interim ceo

Part 3 of 3: Where to Look for & What to Ask an Interim CEO

In the previous two parts of this series, we’ve discussed the benefits of outsourcing in times of need at your company and how it can provide stability. As an often-underutilized resource, interim management and CEO’s should be used in ways that further your company’s goals. In our final part, we will discuss where to find interim CEOs when you’re in need and what to ask in the interview to ensure everyone’s on the same page.

Where to Look

If your business is in a bind, you have options. There’s a variety of spots on the web and services you can employ to ensure that you get the help you need quickly and efficiently. Perhaps you’ve been through the interim management process before and you have a service or process that you prefer. Maybe you’re new to this and need some guidance. Below are just some options and ideas that you can look at when you’re in need of an interim CEO.

Specialized Staffing Companies

If you do a Google search, this is likely the most common way that you’ll be able to connect with interim CEOs or interim management. Specialized staffing companies like the three listed below work directly with qualified candidates to ensure they are matched with a suitable company. If you opt to work with them, they’ll do much of the research work for you. Tell them your situation and they’ll give you a list of candidates to interview. You may pay more but you’ll save time if you need to be putting other fires out.

Social Media

Social media is no longer just a way for old friends to connect over the internet. Businesses use social media to promote themselves. Professionals use social media to get jobs. LinkedIn, in particular, is one of the most popular social media out there. Searching LinkedIn for the top interim executives in the game could land you with some of your top candidates. It can also save you time. As most individuals post a summary about their career, a resume or list of their career experiences, and even sometimes a video about themselves, you might be able to find your top candidates in no time at all.

Job Boards

Job Boards are another way to connect with interim management. There are general job boards for this process as well as specific job boards that focus on interim management positions. You can hop on to search or try The job board route will likely take the most research and networking to be successful, but plenty of companies still list opportunities on these sites.

What to Ask

Past performance is the best indicator of future performance, and as a result, you’ll want to ask your potential interim executive the right questions to ensure that they have the correct experience to help you. Here are some of our recommended questions to ensure you select the best interim executive for you.

What is the strongest trait that you bring to the table given our current situation?

This is as much a strength question as it is a culture question. You can have a great interim executive who doesn’t fit with your company culture and it won’t make much of a difference. Depending on what the candidate names as their strongest attribute will determine what their impact on the culture is, what approach they will take, and how effective they will be.

 In your own words, can you tell me what we do?

This question will not only catch a serious candidate but will also catch candidates who know what they’re doing. You want a candidate who has done research on your company, not only because that’s good practice before an interview, but also because the interim CEO who is quick to learn, understand, and analyze your company’s situation will be more apt to help your company succeed.

What do you offer to us that we cannot do ourselves?

Most companies require a fresh set of eyes and ears as well as stability in order to be successful. The next level of growth comes with something different than what you already possess as a company. What makes this candidate unique from your management’s current skillset? This is your potential interim executive’s opportunity to show you what they can do for you.

What are the benefits of interim management to clients? How would you use your position to drive business?

Interim CEOs aren’t like other CEOs. They aren’t planning to be there long-term, and thus provide different benefits for your business. Yet, they’re only advantageous if they realize their expertise, rapid mobilization, and quick delivery since they’re there for a short period of time.

Tell us about a time that you resolved a situation similar to ours.

If your interim executive doesn’t have the necessary skills to navigate the challenges of your specific company, they’re likely not the best fit. You’ll be able to tell which candidate stands out if someone has specifically dealt with a situation like yours before. Someone with a proven track record will be able to jump in and assist your company immediately unlike someone with no experience.

Describe your exit strategy in an interim role like this one.

The nature of an interim role is that your CEO (or other management) will be there for the short-term only. Having an individual who understands what their presence means and how they will potentially extract themselves will be an asset to your company. How they enter and exit the company will impact your company culture and your business success. Neither of you should forget about how transition plays a part in this period of time.

So there you have it. We only scratched the surface of some aspects of interim management in considering it as a solution and what do to if you decide to try it. Speak with colleagues and peers who may have used it in the past and get some insight to determine if its right for your company in a pinch.

Portfolio Management Group offers Interim Executive Management as one of our core services. If you find yourself short of a key executive, why not reach out to us and find out how we can be a solution – temporary or permanent? Visit our website or drop me a message today – you may be surprised how affordable this investment is. 


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