No time like the present: Why right now is the time for many boards to consider recruiting

By Vanessa Jolly, General Manager – Board Recruitment


A large percentage of boards recruit directors between April and October, as dictated primarily by timeframes surrounding Annual General Meetings or government guidelines. However, boards not required to adhere to these timelines possess the freedom to recruit when they see fit.

In this article, Vanessa Jolly, Directors Australia General Manager – Board Recruitment, explains why boards of organisations where remuneration is not high and not-for-profits might be better placed to recruit directors as early as their board calendar allows them.

Every year, Directors Australia experiences an influx of organisations reaching out to our board recruitment specialists in search of candidates eager to pursue a board role. In 2023, we presented 420 directors across Australia to clients for consideration, spanning a diverse range of sectors, including not-for-profit, large privates and family businesses.

In our experience, initiating board recruitment in January for many sectors demonstrates a proactive approach to board and governance succession planning. By starting early in the year, a board can take the necessary time to identify, vet and onboard new directors thoughtfully, as opposed to rushing the process during busier periods.

In addition, this approach allows for the integration of new directors to align with strategic planning sessions. This can infuse a board with fresh perspectives and ideas early in the year, setting a positive tone for the months ahead.

Candidates are raring to go

Many professionals take time off during the holiday season, giving them the opportunity to reflect on their career goals and consider new opportunities. As a result, the early months of a year can be a time in which prospective directors are more receptive to exploring board positions.

This rings particularly true for boards where the remuneration is comparatively modest, or the position is volunteer based. Early in the calendar year is perfect to pick up candidates whilst their ‘dance card’ has the space.

Since the start of the year is not traditionally peak recruitment season for boards, there may be less competition from other organisations vying for the same pool of candidates. Whether boards advertise their positions or not, this can increase the likelihood of attracting high-quality talent who may not be as inundated with offers during this time.

Once the market heats up from April, competition increases and smaller and not-for-profit organisations may find it far more difficult to attract and recruit quality candidates for their board.

We’re here to help

Ultimately, the best time to recruit for a board of directors varies depending on the specific circumstances and needs of the organisation. It is vital to consider both internal and external factors when determining the optimal timing for board recruitment.

The formative months of the year can be an opportune time to recruit directors, offering a larger pool of prospective candidates and enabling the board to kick off the year with renewed energy and vision.

Regardless of the time of year, Directors Australia can assist your organisation with board succession planning discussions and building out your recruitment timeline. Our specialised director recruitment service is founded on our strong belief that recruitment of a director requires different considerations to executive recruitment. In particular, the need for a director to work effectively as part of a collective, cohesive board.

Our experienced director recruitment team, with over six decades of experience, possess a passion for people and a deep understanding of contemporary recruitment practices and what makes a great director.

To learn more, please reach out to Vanessa Jolly, visit or attend our first board recruitment webinar of 2024.


Webinar: Unlocking board opportunities

February 6 2024 12:00 – 12:45pm (AEST)

Are you aspiring to join a board or looking to strengthen your board with the right talent? Join us for an insightful webinar led by Directors Australia’s Vanessa Jolly, General Manager – Board Recruitment, and Glee Mitchell, Board Recruitment Specialist. This webinar is your chance to gain valuable insights into finding the perfect board role or securing the ideal candidate for your board.

Register at


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