AGB Search Review: How to Find or Fill a Leadership Position in Higher Education

If you’re looking for a new job in higher education, you might have come across AGB Search, an executive search firm that claims to be the top choice for colleges and universities. But is AGB Search really as good as they say? Or are they just another scam that will waste your time and money?

AGB Search Review: How to Find or Fill a Leadership Position in Higher Education

In this review, I’ll give you the lowdown on AGB Search, how they work, what they offer, and whether they’re worth your trust. I’ll also share some tips on how to make your resume stand out and land your dream job in academia.

How AGB Search Works

AGB Search is a division of the Association of Governing Boards, a non-profit organization that supports higher education governance. AGB Search was founded in 1956 and has since conducted over 2,000 searches for presidents, provosts, deans, and other senior leaders.

According to their website, AGB Search works with public and private institutions of all sizes and types, from community colleges to research universities. They have a team of consultants who have extensive experience in higher education, either as former administrators, faculty members, or board members.

Their search process involves the following steps:

  • Getting hired by a client institution that needs to fill a key position.
  • Launching the search by defining the role, the ideal candidate profile, and the recruitment strategy.
  • Screening and interviewing candidates from their database, network, and referrals.
  • Recommending finalists to the client for further consideration and negotiation.
  • Providing onboarding and transition support to the new hire.

AGB Search claims to have a high success rate, with 98% of their placements completing their initial contracts and 75% staying for more than five years. They also boast of having a diverse pool of candidates, with 40% of their placements being women and 25% being people of color.

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Is AGB Search Scam or Legit?

Based on my research, I found no evidence that AGB Search is a scam. They seem to be a legitimate and reputable company that has been in the business for a long time. They have a lot of positive reviews and testimonials from both clients and candidates, as well as recognition from industry publications and associations.

However, that doesn’t mean that AGB Search is perfect or that they can guarantee you a job. Like any other executive search firm, they have their limitations and challenges. Here are some of the pros and cons of working with AGB Search:


  • They have a large and diverse network of contacts and opportunities in higher education.
  • They have a deep understanding of the needs and expectations of academic institutions and leaders.
  • They provide personalized and professional service to both clients and candidates.
  • They offer guidance and support throughout the search process and beyond.


  • They are selective and competitive, so not everyone who applies will be considered or contacted.
  • They are focused on senior-level positions, so they may not have many openings for entry-level or mid-career candidates.
  • They are dependent on the client’s preferences and decisions, so they may not have much influence or control over the outcome.
  • They charge a fee to the client, which may affect the salary or benefits offered to the candidate.

Is AGB Search Worth The Cost?

If you’re a client looking to hire a top-notch leader for your institution, AGB Search may be worth the cost. They have a proven track record of finding and placing qualified and diverse candidates who can make a positive impact on your organization. They also have a flexible and transparent fee structure, which ranges from 25% to 35% of the first-year compensation of the hired candidate.

However, if you’re a candidate looking for a new job in higher education, AGB Search may not be the best option for you. They don’t charge you anything, but they also don’t guarantee you anything. You may have to compete with hundreds of other applicants, and you may never hear back from them. You may also have to compromise on your salary or benefits, since the client has to pay a fee to AGB Search.

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Therefore, I would suggest that you don’t rely solely on AGB Search for your job search. You should also use other methods, such as networking, applying directly, or working with other search firms. You should also keep your resume updated, your skills relevant, and your expectations realistic.

Alternative Options To AGB Search

If you’re not satisfied with AGB Search, or you want to explore other options, here are some alternative executive search firms that specialize in higher education:

  • Academic Search: A non-profit organization that has been conducting searches since 1976. They have a diverse team of consultants and a wide range of services, including interim appointments, leadership development, and consulting.
  • Parker Executive Search: A private firm that has been conducting searches since 1984. They have a global reach and a strong reputation in higher education, sports, and corporate sectors.
  • Storbeck Search: A women-owned firm that has been conducting searches since 2007. They have a collaborative and inclusive approach and a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • WittKieffer: A global firm that has been conducting searches since 1969. They have a comprehensive and integrated portfolio of services, including executive search, leadership assessment, coaching, and succession planning.

How To Get The Most From Working With AGB Search

If you decide to work with AGB Search, either as a client or a candidate, here are some tips on how to get the most from the experience:

  • Be clear about your goals and expectations. Know what you want and what you can offer, and communicate that to AGB Search.
  • Be prepared and professional. Do your research, update your resume, practice your interview skills, and dress appropriately.
  • Be flexible and open-minded. Be willing to consider different options, opportunities, and perspectives, and be ready to adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Be respectful and courteous. Treat AGB Search and everyone involved in the search process with dignity and gratitude, and follow up with thank-you notes and feedback.
  • Be patient and persistent. Don’t expect immediate results or responses, and don’t give up on your search or your career goals.
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In Conclusion – Is AGB Search Worth It?

AGB Search is a legit and reputable executive search firm that specializes in higher education. They have a lot of experience, expertise, and connections in the field, and they can help you find or fill a leadership position in a college or university.

However, AGB Search is not a magic bullet or a one-stop shop for your job search. They have their pros and cons, and they may not be the best fit for everyone. You should also use other methods and resources to enhance your chances of success.

Ultimately, the decision to work with AGB Search is up to you. You have to weigh the costs and benefits, and decide what’s best for your situation. I hope this review has given you some insight and guidance on how to make that decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions and answers about AGB Search:

Q: How do I apply for a job with AGB Search?

A: You can browse the current openings on their website and submit your application online. You will need to provide your contact information, resume, cover letter, and references. You can also sign up for their email alerts to get notified of new opportunities.

Q: How do I hire AGB Search for my institution?

A: You can contact them through their website or by phone or email. You will need to provide some information about your institution, your needs, and your budget. They will then assign a consultant to work with you and discuss the details of the search.

Q: How long does the search process take with AGB Search?

A: The search process varies depending on the position, the institution, and the market. Typically, it takes between four and six months from the launch of the search to the placement of the candidate. However, it can be shorter or longer depending on the circumstances.

Q: How much does AGB Search charge for their services?

A: AGB Search charges a fee based on a percentage of the first-year compensation of the hired candidate. The percentage ranges from 25% to 35%, depending on the level and complexity of the position. The fee covers all the expenses related to the search, such as advertising, travel, background checks, and assessments.

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