By intermediary companies we mean all "recruiting, consulting" companies proposing the services of self-employed Interim Managers. When working on an assignment, an Interim Manager does not have the time to prospect and need to anticipate the end of her/his assignment in order to ensure the next ones. Some Interim Managers are very good at networking and find their own assignments and contract directly with the client. In other cases Interim Managers ask recruiting companies to find an assignment for them.
These intermediary companies, usually mainly sales-driven, look for Interim Managers and for leads. When the Interim Manager begins with a client, she/he signs a contract with the intermediary. In that case, there is no direct contract between the client and the Interim Manager and the client has a contract with the intermediary. Client companies are charged a daily rate, which includes the intermediary’s commission. The Interim Manager is not directly charged for this service. However, because the third party’s commission increases the price charged to the client, the Interim Manager tends to invoice lower daily prices to the third party, fearing competition. Moreover, the Interim Manager has to respect a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement for this service. This means that the Interim Manager cannot contract directly with the client during a specific period after the end of the assignment (can be 1 year or more).
However, speaking to many Interim Managers, we have heard them admit their disappointment regarding intermediary companies in the recruitment sector. Based on their experience, few intermediaries put into practice the role they are supposed to play and for which they are paid (their margin). For instance, Interim Managers explain that they are not followed by these intermediaries during the assignment as they were promised, in order to achieve a quality follow-up of the mission. When discussing further with them, they blame these intermediaries for focusing more on a short-term relationship with interim managers. Based on that observation, they consider the margin charged by these intermediaries highly exaggerated. They also highlight that this recurrent lack of professionalism experienced in the field is even more disappointing when dealing with the biggest names on the market.
The conclusion here is that the quality level of the service received is not a real priority, nor a minimum standard like it should be. Like in many "sales companies", it is not the company, its name, nor its (past) reputation which makes the difference, but the sales-person/consultant of these companies whom you are interacting with. The values, the motivation and the concern for quality of this person are key drivers. Most of these companies do not reward their consultants on the quality level of service, but rather on the short-term margin they generate. There are no real company incentives rewarding the quality of work. Based on that observation, it is the own motivation of the consultant which makes the difference.