An Authenticated Approach

The Association of Executive Search Consultants is the global association of businesses active in the sector of executive search and leadership consulting. For over 50 years, this officially recognised association has represented highest quality standards with over 215 participating member companies and about 1000 offices in 75 countries worldwide. As a representative of the executive search profession, the AESC has been recognised by the US government and the European Commission. For more information, see

Less than 5% of executive search firms in Germany, Austria and Switzerland region are members of the AESC. All members sign up to the AESC quality standards, (the ‘AESC certification’).

The following guidelines detail these quality standards in dealing with clients.

AESC certified Service Delivery


AESC certified executive search consultants support clients in recruiting executives for top tier positions by using proactive search and contact methods in order to obtain the best possible candidates for a position.


The use of relevant sources in order to obtain the best possible candidate plays an important role in the AESC certified search process. The objective is to distinguish between exceptional and average candidates and to find the best fit for the position and the client’s organisation.


The executive search company agrees on a fixed fee with the client that is not success related and is remunerated in steps. Internal candidates may be included in the search and are assessed neutrally and fairly. The consultant concentrates on finding the best candidate.


AESC consultants only conduct searches that are based on an exclusive mandate. They undertake to execute mandates professionally and to the client’s long-term satisfaction. Candidates are only introduced to one single client.


AESC certified consultants focus their search on suitable interviewees in management positions who are in a long-term employment relationship with their current employer and for the most part are not active on the market.

The best-suited candidates from a long list are invited to participate in a personal interview with the executive search consultant. This results in a short list from which the best fit is introduced to the client. The consultant accompanies this introduction personally.


AESC certified consultants place great value in getting to know and understanding the client’s company, the area of responsibility and the demands of the position that is to be filled. This requires meeting with as many contacts as possible in the company or contacts with long-standing knowledge of the business. This results in a carefully detailed description of the position, which forms the basis of the search. Moreover, the consultant informs the company of their market perception, income brackets and other topics that could be meaningful in recruiting the best candidate.


Executive search consultants have generally had successful careers in company management and/or consulting. They must be able to interact as equals with the client’s management and executives. Based on their experience from one to one interviews with executives and their appraisal, they are in a position to draw comparisons and professionally assess candidates.


Their individual consultant will focus on targeted identification, approach, assessment and selection of candidates as well as regular communication with the client.


The AESC certified search consultant heads up negotiations with the selected candidate who is exclusively introduced to the client. The consultant concludes the contract conclusion comprehensively. Formal references are obtained and presented in writing. In addition, a formal reference check of certificates is carried out upon request and with the consent of the candidate. Confidentiality and compliance with data protection laws are guaranteed, since all participants agree to the exchange of personal data.


AESC certified search firms offer a guarantee for the client, meaning that the candidate would usually have to stay in their position for a minimum of one year. If required, the search can be repeated without any further fees.

The professional cooperation with the client also includes a fair off-limits agreement, which excludes the candidate from any approach for the duration of their employment including their immediate environment for a fixed term. AESC consulting firms undertake to perform their work in a diligent and ethically flawless manner, which corresponds to the rules of the association.