Search Firm Guidelines & Procedures

UC Santa Cruz is committed to outreach to satisfy its diversity goals at all levels of staff employment, and this commitment applies to the selection of search firms.

Search firms are sometimes used in order to broaden the scope of a search and better meet our goal of attaining diversity. Search firms can also be used to expand our reach with high level roles, positions that are niche, or positions that have been difficult to fill in the past. UC Santa Cruz must respond proactively and strategically to the emerging challenges in a diverse and competitive employment market.

These guidelines should be followed by hiring units when utilizing a search firm. The purpose of the guidelines is to maintain consistency with our recruitment practices and to establish effective management of recruitments utilizing search firms when circumstances dictate their use. 

Hiring units should engage in extensive outreach to ensure that all potential applicants have equal opportunity to compete for the position. Hiring Managers should review the UC Santa Cruz Affirmative Action Plan and determine whether there are affirmative action goals for hiring women or minorities in the job group associated with the position they are filling.

Selecting a Search Firm

Systemwide Talent Management has provided a UC Search Firm Resource Guide to assist UC Locations in identifying, comparing, and selecting firms based on specific search needs.

The UC Systemwide Talent Management - Executive Recruitment and Search website includes the UC Search Firm Resource Guide, FAQs, and other helpful resources to assist in engaging search firms. For access to this site or a list of approved Search Firms, please visit the UC Systemwide Search Firm Resource Guide.

Benefits of using UC approved search firm and resources:

  1.   No additional RFP is required to use approved search firms and resources
  2.   Reduced search firm fees: average industry fee = 34%, UC fee = 15% to 33%
  3.   Discounts for multiple hires, internal hires, and UC volume pricing
  4.   Enhanced search firm accountability that UC search requirements are met

The use of an approved search firm is required. In special cases where a new vendor needs to be utilized, additional steps will need to be taken to provide justification, check references and add a new vendor through procurement. If you have a need to utilize a non-approved search firm, please contact Colette Grey, Talent Acquisition Manager, in advance of completing any binding contract with the search firm in question. 

Ensure Quality of Services Rendered: In all cases involving the use of search firms, the hiring unit should take steps to ensure the quality and value of the services rendered.  In particular, it is the policy of the University of California, per Business & Finance Bulletin 43, that the use of any outside firm  in  which  fees  exceed  $100,000  requires  three  proposals  to  be  submitted  and considered before a decision can be made.  This policy allows for reasonable competition among outside vendors.

Check References: Upon deciding to use a search firm, Hiring Managers should check at least two references from firms they are interested in retaining. This provides necessary feedback to ensure the integrity and track record of their search competency and the diversity of their applicant pools.

Hiring units should consult with Purchasing on the terms and conditions to set forth in a written contract with the search firm to ensure conformance with university policy.

The Hiring Manager is expected to convey to the search firm the University’s commitment to and interest in obtaining a diverse pool of candidates. Where there is underutilization and/or affirmative action goals associated with the position, search firms should engage in targeted recruitment activities consistent with University policy and designed to ensure that qualified women and minorities are well represented.

The Hiring Manager is expected to review the candidate pool to determine whether it is adequately diverse and, if not, consult with the search firm to consider extending the scope of the recruitment efforts to increase the diversity.

Ultimately, the Hiring Manager/search committee will be responsible for providing selection justification documentation for the selected candidate. The unit is also responsible for providing job-related reasons why all other applicants/candidates who were referred or sourced were not selected for interview or for hire.