Regarding a job position which:

  • Does not seek to replace someone else;
  • It's not about a new employee;
  • The person is entitled to work as the Chief/Head of the Department with the command of the CEO, to see how this person will handle this position for a certain period of time until entitled permanently or not at all.

I don't want to use the term "temporary", nor "interim", which is used in times of turmoil.

Can you suggest a more appropriate term given the situation above?

  • 3
    Your first two criteria seem to be contradictory. How can you have a new position or role without replacing someone or getting a new employee? Are you trying to find a title for an existing employee?
    – Mitch
    Apr 19, 2017 at 12:12
  • Will this person be cooking? If not, you probably don't mean "chef". Perhaps "head of the department"?
    – psmears
    Apr 19, 2017 at 12:41
  • 12
    "Interim" is not exclusively used in times of turmoil. In fact, it doesn't have that connotation to me at all. It just means "temporary" or "provisional". I don't see anything wrong with using it in this case. Of course, if you don't like it, I agree that Chenmunka's suggestion of "acting" would also be suitable. Apr 19, 2017 at 14:09
  • 1
    I assume you meant 'Chief', but I can't fix your typo. 'Chef' is a professional cook, unless we're speaking German...
    – smci
    Apr 20, 2017 at 3:13
  • I agree. Both "interim" and "acting" are fine and do not have any negative connotations (as far as I know). I can see what you mean about thinking that one is more "negative" by association like "president" versus "chairman," but honestly, having lived and grown up in two countries with "presidents," I can't say it'd be that much worse than living in a country with a "chairman" :D. Apr 20, 2017 at 11:24

7 Answers 7


Such a person is said to be Acting in the position.

An Acting Manager is someone with all the powers of a Manager but is not formally or permanently assigned to the position.

The word can be applied to any post or rank. It is used in the military for someone temporarily promoted in the field - for example to replace an incapacitated officer.

If the person may either later be removed from the post or formally assigned to it. In the latter case, the acting prefix is removed.

  • Acting Manager also suggests (but not as an absolute) that the person was already an employee in a non-manager role.
    – MSalters
    Apr 19, 2017 at 12:55
  • 1
    Yes, this is what I was looking for. Out of all the comments, sounds the more appropriate one.
    – Elly
    Apr 19, 2017 at 14:29
  • 1
    Note: "Acting" has similar, and with much legalistic review concerning the role of Acting President, US Apr 19, 2017 at 16:20
  • Acting does not include the third component listed in the question: a person may agree to serve as an Acting . . . , without having any aspirations to be appointed to the position permanently.
    – jsw29
    May 10, 2022 at 21:33

If it is a position where the employee is to be evaluated after a certain period of time, after which a decision is made as to their continued employment, then probationary is what you are looking for.


In a workplace setting, probation (or probationary period) is a status given to new employees of a company or business. It is widely termed as the Probation Period of an employee. This status allows a supervisor or other company manager to evaluate closely the progress and skills of the newly hired worker, determine appropriate assignments, and monitor other aspects of the employee such as honesty, reliability, and interactions with co-workers, supervisors or customers.


  • 2
    "Provisional Chief of Department" might work as well.
    – Chris Hunt
    Apr 19, 2017 at 10:13
  • 1
    It's not a bout a new employee.
    – Elly
    Apr 19, 2017 at 11:11

How about detail?


detail: selection of a person or group for a particular task (as in military service)

So, for example, a CEO could detail a person to a particular job to see how it works out for both the organization as a whole and for the person. Where I work (not the military), detail is the term we use unless a management position is involved, in which case we use acting, as suggested by @Chenmunka. However, acting typically means "until a vacant titled position is filled permanently"; it does not mean "test run".

  • 2
    You can't be the "Detail Director of Marketing", though. You could say that Richard has been detailed as the Director of Marketing, or that we plan to detail Richard as the Director of Marking, but I'm not sure that's the type of phrasing Elly is looking for. Apr 19, 2017 at 14:10
  • No, "detail" was not what I was looking for.
    – Elly
    Apr 19, 2017 at 14:27
  • @CodyGray You didn't read my answer carefully. Apr 20, 2017 at 0:55
  • 1
    @Elly And why is that? Apr 20, 2017 at 0:55

It could be a secondment, which is the term we use when a person temporarily takes up a role in a different department.

Definition from Oxford Dictionary...


The temporary transfer of an official or worker to another position or employment.

‘he spent two years on secondment to the Department of Industry’


"Ad-hoc" also refers to something similar.

  • When intended to be an answer, words should be defined and references provided and they should be relevant to the topic.
    – vickyace
    Apr 20, 2017 at 13:46

Such a person would be [position] pro tempore:

For the time being


A well-known use of this phrase is in American government, with the position of President pro tempore of the United States Senate. They are an elected member if the Senate who presides over it while the Vice President is away. There is no sense of newness or crisis to it, nor are they replacing the Vice President. There isn't a defined period of time that they might be acting in the Vice President's place either; they are just acting in their absence.


Although it is usually reserved for organizations or institutions, Provisional could work here.

From Merriam Webster:

Definition of provisional : serving for the time being : temporary a provisional government

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