Is interim talent the answer to the Great Resignation?

John Laycock from executive search firm Anderson Quigley explores the Great Resignation’s ongoing reign and how interim talent may just be the solution.

Many people withdrew from the workforce during the pandemic and decided not to return. Post-pandemic, more people still are choosing to retire. On the flipside, new technologies, new ways of operating and new roles are emerging, leaving employers searching for very niche skill sets. 

All these factors have resulted in a markedly limited market supply, meaning finding the right candidate is more complex than ever.

The experience and flexibility of interim talent can be an effective solution to this issue, but recruiters must be aware of the unique candidate care these appointments call for.

The value of agile interim talent

In this candidate-competitive market, agile interim talent is being used to drive forward projects relating to change, restructuring and transformation until permanent hires can be made.

Interim managers are valued for their unique ability to move between sectors and adapt to new challenges quickly.

They can also be highly valuable when an organisation needs difficult work to be done that more established employees might find difficult, such as redundancies or restructuring. They do not have a long-term future in the organisation, so they don’t have to engage with the politics of a workplace. 

This allows them to be much more independent and objective in their work, and assess and deliver results rapidly.

Candidate care is crucial

Recruiters appointing interim talent must pay attention to the particular needs of these individuals and understand that a high level of candidate care is essential. 

Interim work can be a lonely existence, and the constant change is not for everybody. Interims are often completing assignments away from home and don’t necessarily have access to all the support services – such as HR or mental health services – that a permanent employee typically has. 

This means that providing the best level of candidate care is essential and should be a full team effort from your recruitment and support teams to your finance and compliance staff.

You cannot place a candidate in an interim role and simply say, ‘see you in six months’. Your team should stay in regular contact with both the candidate and client throughout the length of the assignment. Be there to advise and ask for constant feedback to ensure the appointment is going well and head off any problems.

Securing strong permanent talent in the Great Resignation is an ongoing challenge for many. However, recruiters can be of real value to their clients by appointing experienced interim consultants to drive these crucial projects forward – and if your team is committed to a high level of candidate care, this effort will pay off.

John Laycock is a managing partner at executive search firm Anderson Quigley, where he leads a team of interim consultants and recently ranked 11th in the Institute of Interim Management survey 2022.

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