Maximizing the value of interim consultants

Red lights on a funky office building

Interim consultants form an important part of a flexible workforce, but not all employers know how to maximize the value they can bring to their business.

Whether you use interim consultants regularly or only when projects or workloads require - or have never hired interim employees before - our latest Robert Walters research publication, Maximizing the Value of Interim Consultants, provides key insights on why hiring interim employees could be right for your business and how you should best approach the recruitment process.

Based on surveys of both individual interim employees and hiring managers, the research provides a valuable resource for employers looking to maximize the value of their interim workforce. 

The main benefits of interim employees

According to the results of our survey, employers are most likely to value interim consultants for their skills and specialist knowledge - with 76% of employers citing this as a leading reason for hiring, an opinion shared by 53% of interim employees.

47% of employers also say interim consultants are a useful and cost-effective method of bridging shortages in headcount or skills gaps. Nearly a third have an eye on longer term benefits, noting this as an ideal way of judging who to hire on a ‘temp-to-perm’ basis.

For interim professionals, a significant minority (17%), say that their value lies in determining results - suggesting that, for some, the attraction of interim work is linked to a talent for driving solutions to specific goals. 

High pay levels (51%), the freedom to manage one’s own tax and financial affairs (40%) and flexibility are also some of the biggest draws for interim consultants right now. 

How long should contracts run for?

The majority of employers and interim employees agree that the most common length of contract is between nine months and a year, reflecting the recognition of a ‘bedding down period’ to complete the project, particularly for technical or complex contracts. Overall, interim professionals are typically more averse to short term deals, with only 2% preferring contracts between one and three months. 

47% of employers also say interim professionals are a useful and cost effective method of bridging shortages in headcount or skills gaps.

The results also show a trend for contracts to last longer depending on the size of the organization, with 70% of companies with over 50,000 employees preferring contracts of six months or more and 53% of SMEs preferring 3-6 month contracts. 

The recruitment & interview process

More than 80% of employers and interim consultants are in agreement that their preferred hiring channel is a recruitment consultancy. While a near consensus exists among employers and interim employees that two interviews are best, 38% feel one is enough and only around one in ten expect three interviews or more.

The length of time between application and hire typically brings about very different expectations between interim employees and hiring managers, with 28% of employees expecting a time to hire of one week or less, compared to 6% of employers.

The induction process

Our survey revealed that the induction and onboarding stage is where we see the biggest discrepancies in expectations between employers and interim employees.

40% of interim consultants say they have experienced inductions that are incomplete, badly conducted, or even non-existent, with technology logins and adequate colleague introductions cited as the most common hurdles.

While almost 90% of employers say they introduce interim staff to line managers - with nearly 50% circulating letters or emails of the news to all relevant members of staff, 37% of interim employees complain of poor communication with colleagues and managers. 

Download the full whitepaper here.

Or, access the Robert Walters Salary Survey to find out what your worth or benchmark your team’s salaries.

Hiring advice

Three professionals reading through the value of contracts on a tablet
Read more »