How to Get Interim Executives with “Superior Performance”

Every organization wants interim executives who can deliver superior performance.

But where do you find such people? How do you differentiate between the ordinary and the extraordinary? Getting “superior performance” all comes down to the metrics you use to define it.

We spoke to Mark James from Hire Consulting who coaches executives on furthering their career. He gave us some great advice on how to get it right when hiring interim executives.

Define superior performance in interim executives

“Every manager should tape this slogan to the office bulletin board. If you want to hire superior people, you first need to define superior performance. That means what does a person actually need to do in the first 6-12 months,” said Mark.

You can’t get great performance until you know what it looks like. Make a list of what you want to be accomplished by the executive in a fixed time-period, and then search for candidates who have achieved them before. If you can’t find it on the resume, then ask them in a survey or interview.

Find interim executives who can work immediately

The best interim executives are those who can come in and start working immediately without any training. The smaller the learning curve and the time to adjust, the quicker you’ll see results. Look for people who can answer interview questions with experiences of similar big wins. If their achievements match what you’re trying to accomplish, you’re on the right track.

Ask for measurable results from interim executives

Questions that ask for measurable results give you a better indicator of an executive’s capabilities. It is also a good way to compare candidates.

Mark shared an example of an interview question that can be helpful: “Tell me about a time when you were able to improve the bottom line, yet grow the business to a point where you were maintaining profitability?”

Questions like this are a good way to find comparable past performance. Followed that up with questions to compare the organizations and situations and you are on the right path.

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