What does an Interim Manager do? » Skills, Tasks & Insights


Confused about what it is exactly that an Interim Manager does? We've got the answers! Often an overlooked role, Interim Managers are called upon in times of duress and need. Let's take a closer look at their day to day activities and more!


The role Industry Responsibilities Skills Background Salary

The Role of an Interim Manager: What do they do?

Interim Manager Role

The Interim Management Association defines Interim Management as:

Interim Management is the rapid provision of senior executives to manage change or transition”.

In layman terms, an Interim Manager is an experienced and highly skilled professional employed for a short period of time to solve a specific problem. They are a master project manager who not only provide solutions but also implement them.

Interim managers can best be described as “short term” managers. This is because they usually work for a company for a limited period of time. These are generally times of higher workloads and/or a period of increased need for management.

During this time, Interim managers take on clearly defined tasks and design target-oriented solutions and strategies.


Interim managers typically work for a company for less than a year and work on an independent basis.

Who needs to hire an Interim Manager and why? 

Hiring an interim manager cuts through internal politics currently strangling a company. Think of it this way:

If a small company is suddenly faced with a high-risk crisis and the leading manager resigns, the management has 2 choices:

  • They can spend weeks trying to find the right replacement, taking into account employees already in the company looking for a promotion.
  • They can quickly bring in an interim manager while they hash out the right candidate for the permanent position.

It’s pretty obvious that the second option of hiring an interim manager paints a much more productive picture.

In other companies, many dynamic and continuous adaptation processes present permanent managers with increasingly demanding tasks. That's why companies like to use interim managers to create additional capacity and strengthen the workforce at the management level.

Furthermore, interim managers are not only available at short notice, but given their temporary employment - the fixed costs are low and, above all, predictable.

A big advantage of interim managers is that they stand above or at least next to the hierarchies of the company and as a rule do not have to consider the internal "hacking orders" and communication structures.

Interim managers can be hired as generalists and can either be used as substitutes for absenteeism or as specialists who work in a concrete situation, to allow specific specialist knowledge to flow to the employer, e.g. an interim IT manager who will deal with technical issues.


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Interim Manager Vs Management Consultant

Is there a difference? A Management Consultant is not a substitute for an Interim Manager. The two roles are quite distinct in terms of responsibilities. The table below outlines the differences between the two careers. 

Interim Manager Vs Management Consultant

In essence, an interim manager is a management consultant, but a management consultant is not an interim manager. While the two roles overlap at times, interim managers offer benefits beyond what management consultants offer.

What are the Responsibilities of an Interim Manager?

Interim Manager Responsibilities

The day to day work-related tasks differ from manager to manager and are based on the specific requirement for which the Interim manager was hired.

They generally come into a place of work and take over the conception and implementation of company restructuring, carry out rationalizations or prepare plans for the reorganization of companies. Company sales and the planning and execution of company takeovers as well as pure consulting functions can also be on the agenda

General responsibilities of Interim Managers are:

  • Analyse and suggest ways to improve processes and procedures
  • Advise on issues from a position of neutrality on high-sensitive issues
  • Advise and implement strategies to deliver effective solutions
  • Check and make sure that equipment and team is working properly
  • Work on new strategies to improve productivity
  • Define procedures to save businesses from a crisis

What Skills do Interim Managers need?

Interim Manager Skills

Once again, the skills required by an Interim Manager differ from case to case. Sufficient experience in leading positions and organized self-management are a couple of important requirements.

Other essential skills include analytical competence, good time management, but also moderating skills in dealing with employees and business partners.

Since these managers often join a company in difficult situations, good communication skills and empathy are valuable virtues.

Skills required by an Interim Manager:

  • Change management skills
  • Ambition for improvement
  • Must be goal-oriented
  • Strategic and analytical thinking
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Ability to motivate other people
  • Ability to work independently
  • Innovative and out of the box thinking
  • Processing Management and planning


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Background and Experience

An academic background in business administration, a Master of Business Administration or a comparable degree is often an advantage. Academics apart from business or economics are less common in Interim Managers.

A wealth of experience is essential, ideally with several companies of significant size. As a university graduate, the chances of successful recruitment are slim. Having worked on Interim management jobs before will be highly appreciated.

In addition to the great responsibility that interim managers bear, they also invest a great deal of time in their tasks. More than ten hours of daily work are no exception to the job.

How much do Interim Managers make?

Due to the enormous responsibility of an interim manager and the independent nature of his employment relationship, they are generally paid by day or per hour with high daily rates between $780 and $1,000.

According to the freelancermap freelancer rate index (as of Sep, 2019), the average freelance rate for Interim Managers is $164/h.

Interim Manager Salary

The interim management industry emerged in the EU in the 70s - 80s and is a growing force in the management industry where companies require now even quicker solutions.

So if you’re considering getting the term “Interim” out of your title, feel free to check this guide to become an Interim Manager from the Institute of Interim Management.

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