The Single Biggest Step to Pay Equity? Stop Asking About Salary History

By Bruce Anderson June 30

Pay equity is hard to achieve. It took Starbucks 10 years of concerted effort to reach pay equity for employees of all genders and races in their U.S. operations. But new research shows that banning questions about salary history can help companies move more quickly and sure-footedly toward pay equity.

In a working paper published earlier this month, researchers from Boston University’s School of Law found that in states where salary history bans have been enacted, pay for those who switched jobs increased, on average, 5% to 6% more than for those who changed jobs in other states. But the boost was even larger for African Americans, who received increases that were 13% to 16% higher, and for women, who received bumps that were 8% to 9% higher, the study reported.

James Bessen, an economist who was the principal investigator in the study, says the “use of salary-history information perpetuates inequality.”

Starting pay at a new company is the single most important factor in getting to pay equity. And getting starting pay right begins with not asking about a candidate’s previous salary, which allows companies to avoid intentionally or inadvertently “importing” previous pay inequity. The BU research suggests that while employers might not be personally biased, their actions can result in substantial inequities for groups that are discriminated against.

Salary history bans have been enacted to decrease pay inequity

In 2016, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to enact a salary history ban. That legislation was drafted to address the gender pay gap. The law prohibits employers from using previous salaries as a screening tool and from asking candidates any salary-related questions until after they have received a job offer. Since then, another 18 states as well as Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and a number of U.S. cities and counties have enacted bans on employers asking salary history questions to candidates.

“What the salary history ban does,” James says, “is it takes away that bargaining advantage [from employers].”

It has also given his team a way to measure the impact of keeping previous compensation out of the interview process. James and his two coauthors analyzed data from seven years of the monthly Current Population Survey that is compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau.

That data let them see the significant pay boosts that salary history bans give job-switchers and helped them reach the conclusion that “a large portion of the pay gaps for women and minorities . . . goes away with salary history bans.” They also concluded that the research dispels any possibility that pay gaps arise from productivity differences.

Salary history bans drive hiring managers to consider more candidates and companies to share salary ranges

Recruiters and hiring managers sometimes use current salary as a proxy for how valuable a prospective employee is, with the belief that the more a person is being paid, the more value they must add for their company — or future company. When they are stripped of access to that information, they consider a wider group of candidates, invite more candidates in for interviews, and ask more questions of each candidate, according to a research paper published last year. Which also suggests that teams that stop looking at salary history may more successfully recruit diverse candidates.

The team at BU also found that in states that banned questions about compensation history the number of job posts that listed salary ranges tripled, from about 10% to 30%. Companies that share salary information at the start of the hiring process find that that practice has four chief benefits:

  1. It streamlines pay negotiations later.
  2. It filters out those who would later decline an offer based on pay.
  3. It allows candidate interviews to focus on other topics/
  4. And, of course, it promotes more equitable pay, which builds trust, improves talent brand, and increases attraction and retention.

And this trust is particularly important for women, blacks, and Latinos, who historically have been underpaid. “Pay transparency removes the distrust people have,” saysLesley Miley, a director of engineering at Google. “As an African American, I’m always distrustful because all the data supports that I’m going to be paid less. If you come out and say, ‘This is what our salary is, these are the ranges,’ that’s going to build trust.”

Final thoughts: Even if you’re not required to, consider discontinuing questions about previous salary

If your company does business in a state or country that still allows questions about salary history, consider dropping them and, instead, sharing your salary ranges. You’ll be on trend: When LinkedIn asked 5,000 talent professionals around the world if their companies share salary information, 27% said they did and another 22% said they were likely to over the coming five years.

For starters, candidates are increasingly turning to aggregated salary information on tools like LinkedIn Salary or PayScale. They have a pretty good idea what the ranges should be. So, by posting salary info, you can build trust and find candidates who are less likely to haggle over compensation.

When Starbucks was on its decade-long quest to reach pay equity, it not only stopped asking about previous salaries, it started sharing salary ranges with any candidate who asked for them. But beyond that, Starbucks also was very clear about telling candidates where they would fall on the range — and why.

Understandably, Starbucks felt a great deal of corporate pride when they finally achieved pay equity. Just imagine how their workforce felt.

Are You Looking For Online Education Opportunities While Many Of Us Continue To Work From Home?

CAMICB recognizes that during the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person education opportunities have halted with the worldwide shift to social distancing. To assist in this transition, CAMICB offers a number of online continuing education opportunities.

We have a helpful list of On-Demand webinars available here for managers to view that are free or low-cost, and CAI Headquarters has an entire library dedicated to webinars available for continuing education credit available here. All of CAMICB’s continuing education opportunities can be found here

CAMICB also offers the option for managers to seek out online opportunities that work best for them, and unapproved online options can be e-mailed to for approval consideration.

For any questions, please reach out to CAMICB at

Who Has Zoom Fatigue?

By John Spence

Internal and client meetings alike are (and will continue to be) brought to virtual platforms like Zoom. Rather than dread your calls, I offer some actionable tips to help you fight the Zoom fatigue that I have been giving my clients and practicing myself.

  1. Avoid Multitasking – Turn off other electronics, keep only the Zoom call window open on your screen and don’t check your email or Facebook!
  2. Avoid Other Distractions – Find a quiet place to work where you aren’t interrupted by family members or pets.
  3. Build In Breaks – Set meetings for 25 or 50 minutes so that you have structured time to stretch, use the restroom, get something to drink and give your eyes and mind a little rest.
  4. Reduce Onscreen Stimuli – Change the call to the “speaker view” so that you don’t see all of the other people on the call, which can be very distracting.
  5. Use Good Zoom Etiquette – Join meetings on time, stick to the agenda, keep your computer on mute when not speaking and use the chat or Q&A buttons when appropriate.
  6. Change Your Location – If you’re using a laptop, move around the house, or take casual meetings on your phone. Again, find that distraction-free zone.
  7. Change Your Mindset – During the day, you are not working at home, your home is your office. Be sure to treat it as such.
  8. Set Clear Boundaries – Create a clear separation between work time and personal/family time. Stay firm on that differentiation in time.
  9. Not Every Call Needs Video – Often times, email or messaging platforms are more efficient than a Zoom call.
  10. Learn to Say No – You don’t have to attend every single meeting. If you’re not going to add value or you have more important tasks to complete, have a discussion about whether you need to be involved.

Why the best leaders know how to be vulnerable

By LaRae Quy

When people meet me, they expect me to have the kind of bravado that is portrayed by FBI agents on TV and in movies — confident, with no signs of weakness or vulnerability. Nothing could be further from the truth!

It’s true that the most successful agents I worked alongside were brave, but it wasn’t the bluster that shoves people out of their way or abuses power. Nor was it the detachment that keeps emotions on a tight leash.

The best leaders are those who have the courage to be themselves. They have the courage to be transparent and vulnerable. To many people, the idea of vulnerability sounds a bit touchy-feely. It’s been associated with those who are weak and submissive, but vulnerability is not for wimps because it requires us to move through our fears.

I mean the big, scary fears that we’d rather avoid because they make us feel vulnerable! We are afraid of situations freighted with uncertainty, emotions we can’t control, and challenges that produce a sudden lack of confidence. It’s tempting to run away from our fears because they’re both uncomfortable and unpredictable.

This is what I learned from FBI training: Understanding our fears gives us the confidence to move forward. Courage is the product of our vulnerability, not our strengths. The possibility of greatness opens up when we prepare to move through our fears; in other words, allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

Too often, it is much easier to settle for highly functioning mediocrity in our life rather than to risk exposure to criticism and the possibility of failure.

And yet vulnerability is not a topic most people want to talk about. Our culture has trained us to hide our vulnerabilities, especially if we want to climb the corporate ladder.

Here is why the best leaders know how to be vulnerable:

1. Builds genuine social connections

Brene Brown argues that vulnerability and authenticity lie at the root of human connection. Unfortunately, real human connection is often missing from a “look at me” culture represented by the number of our Instagram likes. Many of us see ourselves as the driver behind our personal destiny and immune to the needs of people around us.

While there may not be many positives from the coronavirus lockdown mandates that kept us in isolation for weeks, one of them has been a renewed appreciation for human connection.

In his book, “Social,” scientist Matthew Lieberman states that our need to connect is as fundamental as our need for food and water. In an interview with Scientific American, Lieberman explained how humans around the world use pain language to describe social pain (“she broke my heart,” “he hurt my feelings”).

The things that cause us to feel pain are things that evolution taught us were a threat to our survival. Evolution has treated social connection as a necessity, not a luxury.

Oftentimes, genuine social connection is polluted by our attempts to project an image of confidence, competence and authority when in public. When this happens, we don’t allow ourselves to be authentic and vulnerable.

While we might let down to a spouse or close friend in private, when we think someone important is watching, most of us are very careful to preserve an image that might have taken years to hone.

The joke is on us, however, because our brains are wired to read others in a manner that is automatic and so rapid that we don’t even register the process. One of my colleagues once said, “It’s not what you do, it’s how you look doing it.”

People leak all sorts of important information about themselves by what they say and what they don’t say. Parts of our brain not only read this information, they also mimic the behavior of the other person. This is called mirroring. We subconsciously try to build rapport with others by imitating their mannerisms, posture and non-verbals.

This can be counterproductive because, if the information we receive from people is inaccurate and inauthentic, it’s impossible to build a relationship built on trust.

How to make it work for you: One very effective way to convey vulnerability is by showing forgiveness to others. Kim Cameron points out that a culture of forgiveness in organizations leads to employee productivity because it breeds trust. Forgiveness doesn’t mean tolerance for mistakes; rather it builds a patient nurturing of growth.

2. Relies on values-based leadership

People feel more comfortable around someone who is authentic and vulnerable. The reason is simple: They know it’s a lot safer to trust a person who lives a life measured by values rather than success.

Even if you can’t identify your own values, you’re inspired by people who have their act together. People whose life isn’t a wasteland of YouTube videos and reruns of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.” People who live by values that provide their life with meaning can inspire you to get off your lazy butt and search for your own North Star.

Authentic people aren’t afraid to be vulnerable, honest and transparent. In return, their colleagues may respond in positive and constructive ways and generate feelings of hope and trust. It produces a spiral effect where everyone gets ahead.

How to make it work for you: It’s time to ditch the old sink-or-swim approach to leadership, whether it’s in the home or at the office. Try something radical — kindness. Here’s what may happen: People will see you as a human being who struggles with life just like everyone else. They might feel closer to you, and even ask your advice!

The reason? You’ve made them feel respected, and   this encourages that important personal connection.

3. Eliminates the hot air in the room

Vulnerability requires a quality that’s become rare in recent years — ethics. Ethics are a system of moral principles that can trace their concept from religion, philosophy and ancient cultures.

Ethics guide our behavior; if we’re greedy and selfish, we’re bankrupt in the ethics department because we lack the decency to consider what is good for society. The distinction between right and wrong depends on the circumstances and whether we’ll profit from the decision. Forget the poor slobs who end up as collateral damage on our way to top.

Ethics require the courage to be vulnerable enough that you admit your mistakes. You know what you’re good at, and possess the self-awareness to recognize those areas that need improvement. In other words, you’re mature enough to admit you’re not perfect.

This is about the time you begin to have little or no patience with the BSer in the room. You know the one I mean, the person who’s full of hot air and makes excuses for poor performance and bad choices. This person has no relationship with ethics because they aren’t truthful with themselves or others.

How to make it work for you: First and foremost, don’t be the one in the room who’s full of hot air! While you may fool some of the people some of the time, you’ll never fool all the people all the time.

The smirks behind your back might be covered with a hand or a fat paycheck. But, if you want to earn the respect of people around you, allow yourself to be both honest and vulnerable. Become a wise person with a set of values, not a rich one with no code of ethics. 

LaRae Quy was an FBI undercover and counterintelligence agent for 24 years. She exposed foreign spies and recruited them to work for the US government. As an FBI agent, she developed the mental toughness to survive in environments of risk, uncertainty, and deception. Quy is the author of “Secrets of a Strong Mind” and “Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths.” If you’d like to find out if you are mentally tough, get her free 45-question Mental Toughness Assessment. Follow her on Twitter.

Resilience Prevails: How to Hire and Retain Employees Who Perform Under Pressure

The coronavirus pandemic has upended industries across the globe, and many employees have been asked to work from home.

It seems like a small shift, but working from home requires employees to integrate new platforms and modes of communication, juggle work and home responsibilities (particularly if they have young children), strategically modify their goals, and understand and adapt to the challenges of the pandemic. Essential workers are being called upon to respond to increased pressures, often with limited resources, and all employees are dealing with heightened mental and emotional strain during this time.

This unprecedented situation has brought one fact into sharp focus: Resilience is among the most important qualities in the workplace.

The DNA of Resilience

Resilience is a trait that unites strength, perseverance, and adaptability. Keeping those traits in tension is key to success. Brute strength that doesn’t see a task through or adjust its approach leads to burnout. Dedication is not helpful if it is misdirected and doggedly clings to the wrong idea. Flexibility needs to be grounded and focused. Employees who bring all these characteristics together are not only good in a crisis, but skilled in finding positive resolutions to pressing dilemmas.

Resilience on an individual level translates to resilience on an institutional level. Strong and flexible employees make for enduring organizations. Resilience is vital not only as companies face the coronavirus pandemic, but also as they deal with the long-term ramifications the pandemic will leave in its wake.

How to Find and Cultivate Resilience in Your Organization

How can you find and foster resilience among your workers? Doing so begins in the first interview and continues throughout an employee’s tenure with a company.

1. Screen

Identifying resilience should be a key part of your interview process. Resilience is an internal trait that expresses itself through actions. When evaluating potential employees, focus on two aspects related to resilience: their attitude toward and approach to obstacles.

First, what is a candidate’s mental orientation toward obstacles? Some individuals avoid conflict or challenges, either by actively ignoring obstacles or by feeling defeated and giving up at the first sign of hardship. Others will seek out or even create challenges or conflict when there is none. What you’re looking for is a balanced approach: Someone who meets obstacles head-on when they present themselves. Particularly valuable are those employees who can anticipate and address challenges before they become urgent.

Second, when faced with an obstacle, how does the individual respond? Are they able to think creatively and innovate? Do they persevere through challenges? It’s important to look not only at a candidate’s individual response to an obstacle, but also at how they contribute to team dynamics in a difficult situation. Teams must maintain focus, communication, and camaraderie even in trying times.

2. Shape

You will rarely find an employee who perfectly exhibits a mature measure of the traits necessary for success — and if you do, it might be difficult to keep them!

Through challenges big and small, managers have ongoing opportunities to shape and support their subordinates’ abilities to overcome adversity. One of the most common ways managers sabotage the development of resilience is through micromanaging. It can be tempting to rush in and take care of a crisis yourself, but guiding employees through challenges is vital for fostering overall institutional strength.

This does not mean managers should leave their teams to flounder. Good managers will provide guidance will giving employees the freedom to develop their own strategies. The opportunities for growth don’t end when a challenge is over. A successful supervisor will provide feedback and coaching after a problem passes to enable even better iterations in the future. Project retrospectives can be done on an individual and team basis as appropriate.

3. Recognize

Creating institutional culture is an ongoing process. When you reward a trait or an accomplishment, you not only reinforce it for the individual, but you also give their colleagues something to aspire to. Moreover, when people’s contributions are recognized, they stay engaged and enthusiastic.

Recognition should happen on all levels, from formal awards to informal kudos. Managers should cultivate the habit of affirming the positive traits of employees in personal conversations and in front of others. Organizations should also have visible incentive structures that encourage and honor employees for strength, perseverance, and adaptability.

Resilience Begins With You

The COVID-19 pandemic has created disruption in nearly every industry, creating challenges that weigh heavily on company leaders. Leaders must respond with strategy and stamina in order to identify and optimize the opportunities they are presented with. One of the best ways leaders can cultivate resilience is by modeling it. This moment can be a catalyst for the entire organization’s growth as leaders step forward with vision and boldness.

Cheryl Hyatt is a founding partner at Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search.

When a Condo Board Becomes Interim Manager

Key deadlines, working with the bank and relying on staff all need to be considered

Monday, June 8, 2020

By Eric Plant

When most people run for their condo board, the last thing they imagine is a situation where they’re actually running the condominium. A condominium is a multimillion-dollar business with hundreds of moving parts, something that a management company is specially trained and licensed to handle. But time and time again, a board of directors is thrown into the role of property manager.

One of the most common instances occurs when a management company is fired. While most management contracts have a sixty-day termination clause, which should allow the board time to find another company, some boards prefer not to have their manager stick around. In these cases, boards may choose to pay the sixty days, “walk them out” and end the relationship early. If this is the case, the board may temporarily find itself signing up for a new (unpaid) job.

Sadly, the condominium does not stop running if there is no property manager. Units still have leaks, fees need to be collected, and contractors continue to show up to work on different parts of the building. So how does a volunteer board of directors suddenly take on this role?

Work together

The absolute worst thing the board can do at this time is point fingers and blame each other for the condominium’s current situation. This not only takes up valuable time, but also makes it difficult for the board to get anything done. The best approach is to start focusing on moving forward. Identify the condo board members’ different skills and put them to use. For example, if there is an engineer on the board, that person may be best suited to look after the maintenance contracts. If one of the board members is an accountant, he or she may want to speak with the bank to ensure the banking is under control. Divide up the roles to keep the tasks manageable and avoid any overlap, and then put together a plan of action. Make note of critical deadlines and make sure each person is clear on their responsibility.

Key Deadlines

  • Pre-authorized payments must be collected at the beginning of each month.
  • Vendors need to be paid.
  • The Annual General Meeting must be held within six months of the fiscal year-end, although this has been extended during the pandemic.
  • Periodic information certificates are due after the first and third quarter of the fiscal year.
  • Insurance must be renewed annually.

Get Organized

If the previous property manager was fired and walked out, there is a good chance that things were not going so well in the condominium. Important records may not have been kept in order, and the condo board may need to do some work in getting organized. Focus on the documents that are most recent and most important, like past audits and budgets, insurance certificates, contracts, fire safety reports and, of course, copies of paid invoices. An owner or real estate agent may request a Status Certificate at any time, and the condominium should be able to produce it. Once the documents have been sorted and organized, the board should have a much clearer picture of their operations. For example, a quick pass through the financial reports will show who the main contractors are. From there, the board can start looking for signed contracts. This is also a great opportunity to scan some of these documents to make them easier to find and organize in the future.

Talk to the Bank

Once you have the corporate documents sorted and you know who the suppliers are, calls can be made to clarify any outstanding questions. Most important at this time are the banks, as the board will need to ensure that they have sole signing authority to pay bills and that they can collect maintenance fees from the homeowners. It is also important to know the location of the condominium’s investment accounts and the terms of these investments.

Rely on the staff

If the condominium has a staff, they’re already handling many of the day-to-day operations and minor problems. Have one or two board members speak with staff members and go over their routines. A lot can be learned from the on-site personnel. In some cases, certain responsibilities of the previous manager can even be delegated to the superintendent. However, it is best to consult a lawyer before making any major changes to staff routines.

Get Help

While all of this is happening, the main focus should be on hiring a new management company. Most companies have handled difficult transitions and are well equipped to get the major pieces moving on a tight timeline. The sooner a new company can start, the sooner they can take the pressure off of the board. Just be sure to pick the right company so that you don’t have to start all over again in a few months.

Eric Plant is director of Brilliant Property Management

The single piece of advice that changed the course of my career

When I started my last corporate job, I asked experienced co-workers for advice and best-practices, and most of them told me something like: “Try to get in front of important people.”

That’s corporate code for sucking up.

It wasn’t my first time working for a large company. I’d seen a lot of suck ups get promotions in the past, and in a moment of weakness, I decided to listen to those idiots.

You “get in front of important people” by scheduling unnecessary meetings with random people, always saying something during meetings, pretending you’re working while you’re watching YouTube videos, and staying at the office until late when you’re not productive at all.

But sucking up didn’t feel right — I just couldn’t do it. It’s not my style. But it’s so tempting to do it because people get rewarded for that.

And who doesn’t want to get promoted? So you get lured in. That’s why I understand why people who start at corporations decide to play politics—you think it’s normal.

But “get in front of important people,” is horrible advice. Anything that is close to that, like “fake it till you make it,” or “just network your way up,” is also bad. It’s all based on appearances.

Thank god there’s another way to get rewarded.

I was lucky enough to finally meet a stand-up guy. He was a new VP in another department. We met at the elevator, talked a bit, hit it off, and decided to schedule some time to properly meet.

I thought he was very honest and confident, so I told him about the “getting in front of people” thing, and asked his opinion.

He said: “Stay out of the chit-chat. Do your work. Let your results speak for you.”

He said that he never played politics and he never applied for a manager role. He worked hard, people recognized his results, and THEY came to him with opportunities.

That’s the best piece of career advice I’ve ever received. It’s good because it’s simple. And it works for every single industry.

“Big ideas are usually simple ideas.” — David Ogilvy

But it’s also tough advice for people to take. It’s uncertain: Do your job and hope for the best. You get rewarded when you work hard.

It’s like when people say: “Good things will come in due time.”

“Yeah, right! I want to see instant results.”

Yes, and the kid wants his candy NOW. Calm down, honestly.

I get it: We’re obsessed with quick results and blueprints. We want people to tell us: Do X, and you will get Y.

But unfortunately, things are not that simple. Over the past few months, thousands of people joined my newsletter, more than a million read my articles — and from that exposure, I got new opportunities.

Want to know my exact blueprint? I HAVE NO IDEA.

I just do my work and I don’t procrastinate. I’m also not a magician. I can’t trick people to read my stuff or work with me.

No matter how many marketing hacks you use, A/B tests you run, meetings you schedule with important people, or meetups you visit — if you keep wasting time, you never get better at what you do.

Instead of always trying new things, or doing things that are not essential, try to keep things simple. Focus on your core competencies, and improve that. No gimmicks, just real work.

“Quit or be exceptional. Average is for losers.” — Seth Godin

In the end, this is the best and simplest career advice I ever got: Do your job well (you don’t even have to be the best in the world, to start; be better than average people). That’s the ONLY career advice you need. And the results will come.

If they don’t, let me know, so we can go back to sucking up. But I’m pretty sure that will never happen. For now, let’s get back to work.

This article originally appeared on

Are You Looking For Online Education Opportunities While Many Of Us Remain At Home?

CAMICB recognizes that during the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person education opportunities have halted with the worldwide shift to social distancing. To assist in this transition, CAMICB offers a number of online continuing education opportunities.

We have a helpful list of On-Demand webinars available here for managers to view that are free or low-cost, and CAI Headquarters has an entire library dedicated to webinars available for continuing education credit available here. All of CAMICB’s continuing education opportunities can be found here

CAMICB also offers the option for managers to seek out online opportunities that work best for them, and unapproved online options can be e-mailed to for approval consideration.

For any questions, please reach out to CAMICB at

CAI Statement In Response To A Recent Commercial Aired By GEICO Insurance

By Thomas M. Skiba, CAE 
Chief Executive Officer 
Community Associations Institute

We know that many of our members have voiced their concern about a recent commercial aired by GEICO Insurance. In response to GEICO Insurance’s “HOA Cynthia Advises New Neighbors” commercial, Community Associations Institute (CAI) is deeply disappointed by the company’s inaccurate portrayal of homeowners associations and the 2.5 million volunteer board members elected to serve their communities.

GEICO’s attempt at comedy about a family moving into a community association is disrespectful and insulting to the millions of volunteers and hundreds of thousands of professionals who work tirelessly and proudly to build communities people are proud and privileged to call home. Community associations, also known as condominiums, homeowners associations, and housing cooperatives, are home to 73.5 million Americans.

Learning the facts about HOA living is so easy to do, a caveman could do it. According to the 2018 Homeowner Satisfaction Survey, independently conducted by Zogby Analytics for the Foundation for Community Association Research, residents in associations are overwhelmingly in support of their community association experience, manager and elected board members.

These are the facts and not the easy, stereotypical and condescending messages designed to get a cheap chuckle.

CAI invites GEICO to take 15 minutes to discuss the value of community associations and how they bring people together, strengthen neighborly bonds, and promote a sense of belonging—especially now.

Are You Studying For The CMCA Exam? Use This Step-By Step Process To Adequately Prepare

A variety of study aids are available to CMCA exam candidates online at Because CAMICB recognizes that people have different learning styles, multiple resources are available in various formats. A quick glance at those resources can be overwhelming. Here, we offer a roadmap designed to help you select and properly use those resources towards a successful outcome.

STEP 1. CMCA Study Guide. Download this FREE guide for an overview of how the CMCA exam was developed and how it’s structured. This is important to developing a study strategy. Here, you will also find the key to your studying success: The CMCA Knowledge


8 Knowledge Areas

Areas. You will be evaluated on these 8 knowledge areas, and understanding your strengths and weaknesses in each area, as well as how each knowledge area is weighted, will help you properly prepare a solid study plan.

STEP 2. CMCA Handbook. Download the FREE handbook for an overview of the program, paying particular attention to:

  • Section 2: Taking the CMCA Exam highlights the policies and procedures of the exam.
  • Section 3: CMCA Examination Content and Study Materials offers just that, as well as strategies for standardized test-taking.

STEP 3. If you took CAI’s M-100: The Essentials of Community Association Management, you are not fully prepared to sit for the CMCA exam. The M-100 will provide you with concrete knowledge (i.e., terms and definitions) but will not give you the knowledge to apply those terms and definitions to concepts. For example, What is a Quorum? is not a question you will see on the CMCA exam. You may, however, see a question like this, Quorum requirements conflicts are resolved by which of the following? That doesn’t mean you can skip this step. It’s still important to know the definitions in order to be able to apply them.

CMCAExamPrepSTEP 4. Quizlet is a FREE online tool that uses fun games and exercises to test your concrete knowledge. If after reviewing the M-100 course material, you find that your knowledge of terms and definitions is lacking, Quizlet is an excellent way to help you master those key terms and phrases, and prepare you for the next step in your study plan.

STEP 5. Best Practices Reports are FREE resource guides courtesy of the Foundation for Community Association Research. These Reports will help you gain applied knowledge in key areas found on the exam. Each report also contains case studies to help you understand how best practices are applied in real life situations, which is key to grasping an applied knowledge of these topics. If you’re a seasoned manager, spend a little extra time here. What you’ve learned on the job, may not be deemed best practices in the industry.

STEP 6. The CMCA Study Kit is available for purchase from the CAI Bookstore. A great tool for developing applied knowledge, you may purchase individual titles or the entire package depending on your needs.

STEP 7. CMCA Practice Exam is available online at a cost of $25 for one attempt and $40 for two. The Practice Exam includes questions that have been rotated off the exam and offers real time feedback on whether you were right or wrong on a question and why, offering real-world insight into the CMCA exam experience.

All of these materials to prepare you for the CMCA Exam can be found at on the Exam Preparation web page. We encourage you to spend at least 6-8 weeks preparing for the Exam, and if you have any questions you can contact us at 866-779-CMCA or

We’d like to hear from managers who are studying for the exam. What’s working for you? What’s not? Please use the Comments section to let us know how you’re doing!