RETAINED SEARCHES and their negative affect on the diversity of a hiring pool
Dear Nemnet Member Schools, 

In our assessment of 2016 best practices to recruit diverse candidates, we have uncovered a practice that has been and is hindering many schools from delivering their desired diversity recruitment goals. Committed to educating and empowering our schools to realize their stated diversity goals relative to faculty and staff, I wanted to take moment before the peak recruitment period to share with you our thoughts and recommendations. 

The Situation:
·         In an effort to secure the recruitment of faculty and staff, especially for key leadership positions, more and more schools are entering into exclusive Retained Search agreements.  
·         Those schools that have signed a retained search agreement, agree to pay the Retained Search firm an upfront retainer, and in some cases a backend placement fee (a percentage of the hire’s first year salary).
·         Schools that are committed to improving the diversity of its staff also look to and expect the Retained Search firm to expose them to a diverse pool of candidates.
·         The majority of Retained Search firms lack a large pipeline of diverse candidates
          On occasion Retained Search firms reach out to diversity specific recruitment firms and resources for support and access to a larger pool of diverse candidates.
·         Diversity Recruitment Firms are often unable to support the retained search firm, as their policies do not allow a 3rd party vendor to advertise to their candidates without being compensated. 
·         Unfortunately, 28 out of 31 schools surveyed* stated that they are unwilling to enlist and or pay a second recruitment resource when they have employed a retained search More often than not, the school did not forecast/desire paying two or more fees. *[2016 Member School Recruitment Survey conducted by Nemnet Consulting Group] 

The Issue:
·         The practice of hiring an exclusive Retained Search is resulting in fewer and fewer administrative and leadership positions being posted, sourced and filled by diverse candidates.
·         Schools are not optimizing their resources and are not leveraging the services, in some cases that they already paid for, and expertise of Diversity Recruitment Firms to ensure exposure to a larger pool of diverse candidates. 
·         Schools are not actively driving a competitive or collaborate approach among their search firms by ensuring equal pay for equal services, especially in cases when a Retained Search needs to leverage a Diversity Firm to secure diverse candidates.

The Implication:
·         Fewer key roles are are viewed/attained by diverse candidates.  
·         The firms that specialize in diversity are not gaining access to key roles and are not incentivized to compete or collaborate with Retained Search firms.
·         The current practice of leveraging Retained Search can be counterproductive to a school’s goal of having the largest most qualified pool possible. 

The Recommended Solution:
·         Schools that are committed to diversity, should seek to implement best practices that reflect one of the following two approaches:
o   Refrain from employing exclusive retained searches. When not possible, design partnership agreements upfront that include a split/share clause in the contract to ensure equal pay for equal performance for all search firms, driving both a competitive and collaborative approach
o   Secure direct contracts with Diversity search firms. Ensuring these specialized firms are compensated for their services in providing a diverse pool of candidates.

The Rationale:
·         No one search firm has a monopoly on diverse candidates, as such, it is not an effective practice to outsource your employment search to a single entity and discourage collaboration of search firms.
·         The pool of diverse candidates is very small and search firms that specialize in diversity recruitment have a disproportionate candidate pool of diverse talent. Best practices demands that schools leverage the expertise of such firms as part of their recruitment process.

In closing, as you enter the upcoming recruitment period, we wish you all success in hiring a pool of qualified candidates that reflect the global population in which students will eventually work, live, and thrive in.  While we hope you all are able to leverage Nemnet, our commitment is far broader than our firm, and as such we encourage you to reflect on our findings and ensure your practices encourage the outcomes you desire.

Happy Recruiting Season!
Team Nemnet