Using a Search Firm

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Your department may consider hiring a search firm for hiring an administrator, faculty, or staff leadership position, or any position requiring specialized skills that would benefit from recruiting assistance.

Please follow the six steps on this page to navigate the process and ensure compliance with University policies and practices.

Are you looking for information and updates on active executive searches instead?

1. Contact HR and PACS

Before contacting a search firm, please connect with HR Recruitment and Outreach and Procurement and Contracting Services. In addition to ensuring requirements are followed, we can answer questions and provide advice.

HR Recruitment

Recruitment will gather metrics on the use of search firms, review the quality of service the firm provides to you, and ensure the University fulfills its Equal Employment Opportunity reporting requirements.

Kevin Adams
Affirmative Action Specialist

Lisa Gundy
Director, HR Recruitment & Outreach


PACS will ensure that all purchasing regulations are followed.


View Contracting Procedure.

2. Select Search Firm

Please follow this procedure for selecting a search firm:

  1. Review the list of search firms under contract with UArizona. If none meets your needs, you may use search firms under ASU contract, but the contract terms will differ from UArizona’s.
  2. Interview your top choices (sample interview questions (PDF)).
  3. Determine each firm's availability, scope of services, and cost model.
  4. Request a scope of work from the search firm for your planned search.

Search Firms Under Contract with Arizona

Public list. Contains firm name, address, and contact information.

Summary List (PDF)


Requires NetID login. Contains firm specialties, costs, and contacts.

Search Firms Under Contract with ASU

ASU is currently utilizing the same contracted search firm list as UArizona. Information on any separate RFP ASU may conduct will be available on the page below.

Using Uncontracted Search Firms

Your search committee is not limited to the firms contracted by UArizona and ASU. However, to select an uncontracted vendor, you must follow standard PACS bidding requirements:

Less than $25,000

Value of Contract Requirement
Less than $25,000 Seek one price quote*
$25,000-$100,000 Seek three price quotes
More than $100,000 Solicit formal requests for proposals through PACS**

*The quote can be as simple as an email with pricing or a page that lists costs.

**For orders over $100,000, PACS must post a formal solicitation for a designated amount of time and follow other steps and requirements as outlined in its Request for Bids (RFB)/Proposals (RFP) policy. A PACS buyer must negotiate the contract and include provisions such as expenses or travel to ensure that it meets University and state of Arizona requirements.

For more information on and assistance with using a noncontracted search firm, please email PACS at

3. Obtain PACS Requisition Approval

Prior to beginning work with a search firm, you will need to submit a requisition in UAccess Financials. Your requisition should include a copy of the scope of work agreement. The scope of work agreement should provide the following information:

  • Anticipated dates of service
  • General description of services to be provided
  • Project milestones, if any
  • Total cost
  • Reference RFP number

View Sample Scope of Work Document (Word)

PACS will review the scope of work agreement to ensure it conforms to the pricing and terms in the vendor's contract. Please note, only PACS is authorized to sign agreements that are binding on the University. Upon PACS approval of the requisition, you may start working with the search firm.

4. Obtain HR Requisition Approval

All recruitments, including those led by a search firm, must follow standard UArizona recruitment guidelines and policies. Your plan should follow these steps.

  1. Develop a position profile with the search firm.
  2. Create and submit a job posting requisition in Talent.
    Your Talent requisition should be based on a summary of the search firm profile. This helps ensure the University meets its posting obligations under the University Recruitment Policy and helps the search firm promote the position.

    Please note that the “General” tab of the Talent requisition contains several fields you need to fill out when using a search firm:

    • “Search Firm Contracted” field: Select “yes”
    • “Special Instructions to Applicant” field: Enter a hyperlink to the search firm’s applicant portal, nomination instructions, and contact information if the search firm wishes to collect applications in their software system. This will help clarify the steps for the applicants and direct them to the appropriate search firm applicant page or portal.
    • “Funding Notes” and/or “Human Resources Notes” fields: Note whether you would like the posting to open to the public and accept applicants through Talent, or open to the public and redirect applicants to the search firm's applicant portal.

    Please do not place your requisition in a “closed” status until instructed by HR Recruitment and Outreach.

If you need in-depth guidance on how to create a requisition, please view our Talent Requisition Guide.

After receiving the requisition, HR Recruitment will schedule a call with the search firm to discuss data collection and recruitment procedures.

5. Recruit Candidates

The search firm is responsible for leading the candidate pool development process. The HR Recruitment team is also available to answer questions if the search firm or search committee requests support. The HR Recruitment team also hosts multiple search committee resources.

Select the Finalist

Once you have your finalist, follow these steps:

  1. Notify Kevin Adams ( that the search process has been finalized. He will work with the search firm to gather the final recruitment data. (Please do not place your requisition in a “closed” status until instructed by HR Recruitment and Outreach.)
  2. If the finalist has not submitted a UArizona application, please contact Kevin for a Talent application link. This will allow the HR Recruitment team to have the finalist complete an official University application, collect consent to conduct our background checks, and inform the candidate of I-9 requirements.
  3. Kevin can provide an official confirmation if the search firm requires a letter confirming the candidate's first-year compensation.
  4. Generate an offer letter in Talent and extend it to the finalist.
  5. Submit a new hire transaction in UAccess (view the New Hire: Employee Quick Reference Guide (PDF)). Attach the finalist's Talent application and offer letter to the transaction.

6. Closeout the Search Process

Submit All Expenses

Use the following Object Codes in UAccess Financials for all expenses incurred using a search firm.

  • 3480: Search Firm Services: All fees paid to search firms or sourcing specialists to find eligible candidates for open positions (includes fees paid to a consulting firm assisting the search committee)
  • 3481: Search Firm Travel: Payment for lodging or travel expenses incurred by a search firm consultant.

Close Job Posting Requisition and Advertisements

Make sure to close your Talent requisition related to the search and to disposition all candidates. Discontinue advertisements placed with outside vendors.