The Supertemp Hiring Dilemma


Words by Rorie Devine, Business Zone

The HR realm is loaded with binary options: hunters versus farmers, extroverts versus introverts, INTPs versus ISTPs on the Myers-Briggs scale — the list goes on. But one of the most important hiring choices that businesses will make today is between consultant and interim; particularly when a major change initiative is underway.

Is it a false dichotomy? Interim managers and consultants will both have high-level intellectual capabilities and offer specialist skills and services. When an assignment goes live however, what you get in terms of support can be dramatically different.

Given the potentially huge cost differences between the two services its really crucial for hirers to understand the comparative benefits of interims, and not allow ‘get a consultant’ to be the default setting.

Call it the thinkers vs. doers binary. Whilst both types of supertemp come into a project role prepared to advise and propose solutions, interims bring a hands-on bias.  After analysing the situation and making plans, their natural mindset is to implement the changes or processes.  Consultants, on the other hand, excel at devising a number of viable alternative solutions, then leave it to the client to choose one, translate it into a critical path, and see the plan through to reality.

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