term basis. In other cases, the temporary specialists and managers work in the normal day-to-day business and cover capacities for which the employees lack the time or professional resources. Interim managers are used in large, internationally active corporations as well as in medium-sized companies.

Interim management comes into question in the following situations, among others:

  • to bridge a short- or long-term vacancy, for example because a key manager is on long-term sick leave or an important position cannot be filled promptly
  • in the context of restructuring processes in the company
  • in the course of introducing new processes and strategies
  • during or after a merger of companies
  • after the reorganization of the company or the management of a crisis
  • as a interim-project manager for the implementation of special projects, such as the introduction of a new IT system or the implementation of legal guidelines

What an interim manager must be able to do

To become an interim manager, you need one thing above all: experience. Many managers have previously worked in companies at the first or second management level. They are experienced specialists and executives who are highly qualified in a specific area - be it for a specific activity, such as corporate turnaround or restructuring, or a specific department or industry, such as human resources, automotive or logistics. They must be able to master a broad range of tasks, because in interim management these can differ significantly from client to client. They do not have a consulting function, but are fully integrated into the company for the duration of the assignment. This profession therefore places some demands on them.

Even though it is difficult to precisely name the tasks of a temporary manager, he should always have the following prerequisites to be able to work successfully:

  • Flexibility: The assignment of an interim manager in the company sometimes lasts only a few weeks or months. He must therefore be able to quickly adapt to the new assignment and integrate himself into a new environment and a new corporate culture.
  • Fast comprehension: In interim management, you have to familiarize yourself with the new tasks quickly and independently. You have to understand and be able to classify the interrelationships within the company. With many mandates, it is also important to look at the company from a new perspective, for example when it comes to mastering a company crisis or changing structures.
  • Mobility: Willingness to travel is also necessary. Clients are not always nearby. The interim manager must be prepared to quickly change cities or even countries and, if necessary, to live away from home for some time.
  • Willingness: Interim management is not a normal nine-to-five job. Overtime and six-day weeks are not uncommon. You also have to be prepared for the fact that friends and family sometimes have to take a back seat.
  • Working on one's own responsibility: Interim managers are often deployed in (management) positions in which they have to act on their own responsibility - right from day one. In addition to the professional experience already mentioned, a corresponding level of self-confidence is also important for this.
  • Social competence: The interim manager must quickly adapt to his new colleagues. Especially if he is tasked with solving a difficult situation in the company, he needs empathy, communication skills and tact. He may have to deliver bad news or mediate between management and employees.

Interim Manager, by the way, is not a protected job title. Theoretically, anyone can call themselves one. That's why it can make sense to become a member of industry associations such as the Dachgesellschaft Deutsches Interim Management (DDIM) or the Bundesvereinigung Repositionierung, Sanierung und Interim Management (BRSI).

On interim-x.com, interim managers have the opportunity to get accredited. However, the accreditation is not mandatory for being active on the platform. It is, however, a seal of quality that signals to companies that they are dealing with a certified manager. To get the free accreditation, you need to apply for it at interim-x.com. You submit a CV and interim-x.com verifies your information in a short phone call with the reference contacts you provide.

What is the salary of an interim manager?

Interim managers are self-employed - even if they are placed with clients by a provider. Their salary is calculated in daily rates. The daily rates for interim management can be in the four-digit range for experienced managers. Travel and accommodation expenses are usually paid in addition. If the position was arranged through a provider, the provider usually receives a commission based on the daily rate. Like any self-employed person, the interim manager must pay taxes on his fee, i.e. income tax and sales tax.

The 1 percent rule is often used as a rule of thumb for determining the daily rate. Accordingly, the daily rate of an interim manager should correspond to 1 percent of the annual gross salary of a permanent manager in a comparable position.

One thing that should not be overlooked is that an interim manager is not usually employed continuously. Some time may pass between two assignments, and especially at the beginning of the interim manager's work, there may even be a longer lean period between two assignments. You have to be able to bridge this time financially. Health insurance, nursing care insurance and retirement provisions must also be paid for in full - in good times as well as in bad. Solid financial planning is therefore a must.

Finding new clients

In order to find new clients, it is essential in interim management to build up a professional network and establish contacts with potential clients. It is not uncommon for former clients to reassign or recommend a manager to others.

Another way to get assignments is to use a provider such as interim-x.com. This mediates between companies and interim managers and researches suitable candidates or suitable offers. At interim-x.com you will find a large selection of national and international projects in a wide range of industries. You either apply directly to the offers that companies make available on the platform, or you let yourself be found. To do this, you set up a profile on which you present yourself and your qualifications. If you are interested, the companies write to you via the platform. You negotiate the daily rate and the content of the contract directly with the company - here you have all the freedom you need. interim-x.com receives a lower commission based on your daily rate.

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