Search Firm Guidelines

The purpose of these guidelines is to establish effective management of the recruitment, selection and work product of search firms when circumstances dictate their use.  UC Santa Cruz is committed to outreach in recruitment to reach its diversity goals at all levels of staff employment, and this commitment applies to the selection of search firms retained.

Search firms are sometimes used in order to broaden the scope of a search and better meet our goal of attaining diversity. UC Santa Cruz must respond proactively and strategically to the emerging challenges in a diverse and competitive employment market.

The following are guidelines for hiring units to follow when utilizing a search firm.

Hiring units should engage in extensive outreach to ensure that all potential applicants have equal opportunity to compete for the position.  Hiring Managers (HM) 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.

Upon deciding to use a search firm, HM’s 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.

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.

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 HM 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 HM 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 HM/search committee will be responsible for providing selection justification documentation for the selected candidate, and for providing job related reasons all other applicants/candidates who were referred or sourced by the search firm and/or the hiring unit, but either not selected for interview or for hire.

The following is a partial list of search firms who have assisted the University of California in their recruitment efforts.


UC San Diego Executive Search


Korn Ferry-San Francisco
1800 Century Park East, ste 900
Los Angeles,  CA 90067
(310) 843-4128


Andrew T. Ceperley, Coaching & Consulting


Spelman Johnson
Jennifer N. Hiatt
(413) 529-2895