Acting vs. Interim

What's the Difference?

Acting and interim are both terms used to describe temporary positions or roles. Acting refers to someone temporarily assuming a position or role in an organization or performance, typically due to the absence or unavailability of the regular person in that role. It implies that the person is temporarily filling in and may not have the same level of expertise or authority as the regular person. On the other hand, interim refers to a temporary position or role that is specifically created to bridge a gap or provide continuity during a transition period. It is often used in the context of leadership positions, where an interim leader is appointed until a permanent replacement is found. Unlike acting, interim positions are usually filled by individuals who have the necessary skills and experience to effectively manage the responsibilities of the role.


DefinitionThe art or profession of performing fictional roles in plays, films, or television.Temporary or provisional; serving in a temporary position until a permanent replacement is found.
DurationCan be short-term or long-term, depending on the project or role.Temporary, typically for a specific period until a permanent replacement is appointed.
ResponsibilitiesPortraying a character, delivering lines, expressing emotions, and interpreting a script.Managing day-to-day operations, making decisions, and ensuring continuity until a permanent replacement is found.
ContextPrimarily associated with the performing arts industry, including theater, film, and television.Commonly used in various fields, such as business, politics, and organizations.
ObjectiveTo convincingly portray a character and engage the audience emotionally.To maintain stability and continuity during a transitional period.
QualificationsTraining in acting techniques, experience in performing, and understanding of dramatic arts.Varies depending on the specific interim role, but often requires relevant experience and leadership skills.

Further Detail


Acting and interim roles are both important positions within organizations, but they differ in various aspects. While acting refers to temporarily assuming the responsibilities of a higher-level position, interim roles are specifically designated to bridge the gap during a transition period. In this article, we will explore the attributes of acting and interim positions, highlighting their similarities and differences.


When it comes to responsibilities, acting and interim roles share some commonalities. In both cases, individuals are entrusted with maintaining the continuity of operations and ensuring that essential tasks are carried out smoothly. However, there are distinct differences in the scope of responsibilities. Acting positions typically involve assuming the full range of duties and decision-making authority of the higher-level role, whereas interim roles often focus on specific tasks or projects related to the transition.

For example, an acting CEO would be responsible for overseeing the entire organization, making strategic decisions, and managing the executive team. On the other hand, an interim project manager might be responsible for leading a specific project, ensuring its successful completion, and handing it over to the permanent project manager once appointed.


Authority is another area where acting and interim roles differ. In acting positions, individuals are granted the full authority of the higher-level role, allowing them to make decisions and implement changes as necessary. This authority is often temporary and subject to the approval of higher-level management.

On the other hand, interim roles typically have limited authority. Interim professionals are usually expected to maintain the status quo, follow established procedures, and avoid making significant changes without proper consultation. Their primary focus is on ensuring a smooth transition and providing stability during the interim period.


The duration of acting and interim roles is another differentiating factor. Acting positions are often shorter in duration and can range from a few days to several months. They are typically filled by individuals within the organization who have the necessary skills and knowledge to temporarily assume the higher-level role.

In contrast, interim roles are specifically created to bridge a transition period, which can be longer in duration. Interim professionals are often external hires with expertise in managing transitions and change. They are brought in to provide stability and ensure the organization continues to function effectively until a permanent replacement is found.


When it comes to qualifications, acting and interim roles have different requirements. Acting positions often require individuals to have a deep understanding of the organization, its culture, and its operations. They should possess the necessary skills and experience to effectively carry out the responsibilities of the higher-level role. In many cases, acting positions are filled by internal candidates who have demonstrated their capabilities within the organization.

On the other hand, interim roles require professionals with specific expertise in managing transitions and change. They should have a track record of successfully navigating organizations through periods of uncertainty and possess the ability to adapt quickly to new environments. Interim professionals are often hired externally to bring fresh perspectives and specialized knowledge to the organization.


Compensation is an important aspect to consider when comparing acting and interim roles. Acting positions are often compensated at the higher-level role's salary or receive a temporary increase in pay to reflect the additional responsibilities they are assuming. This compensation is typically aligned with the duration of the acting role.

Interim roles, on the other hand, are compensated differently. Interim professionals are usually hired on a contract basis and receive compensation based on their expertise, experience, and the duration of the interim assignment. Their compensation may include a daily or monthly rate, along with additional benefits and allowances.


Acting and interim roles play crucial roles in organizations, ensuring continuity and stability during periods of transition. While both positions share some similarities in terms of responsibilities and maintaining operations, they differ in terms of authority, duration, qualifications, and compensation. Understanding these attributes is essential for organizations to make informed decisions when filling temporary leadership positions and managing transitions effectively.

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