Interviewing with an Executive Search Firm

Interviewing with an Executive Search Firm

Article by InterSearch Romania, (Pendl & Piswanger Romania).

Executive Search is a specialized form of recruitment of senior-level executives or highly specialized individuals for key position roles within client organizations, utilizing a strategic approach to identify and engage potential candidates who may not be currently open for new opportunities.

At P&P InterSearch, we are not focusing only on finding and recruiting the right present and future executives but also on bringing talents into our clients’ organizations to help them secure the future succession pipelines. We focus on covering the need to assure the “talent intelligence” of our clients’ companies, to identify the people who can make the difference and bring real added value.

Compared to a traditional interview, when selected in an executive search process, you can expect to be assessed with multiple tools and methods such as case studies, psychometrics tests and reference checks. Even if the process is more rigorous than your previous interviews, there is nothing to worry about as every step is an opportunity to ensure the consultant that you are a valid, reliable, and fair candidate for the proposed position. In order to be best prepared, prepare a concise, but compelling pitch about your experience, skills and expertise to effectively present your value to the interviewer.


  • Presentation matters, dress appropriate. Not necessarily wearing a full business attire but rather according to YOUR target industry standards.
  • Show up in time! Avoid showing up too early or too late, be considerate with the Headhunter time, too. Check in for parking if you go by car.
  • Know your CV! When asked to go into details it might get awkward not being able to answer. It raises question marks.
  • When invited for a specific role, do your homework, prepare questions, show interest.
  • Pay attention to time, 90 minutes allocated for your interview are 90 minutes, stick to the point, discuss what is relevant. Use STAR technique to keep yourself focused on topic.
  • Be authentic! Start by being honest about your qualifications and experiences. Share real-life examples that showcase your skills and values. Avoid overemphasizing strengths or concealing weaknesses. Lastly, be open about your motivations and career aspirations, aligning them with the organization’s objectives whenever possible.



  • Never lie. Omission is a lie too. Don’t hide your past. Integrity is one thing that an executive recruiter will never compromise on, any question mark you raise on ethics and integrity takes you out automatically from the candidates’ pool. Do not make excusesif you’re in-between jobs. Get to the point, explain your situation, and do it succinctly.
  • While age, gender, marital status are not of interest, your contact details and address (city only) are a must. Don’t forget to include them in your CV.
  • Don’t answer your phone during the interview. Turn it off, not to vibrate but off to silent.
  • Don’t be rude or condescending with the interviewer! Or in general.
  • If you’re unavailable for a certain period, don’t forget to tell the Executive Recruiter – it might be that during that period there is an opportunity to meet a potential employer.
  • Avoid reacting emotionally if rejected for the role you’re interviewed for.
  • Avoid talking about your package expectations, after all is a fair trade.


Being in the room with an Executive Search Consultant, means you are in the top 10% in the industry, while at the end of the process 1% are presented to the final client, so you have the chance to bring your unique perspective and value system to the table in order to stand out.

When describing your expertise, focus on what you’ve accomplished, the teams you have led, and the impacts you have made in difficult situations. The questions you ask show your strategic thinking ability an dedication to finding the perfect match. You need to get to know the client’s vision and culture, as well as your future challenges if selected for the role. Make sure your personal values align with the values of the company.

Even if you are not the selected candidate this time, remember that you’ve just made a valuable connection. Engage in thoughtful follow-ups and show your interest extends beyond the immediate opportunity.

About InterSearch Romania (Pendl & Piswanger Romania)

Pendl & Piswanger (P&P) is a retained executive search firm, one of the leading boutique consultancies in Romania, focusing our service on leadership advisory and recruiting executive and non-executive board members, general management roles and C-suite executives, as well as high-end experts through-out a broad area of industries. With a presence of 40 years in CEE and 25 years in Romania, they are committed to their clients who gain a competitive advantage by hiring great people. To maintain their edge, they operate across all major industry sectors, learn, diversify permanently and avoid specialization by limiting their client portfolio to a particular industry.