When a board seeks to recruit an individual member, the process usually involves a formal interview. Candidates for board positions must be prepared to respond to questions that range from what skills, attributes and experience will be beneficial to the organization and the reasons that it is important for them to be part of the Board. They should also know how they will be able to commit to the position.
Garland McLellan is the founder of Board Ready. A board consulting firm. Boards are seeking strategic thinking, not executive thinking. This means that the interviewer is seeking a candidate who can have a high-level discussion asking good questions and challenge the company’s thought processes.
A good board member will offer their own perspective regarding the business challenges and strategies of an potential employer, but they improve board performance should also be open to hearing the views of interviewers. They should be able give balanced feedback, even if the company’s performance is not up to par.
Interviewers might ask candidates to examine the atmosphere and collegiality in the boardroom. This is particularly important for a publicly traded company where the board’s relationship with shareholders may be at risk. Additionally, the board could request that candidates think about whether they have conflicts of interest that might affect their ability to contribute value. A conflict of interest that is discovered could be detrimental to a board strategy and may have legal implications in the worst case. If a candidate’s answer is to be examined to be considered, they must be prepared to disclose any relevant affiliations or relationships.