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Interim Recruitment: How to Find and Hire the Best Contractors?

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Interim Recruitment: How to Find and Hire the Best Contractors?

The contracting and interim markets took a significant hit in 2020, as contracts were being cut short during the early stages of the pandemic. Many organisations utilised their PR and external communications teams to support the internal communications division, conserve costs, and deal with the shortages caused by redundancies and furlough. 

Based on our survey conducted for the latest edition of Inside Insight, in late 2019, more than one-fifth of respondents reported working as a contractor; however, fewer available roles meant that this percentage fell drastically in 2020. But now, as the markets are on the road to recovery, more communication roles are being created to support the efforts of strained teams.  

Reasons to hire a contractor

Recruiting a communications or marketing contractor does not have to be more complicated than filling a permanent position. The best place to start is to consider the reasons for bringing in an interim.

These often include maternity or paternity covers, long-term sick leave, or support while recruiting a permanent employee. Scope of responsibilities can sometimes include specific projects such as new product launches, marketing campaigns, or digital transformations. Finally, interims can provide help during business restructures and mergers, as well as crisis management. 

Identifying why you need an interim will help you to determine the specific scope of their role and responsibilities, which is crucial when their contract has a definite end date. 

Interim recruitment process and considerations 

Once you have determined the projects and responsibilities of an interim, you should also consider the following:

  • Contract length: from four weeks to 12 months, depending on the project and volume of work required.

  • Day rate: as there is no requirement to pay holiday, sick leave, or other benefits, hiring an interim is often a more cost-efficient option. Our day rate calculator can help you to figure out the appropriate rates. 

  • IR35: is a tax law legislation for the off-payroll working rules, designed to assess if the contractor is genuine, rather than a disguised employee (working as if they are self-employed) for tax purposes. Since April 2021, the companies must determine whether the interim will sit inside or outside the scope. Check out our IR35 FAQ for more details. 

The hiring process is significantly quicker than permanent recruitment, and depending on availability, can be completed within 48 hours. 

As interim markets are more network-orientated, many organisations struggle to fulfil contracting roles through advertising directly. Based on our survey, less than one in ten get their contracts directly from the client. Meanwhile, nearly 70% of contractors find work through their existing networks (36%) or recruitment agencies (32%).

Onboarding contracting employees

VMA GROUP has provided specialist interim recruitment support to its clients since 1978. In the last 40 years, we have developed a large and diverse network of professionals at all levels of seniority across marketing, communications, and digital. 

We also manage the entire onboarding process, including compliance and regulatory checks, referencing, contract management, and financial agreements. Our experienced interim team will ensure it’s a seamless process from beginning to end. 

If you would like to discuss your interim hiring requirements, get in touch with our team today.


VMA GROUP is a leading international interim and permanent communications, digital and marketing ¬ and executive search specialist. Specialist practices cover corporate communications, internal communications, change communications, PR, media relations, CSR, public affairs, investor relations, marketing, digital and agency services.

We have a reputation for providing leading consultancy services and advice supported by in-depth knowledge of the professions we recruit for. Our thought leadership and benchmarking studies have become go-to resources for the communications and marketing industry supporting planning and decision-making.

VMA GROUP has offices in London, Manchester, Amsterdam, and Brussels, but we work with organisations and individuals on a global basis.