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What does the word interim mean?

For those of us who work with interim recruitments every day, the word is well known, but many people we meet do not really know what the word interim means.

The word interim comes from Latin and means approximately during the time where inter means between. The Cambridge Dictionary describes the word as something temporary that is meant to be used until something permanent exists. The Swedish Academy’s Dictionary describes interim as intermediate time, transition time or provisorium.  The word has been documented in the Swedish language since the 17th century.

When is the word interim used?

Today, the word interim is usually used when it comes to people who take on time-limited assignments, so-called  Interim Managers and Interim Management. An Interim Manager enters a time-limited assignment in a company to lead a project or organization through a change.  It is also used in other areas, as for example, in the field of law where an interim judgment can be upheld.

Steve Jobs – iCEO

Steve Jobs returned to Apple as interim CEO in 1997, after having been fired from the company that he founded together with Steve Wozniak in 1976. Jobs called himself an iCEO, which is not to be confused with the “i” in iPhone or iPad that refers to the word internet. What he meant was interim CEO. It was expected to be a time-limited solution as he was building up Pixar at that time. However, it became a permanent role in 2000. Jobs turned the company into one of the largest in the world during his time as an iCEO.

Facts about Interim Management

An Interim Manager is a person with extensive experience in leadership and in driving change in a complex environment. This person has a background in business or public organizations, and has chosen to step down from a permanent role to take on temporary assignments.

Interim Management gives the business access to a highly experienced leader when the own resources are insufficient in the event of a challenge, crisis or vacancy.

Examples of typical assignments:

  • A CFO has resigned and there is no replacement in place. An interim CFO is engaged to bridge the gap during the recruitment process. As the interim is overqualified, he/she can review processes and structures during the assignment and hand over a well-functioning business to the new CFO.
  • A subsidiary is doing poorly and the numbers are in the red. The management do not know where the problem lies. The current CEO is not performing and has left the company very quickly. An interim CEO is engaged to analyze the company and provide clear and transparent information to the Board of Directors and to run a turnaround.

Do you want to know more about what interim means, if it can be something for you as a leader, or if it can be a solution that suits your company? Contact us!

FAQ about the word interim

What does interim mean?

The term interim roughly means “in the meantime” whereas inter means between. The Cambridge Dictionary describes the word as something temporary which is meant to be used until something permanent exists. The Swedish Academy’s Dictionary describes interim as intermediate, transitional, or provisional.

From where does the word interim originate?

The word interim comes from Latin and means meanwhile whereas inter means between.

When is the word interim used?

Interim is most often used when it comes to Interim Management, but the word is also used in other areas, such as in law.

By Jannike Falkman

Jannike Falkman
Marketing Manager Nordic Region

Jannike has eleven years of experience from Executive Search & Interim Management and ten years from PR, marketing and communications. Her latest employment prior to Nordic Interim was with Impact Executives as a Senior Executive Researcher.