Toolkit for Recruiting Association Executives

3. Determine Position Requirements


To hire the best-qualified candidate for the position, the Search Committee needs to gain clarity and reach consensus on the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for a person to be successful. By determining upfront the ideal combination of technical and subjective skills required, the Committee will have a guideline to follow for recruiting and selecting an Association Executive that will effectively meet the unique needs of your association. It is critical to remember you are creating a guideline, because no single candidate will exactly meet all of the technical and subjective skill requirements. The goal is to find the candidate that will be the best technical and culture fit for your association.

Technical skills

Start by defining the essential technical skills where your Association Executive needs to be proficient. All of the skills considered should be related to the position. The following categories are examples of technical skills:

  • education, professional designations (RCE or CAE) and related experience that you determined in the previous section
  • association management (technology, financial, legal, human resources, facility management, meeting management, government affairs)
  • organization/industry knowledge (the unique governance, structure, issues, and trends in the REALTOR® organization and real estate industry)
  • leadership (vision, strategic, conceptual, analytical, risk taking, change management, decision making, conflict management, consensus building)
  • general management (performance management, team building, coaching and developing, goal setting, empowerment, diversity)
  • interpersonal (oral and written communication, customer service, negotiation, persuasion, public speaking, assertiveness)

AE Competencies and Body of Knowledge

The desired skills, attributes, and knowledge base of a successful REALTOR® association executive vary depending on the association’s size, organization structure, demographics, and diverse member needs of each association. The AE Competencies and Body of Knowledge identifies five competencies in which an AE needs to be proficient to successfully serve the evolving REALTOR® association through the 21st century. Within each competency are three levels of knowledge (administrative, management, and leadership).


A. Manage the association and its business operations (association technology, budget and financial management, facilities and equipment, human resource management, legal and regulatory activities, meeting management, political and governmental affairs)

B. Understand the structure of the REALTOR® Organization (Board/Association of Choice/Organizational Standards for Boards and Associations), governing documents, Institutes/Societies/Councils and Sections, member policies and procedures, MLS policy, political and governmental affairs, professional standards)

C. Understand real estate issues and trends (diversity, fair housing, general real estate practices, MLS services and delivery, real estate issues and trends)

D. Acquire and communicate valuable information (communications and publications, education, marketing)

E. Foster effective interpersonal relationships (working with volunteers)

The AE Competencies and Body of Knowledge can be used to help your Committee develop the job description and job requirements. In addition, the Competencies can be used to develop the job advertisement, screen candidate resumes, and create interview questions.

Subjective skills

In addition to determining technical skills, the Committee also needs to look at what type of person will be most compatible for the position. Subjective skills include the innate aptitudes, abilities, and character traits of the Association Executive. If two candidates meet all of the technical requirements, the subjective skills will help you to compare candidates and choose the person who will be the best culture fit for your association. Examples of subjective skills include:

  • Integrity, initiative, planning, organizing, independence, work standards, adaptable, tenacity, objectivity, decisiveness, energy, enthusiasm, job motivation, temperament, self-confidence, stress management, life balance, and ability to learn.

Once you have identified the subjective skills, you can use this information to develop appropriate interview questions, select final candidates, and create questions for reference checks.

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