Everything You Need to Know About Recruiting an Interim

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Everything You Need to Know About Recruiting an Interim

Hiring an interim communication or marketing professional can appear more complex than hiring a permanent professional, but what’s really the difference between the two? Although hiring an interim may seem complicated, in reality there are fewer steps and costs for the end client when hiring on an interim basis vs a permanent basis. In this article, we break down each stage of hiring and onboarding an interim communicator or marketer into your team.

Why Might You Need to Bring On an Interim?

There are several reasons why a communications or marketing team may need to bring on an interim, including:

  • Maternity or paternity leave
  • Transformation or digital marketing project
  • Marketing product launch
  • Heavy workload when unable to increase interim headcount
  • Mergers and acquisitions or significant business change
  • Long-term sick leave
  • Sudden departure in the team
  • Support while recruiting for a permanent candidate

As with a permanent role, you’ll need to determine the role and responsibilities of the interim. The only difference is that as the role will have a definitive end date, so the role and responsibilities will be more specific than that of a permanent position.

What Should You Consider Before the Search Process?

Determining the project/work that the interim will be doing can help you consider important details such as:

Contract Length

This could be anything from 1 month to 12 months, depending on the type or volume of work required. Contracts can be easily extended or terminated if required.

Day Rate

Hiring an interim marketing or communications professional can be more cost-friendly than hiring on a permanent basis, as you won’t have to pay holiday, sick leave or other benefits. If the contract is terminated earlier than expected, you won’t have to pay any kind of redundancy fee. Our Day Rate Calculator can help figure out the cost of paying an interim.


The legislation change, which is now due to come into effect in April 2021, requires the end client to determine if their interim will sit inside or outside of scope. To find out more, we suggest reading our IR35 FAQ blog and this article on theimpact of IR35 for end hirers.

Timesheet Signoff

Interims require their manager to sign off on their timesheet in order to receive payment from the recruitment agency. This happens on a weekly basis and the interim is consequently paid weekly throughout the contract.

What Happens During the Interim Search Process?

Recruitment agencies use a variety of methods in order to find the best talent. Those that provide interim services have an extensive network of talent and generally know who is currently available in the market, providing you with candidates without having to advertise. This can help if you require a discreet search e.g. for a sensitive project that is yet to be announced.

When looking at a CV of a career interim, expect to find gaps between contracts, a shorter personal statement and greater emphasis on skills and project deliverables; all across a wider range of industries than you would typically see on a permanent CV.

The interim interview process is far quicker than a permanent recruitment process and depending on client availability, it can be completed within 48 hours after a one stage interview.

One thing to note is that the interim market tends to be network oriented, meaning you may not necessarily find the right interim for your project through directly advertising alone. In our Bridging the Gap report, which focuses on the interim marketing and communications sector, interims reported that they found their last role through a recruitment agency (35%) followed by their existing network (31%). Only 6% of respondents said they found their last interim contract directly from the end client (6%)*.

What Happens During the Onboarding Stage?

As with any hire, paperwork and reference checks will need to be completed for the candidate to begin work. This can be completed by the recruitment agency, taking the hassle and cost of paperwork out of the end client’s hands. At VMA GROUP, we ensure all interims are fully compliant before their first day. We ensure contracts are signed, insurance and right to work documents are valid; and that references from previous interim projects have been collected.

Some end clients may request additional checks, such as those in the financial services, travel or charity sectors. This could include criminal record checks, financial/audit checks and the signing of NDAs and other documents. Our compliance team will ensure all these important checks are completed.

You won’t need to carry out the traditional onboarding processes to get the candidate settled in. Experienced interim communicators and marketers are highly skilled and do not need any development or training. They will be comfortable getting stuck in straight away and delivering on the objectives of their project brief.

If you'd like to find out more about onboarding an interim, please don't hesitate to get in contact with our team.

*From a total of 432 respondents