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How To Launch Interim Leadership Services For Your Search Firm

Thaddeus Andres - July 31, 2023

In our last article, we discussed Interim Services in depth and the benefits they bring to search firm as well as your clients. This article will discuss the 7 basic steps that you will need to take in order to set-up and launch a successful Interim Service offering to clients as well as candidates. 

1. Get Candidates To Opt-In

Firstly, you will need to make your candidates and network of talent aware that you are now offering Interim Leadership services to clients. Some candidates will be open to that and others will not. Be sure you are able to distinguish those that are open to it and those that are not by creating a Custom Field for tracking this. Add this same custom field to any sort of candidate portal so that you can capture this information through self-identification when pipeline building. You will also need to identify a secure way for candidates to submit documentation securely for bank details, copies of insurance, compliance documentation etc. You will also need to figure out what a candidate's set hourly rate will be and set up a Custom Field to record this data.

2. Launch Your Marketing Campaigns And Begin Pitching It

Just like launching any new executive search service, you will need to begin marketing this service so clients and candidates can understand and are aware of it. Create or carve out a space on your website that touches upon Interim Talent and describes how it is different from a typical executive search. Create email marketing campaigns for Candidates to let them know this is another option for them, and market it to clients explaining the value it brings to their organization. Integrate it into your pitch documents and materials when you are speaking with prospects or referrals and offer it as an alternative service or option instead of a search. 

3. Configure Statuses

An interim search or interim type of project will require much less statuses than a typical executive search assignment will. Typically, for candidates that work on Interim projects categorization for these candidates will come down to three basic statuses for your people database including: "On Assignment", "Available" or "Unavailable." As they complete or are assigned Interim Leadership opportunities and projects, adjust these status accordingly so that the remainder of your team are aware they are either unavailable or currently engaged with an Interim role. If your executive search software offers color-coded labels - designate a specific color that denotes a Candidate is on an interim assignment.

4. Set Up A New Project Type In Your Software For Interim Searches

In addition, create a separate project type within your executive search software to separate and distinguish between regular retained searches as well as Interim projects. This will help not only in your overall KPI reporting, but also support your team to quickly filter and specifically look for Interim and / or retained search projects. Since an Interim Search is completed much faster than a typical retained search, time is of the essence. Interim searches are less conducive producing lengthy candidate and status reports, and instead require a much easier and quicker way of collaboration. Interim searches will rely heavily on your search software’s online collaboration portals to provide rapid and quick updates, and gather feedback instantly from clients on certain candidates. If an interim search eventually converts into an executive search, you will already have a list of candidates to work from as well. 

5. Create Custom Fields For Tracking When An Interim Contract Is Ending

When it comes to setting up the infrastructure for your Interim services, you will need to implement a way to easily track when an interim project or contract is ending. Using custom fields you will need to create a special field where you can capture this data and easily use this field to filter for contracts that are expiring in the month or two ahead. From a best practices perspective, create a single-select or multi-select list with each month of the year as an option. You will also need to create a second custom field to determine the year end date for each Interim Assignment since Interim assignments can last between 6-18 months. You can also create a text field to capture this information and establish and adopt a standard data conformation of MM/YYYY. The only caveat to a free text field such as this, is your team members may log the end dates differently or mistype when inputting. Single-select or multi-select create an indexable and standardized process for capturing this data and account for human error. 

6. Integrate With Other Platforms To Track and Measure An Interim Leader's Time

Part of the responsibility of working on an Interim Assignment is that time, hours and rates must be tracked accordingly. Some search firms use external time-tracking tools, which sit outside of their main executive search software. Ask your software provider if they can easily integrate any external time tracking tools tool with a middle-ware platform such as Zapier, and discuss what the best way is to track, record and report on this information on a regular basis for both Candidates and for your search firm. 

7. Set Up The Right Workflows And Process To Track Interim Projects and Terms

Interim projects in your executive search software will remain open longer than regular search projects as they will last the entire duration of the Interim Leader’s contract. Set up a workflow or an internal process to track which contracts are ending 4 months from the present to engage with the client and begin pitching an executive search, or to at least understand what their next steps are once the Interim Executive’s contract comes to an end. Will they choose to renew for another 6 months? Will they want to hire the Interim Leader directly as a full time employee? Will they need to hire a full-time senior executive to replace the Interim executive? Using the custom fields that you set up earlier, filter for the upcoming months where Interim contracts may be coming to an end. Around 1-2 months before a candidate's Interim contract ends, reach out to them and gather their feedback on their experience. Identify whether they wish to find a new role or Interim opportunity or ask if they are choosing to take some time off. Exploring new opportunities for candidates whose contracts are ending and keeping a consistent pipeline of Interim Talent engaged with your search firm is crucial to a successful Interim business. 

Topics: Executive Search- Executive Recruiter- Product Features

Thaddeus Andres

Thaddeus Andres

With nearly 13 years of experience within executive search and recruitment, Thaddeus has held several marketing roles at various industry associations, networks and companies where he was responsible for implementing, leading and driving key marketing strategies and initiatives.

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