Prior research shows that firms benefit from the social capital of their boards of directors but has not explored the antecedents of new director social capital. We argue that firms can attract directors with social capital by offering more compensation. We also argue that more complex firms (firms with a greater scale and scope of operations) are more attractive to such directors because of the greater experience and exposure that such directorships provide. Similarly, we argue that firms with high-status directors on their current boards will be more attractive to directors with social capital. We analyse the social capital of new outside directors added to boards of semiconductor firms between 1993 and 2007. Surprisingly, we find no support for the hypothesis that higher compensation is associated with adding directors with high status or board ties. However, firm complexity is associated with the ability to add new directors who have social capital, and the status of current board members is associated with the ability to add new directors who also have high status.