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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the AESC?

The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) is the professional association representing the top retained executive search firms worldwide.

What is the mission of the AESC?

The AESC's mission is to promote the highest professional standards in retained executive search consulting, broaden public understanding of the executive search process, and serve as an advocate for the interests of its member firms.

What is retained executive search consulting?

Retained executive search consulting is a specialized form of management consulting that assists organizations to define and recruit for senior management positions. This executive recruitment is different from other types of recruiting in that it is performed only under contract and on an exclusive basis.

Who are AESC members?

The Association consists of quality retained executive search firms that are committed to the high standards of professional practice outlined in the AESC Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines.

AESC members range in size from small, boutique executive search firms to mid-size firms and large global organizations. In total, AESC members employ some 8,000 search professionals in 1,000 offices and 74 countries worldwide.

View a complete list of AESC member executive search firms.

How can my firm become a member?

Retained executive search firms are admitted to membership after submitting an application which includes references from existing members of the AESC and clients, hosting on-site review of their business practices and procedures, and passing an election by the membership committee and Board of Directors.

Learn more about becoming an AESC Member.

Submit a membership inquiry.

When was the AESC founded?

The AESC was founded in 1959.

Download Executive Search at 50 for a complete history of the retained search industry and of the AESC.

Where is the AESC located?

The AESC is a global organization with its headquarters in New York City and a European office in Brussels.

Who are the leaders of the AESC?

The AESC is governed by three regional councils for the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific which meet three times per year, as well as an international Board of Directors, which meets quarterly and consists of individuals from those regions.

I am a senior executive; how can I get in contact with AESC member executive recruiters?

The best way for senior executives to become visible to retained executive search firms is to join BlueSteps, an online executive career service offered by the AESC. With a BlueSteps membership, executives earning the equivalent of US $150k or more can create a profile in the global BlueSteps directory, which is searched exclusively by AESC member search firms. It is a confidential and proactive approach to career management at the senior level.

Learn more about joining BlueSteps to advance your executive career.

I am an HR Professional looking for a search firm or for information on the search process. Can the AESC assist me?

Yes, CorporateConnect, the AESC’s website for HR professionals, line managers and other clients of executive search services, aims to broaden public understanding of the executive search process and to promote the added value of partnering with a retained executive search firm. CorporateConnect offers clients access to the AESC membership directory and other online tools to assist with executive search firm partnerships.

Learn more about AESC tools and services for corporations using or planning to use retained search services.

How do I contact the AESC?

Visit our Contact Information page.