Keep the Machine Running

Interim professionals can fill open positions during permanent replacement searches

By Mark Viner

In some sectors, we are at the lowest unemployment levels in about 50 years. Deciphering the exact percentages for certain fields is difficult because the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics measures  unemployment by the total number of people in the workforce. 

In 2016, the overall unemployment rate ranged between 4.6 percent and 5 percent, which made for the lowest one-year range since 2001 and among the lowest since the mid-1970s. However, some areas during the past three years or so are believed to be far less than overall. Four of these areas include experienced (at least eight years’ experience) positions in accounting, finance, human resources and information technology. Most employers believe unemployment for those positions is less than 1 percent.

Operating a company during periods of extremely low unemployment in critical departments can be challenging. When an employee in an important position leaves a company during periods of low unemployment, it can take three months or longer to find the right replacement. Meanwhile, the company can suffer a lack of production from the empty seat and/or subject the remaining employees to additional workload and stress until a replacement is hired.

One way companies address the challenge of an open position is by hiring dedicated interim professionals to fill the job while the permanent search takes place. There is a meaningful collection of experienced workers—particularly within the accounting, finance, HR and IT sectors—who choose to do interim work on a full-time basis. Typically, they are employees of professional search and staffing firms who focus their talents on helping clients manage the change of an employee departure.

Using dedicated project professionals to fill open positions also means companies don’t have to rush permanent hires, allowing them to stay focused in the recruiting process. Often, companies that rush their hires make bad choices that complicate their circumstances. Bad hires not only are costly to employers, but they also can lengthen the duration of stress and increased workload on the remaining staff. This can hurt morale and cause inefficiency in production—and possibly more employee departures.

Hiring employees in key departments during a period of low unemployment can be challenging and time-consuming. Losing employees during periods of low unemployment can be frustrating. Fortunately, businesses have a cost-effective solution to navigate these rough waters and help ensure the machine keeps running.

Mark Viner is president of the interim resources division for StevenDouglas. Contact him at mviner@stevendouglas.com or 954.385.8595.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.