MB Connection

What to Expect During an Interview with a Search Firm

September 2022

When interviewing with a search firm, it should come as no surprise that there are details they want to learn about you and the organizations you have worked for. Typically, this is done through an initial zoom interview or a phone screening to get to know you better and learn how your experiences have prepared you for the position you are interviewing for.

Here are three questions you should prepare for:

  • Why are you interested? – Research and learn as much as you can about the organization, the mission, programs, and its impact.  Read and reread the position description.  Think about what compelled you to apply.  This is a chance for you to exhibit your enthusiasm.  Do you have a personal connection to the organization’s mission and is it one you have a passion for?  Ideally, it is not only the mission of the organization that intrigued you but also the role and the new challenge it would present to you professionally.  Do you feel that it is the logical next step up in your career and why so?  What about the position intrigues you the most? 
  • Tell me about your resume. – Be prepared to walk through your resume chronologically to describe each organization and explain what your titles mean, what you were responsible for, and why you left each job.  What is the mission?  What are the programs?  How large was the staff and what was the budget at the time?   Whom did you report to and who reported directly to you?  Refresh your memory about details so that you will have answers ready when asked about specifics.
  • Do you have any questions for us? – Do not overlook this important opportunity in the interview!  Search firms have a unique perspective of the needs of the organization and what search committees are looking for in an ideal candidate.  A position description can only tell you so much, so always have questions ready to ask of them.  If a candidate doesn’t have any questions, it may be perceived as a lack of interest or a lack of preparation.  Here are some ideas of questions to ask

After the interview, the search firm presents its findings of each candidate to the client and collaborates closely with them to refine a list of contenders that most strongly fit the needs of the role and the organization.  Though the organization makes the final decision of who advances, it is important to take the interview with the search firm seriously, as they could consider you for another position in the future if this one does not work out.