Headhunters MSL have been hired by IRRV to find a replacement for long-time director Colin Farrington, who has moved to become director-general of the Institute of Public Relations.
IRRV received 55 applications for its top post, which will attract a salary in excess of£60,000 a year.
The list was narrowed down to 22, who will be interviewed over the next fortnight by MSL's Bernard Doyle.
Former IRRV president Bary Wheeler, who has been co-ordinating the selection process, said the post had attracted applications from 'commerce, institutions, local government and a couple of [IRRV] members'.
He would not be drawn on the likelihood of an internal appointment, although it is understood that current acting director Julian Price is in the running.
Mr Wheeler said the institute hoped to make a final decision of 5 November, but insisted that the quality of the applicants would make shortlisting and selection a difficult process.