Candidate selection for condo boards is typically an informal affair. Many condo boards don’t think about nominations until the month before an annual general meeting which doesn’t leave much time to recruit qualified, capable and interested candidates. Owners are asked to nominate themselves or someone else. Candidates may be asked to prepare a candidate statement, attend an owner question and answer session, and possibly make a statement.
A more effective approach is to establish a nomination committee.
A nomination committee can be established about six months prior to the annual general meeting. This allows them time to seek out potential candidates, present a list of nominees to the board and ensure their names are included in meeting notices. The committee’s mandate should be to ensure at least one nominee for each open position. This lightens the load on the current board and keeps them from influencing composition of an incoming board.
A nomination committee is best comprised of current or past directors, and owners. As with most committees, a maximum of five individuals is advised.
The committee’s initial task is to review a list of directors who are departing. Note any special attributes, skills or knowledge that may need to be replaced. Also take note of knowledge or information that may have to be communicated or transferred from departing directors. Maintaining this information about all board members can be helpful for annual recruitment.
Once desired skills, knowledge and expertise are known upcoming director vacancies should be advertised internally. Desired skillset(s) should be specified.
Potential directors should have experience, knowledge, or other ways of contributing and providing oversight. If a major capital project is underway or planned the committee may seek individuals with certain skills or experience. If there have been financial concerns a different set of skills may be desired. One way of managing this is to establish a skills matrix with desired skills, expertise and knowledge; an example of this accompanies this article. Check off skills and expertise provided by each director and potential director-candidate to provide an overview of the skillset for a potential board of directors.
A nomination committee should seek to recommend candidates willing to serve as director that completes a desired skillset.
Ensure all candidates go through a nominating committee to assess their suitability as a director.
The committee should meet individually with each interested candidate.
Interviews should be designed to probe whether each candidate has enough knowledge to understand issues facing the corporation and community, and important decisions the board is charged with making. The interview offers each candidate an opportunity to display their ability and share their point of view. Reference checks may provide additional information that could assist the interviewing committee in making final decisions. This might be especially true with softer skills such as the candidate’s interpersonal and leadership skills.
The interview is a time to provide an orientation of the role, responsibilities and necessary commitment. Candidates can be inspired by explaining to them the importance of their involvement and what can be achieved.
The nomination committee would make specific recommendations giving owners greater confidence in the ability of director-candidates to be effective should they be elected. In the event that an elected director is unable to complete their term, nomination committee recommendations offer a candidate pool for appointments.
Advisory Council and Committees
Candidates not suitable or available as a potential director can be asked to sit on an advisory council or committee. Such roles allow a Past President or former Chair to contribute when they are no longer interested, able or suitable as a director.