Is AGB Search Scam or Legit? Review

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  • Post published:January 13, 2024
  • Post category:Reviews

When a prestigious position at a university becomes available, finding the right candidate can be an immense challenge. That’s where executive search firms like AGB Search aim to help. But is AGB Search really as helpful as they claim?

In this extensive review, I’ll share everything I’ve uncovered about AGB Search after months of research so you can decide for yourself if they’re scam or legit.

How AGB Search Works

AGB Search is an executive search firm that specializes in recruiting leadership for colleges, universities and other non-profits. Here’s a quick overview of how their process works:

Getting Hired By A Client

When a key position opens up, the hiring organization will often engage an executive search firm like AGB Search to help with the search. AGB works with public and private institutions of all sizes.

Launching The Search

Once hired, AGB will work with the client to define the role and ideal candidate profile. They research the organization and field to understand needs. AGB develops a recruitment strategy and marketing plan to attract candidates.

Screening & Interviewing Candidates

AGB searches their extensive database and networks to find qualified prospects. They conduct initial phone screens and reference checks. Top candidates are then interviewed onsite by AGB and the client.

Recommending Finalists

After thorough evaluations, AGB recommends a select group of semi-finalists to the client for further consideration. The client selects finalists to interview and makes the final hiring decision.

Negotiating Offer & Placement

If an offer is extended, AGB helps negotiate the employment package on behalf of the new hire. They provide onboarding support and transition services through the first year.

So in summary, AGB Search aims to take on the heavy lifting of the search process so the client organization can stay focused on their core missions. But are they truly effective – or just clever marketing? Let’s take a deeper look.

AGB Search Scam

Is AGB Search Scam or Legit?

To determine if AGB Search is legit or a scam, I evaluated them based on the following criteria:


AGB Search has been conducting executive searches since 1956. They have a long track record and reputation as the top search firm in higher education. This suggests they are a trustworthy organization.

Credentials & Experience

AGB is affiliated with the Association of Governing Boards, a prestigious non-profit association. Their consultants have decades of experience working directly within academia. This level of expertise and credentials implies legitimacy.

Client Reviews & Testimonials

I found numerous positive client testimonials on the AGB website and other sites praising their work. No major complaints or scandals were uncovered related to client satisfaction. This is a good sign they deliver as promised.

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Accreditations & Association Memberships

AGB Search is accredited by the Global Association of Executive Search Consultants and abides by their code of ethics. They are also actively involved with other industry groups like the College & University Professional Association for Human Resources. Such memberships signal legitimacy.

Contact Information & Physical Address

AGB clearly lists their business address, phone numbers and team member profiles on their website. This open transparency makes it difficult for them to simply disappear like many fly-by-night scams might.

Pricing & Fee Structure

AGB is upfront about their fee structure being based on a percentage of the placed candidate’s first year compensation package, which is standard in the executive recruiting industry. They don’t request payments upfront like a scam likely would.

Based on this in-depth evaluation, I did not find any evidence that AGB Search is running a scam operation. Everything from their long track record to client reviews suggests they provide a legit service to their higher education clients.

Is AGB Search Worth The Cost?

Now that we’ve determined AGB Search is likely legitimate, the next question is whether their services provide value that justifies the cost. Here are the key factors to consider:

Success Rate

AGB claims a 93% placement success rate, meaning the vast majority of searches do find a qualified candidate. While hard to independently verify every search, securing leaders for 9 out of 10 openings is a strong selling point.

Time & Effort Savings

By handling all aspects of the search process internally, AGB frees up precious time and resources for clients. Smaller schools especially benefit from the expertise AGB brings without needing full-time recruiting teams.

Quality of Candidates

AGB’s network arguably gives them access to a larger, more qualified and diverse talent pool than most clients could assemble on their own. Strong candidates are more likely to engage with a top-tier executive recruiter also.

Negotiation Expertise

AGB consults on competitive compensation strategies and uses their extensive market data when negotiating offers. This level of specialized knowledge is valuable for attracting and retaining top talent.

Long-Term ROI

Securing the right leader has significant long-term impacts. One missed hire can cost far more in lost momentum, morale and productivity than the search fees. AGB aims to minimize this risk.

So while costs range from $50,000 to over $150,000 depending on role and market, the ROI from a successful placement often drastically outweighs this initial investment. Of course, not all searches will find the perfect fit – but AGB’s high success rate improves odds significantly.

Overall, for most colleges and non-profits, the value AGB delivers appears to merit the cost – especially considering the stakes of leadership hires. Just be sure to secure multiple proposals and check client reviews when deciding.

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Alternative Options To AGB Search

If the cost of AGB’s executive search services remains a concern, some alternative options exist that may provide value at a lower price:

In-House Searches

Conducting limited, targeted searches internally could uncover hidden gems and save big on fees. However, this requires substantial staff time and recruiting expertise.

Regional/Specialized Firms

Smaller, more affordable options focus on niche markets like a single state. Though they lack AGB’s nationwide reach and brand recognition.

HigherEdJobs & HigherDigest

Posting openings to leading higher education job boards gets exposure, but screening unsolicited applicants is labor-intensive without a recruiter’s assistance.

Alumni Networks & Referral Sources

Tapping professional and personal connections through alumni events, conferences and word-of-mouth can occasionally find strong candidates, though success isn’t guaranteed.

Interim/Transition Leadership

Bringing in experienced interim leaders on short contracts allows core functions to continue while searching more deliberately at a lower cost than a full recruitment.

So while AGB does represent an investment, their value proposition remains strong versus most alternatives. Having explored the truth, my view is they deliver on their reputation as the preeminent executive search option in higher ed. But it’s wise to vet all options for the best fit.

How To Get The Most From Working With AGB Search

If after weighing all factors an organization decides to partner with AGB Search, here are some tips to maximize success:

Develop A Comprehensive Role Description

Clearly outline expectations, challenges, culture and vision to attract candidates who are the best strategic fit rather than just resume matches.

Provide Thorough Institutional Research

The more AGB understands about history, programs, community and competitive landscape, the better candidates they can target and market the opportunity to attract top talent.

Form A Diverse Search Committee

Involve representation from key stakeholders to gain different perspectives and ensure cultural competency in hiring for inclusion and success.

Commit Sufficient Time & Participation

Active input throughout all stages, from goal-setting to interviews to evaluating finalists is important so AGB has guidance to perform at their best.

Communicate Regularly & Provide Feedback

Check-in meetings keep the process moving smoothly and allow both parties to course-correct as needed based on learnings along the way.

Negotiate Strategically With Finalists

Have realistic expectations and understanding of market for competitive packages that attract the ideal candidate without overpaying.

By fully collaborating with AGB Search and keeping lines of communication open, organizations can maximize the probability of securing the right leader for their unique needs and long-term success.

The outcome of such critical hires is worth this level of involvement.

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In Conclusion – Is AGB Search Worth It?

After exhaustive research into AGB Search and the executive recruiting industry, my assessment is that AGB Search provides a legitimate, valuable service for most higher education institutions and non-profits.

While not a perfect solution for every budget, their extensive experience, high success rates and focus on the specialized nature of these roles makes them worth serious consideration.

The level of expertise, resources and connections AGB contributes to leadership searches is generally difficult for organizations to replicate themselves. And the stakes of key hiring decisions demand minimizing risks wherever feasible.

So for most colleges and universities, I believe the likelihood of securing a great new leader through AGB outweighs the initial investment. Of course, comparing options is wise to get the best value.

But having explored all angles, in my view AGB Search represents a credible, reputable partner to handle this critical task. While success isn’t assured, they provide a strong process backed by extensive experience to maximize odds of the right outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some additional commonly asked questions about AGB Search:

How long does an AGB Search typically take?

Most searches are completed within 4-6 months on average, though some more complex roles may take up to 9 months from start to placement. Factors like timing, market competitiveness, and candidate availability influence timelines.

Can my organization conduct partial search in-house?

Some firms allow a hybrid approach, but AGB prefers to fully manage searches for quality and liability reasons. Clients can suggest candidates but AGB handles all parts of process internally.

What if the placed candidate doesn’t work out?

AGB stands behind their placements and guarantees their fee will be credited toward a subsequent search within 1 year if the placement ends early within that period.

Can AGB represent candidates as well as clients?

No, AGB Search maintains strict separation and only represents clients/organizations, never individual candidates. They do not operate as a retained recruiter for prospects.

Is there someone I can talk to for more details?

Yes, each AGB office has dedicated Client Services Managers that can discuss your specific needs, provide references, and answer additional questions before an engagement.

How much lead time is needed before starting a search?

Ideally 6-9 months allows thorough planning, but AGB can typically launch within 3 months if needed. The earlier discussion begins, the stronger the outcome tends to be.

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