How to Ace a Corporate Board Seat Interview

When a board is looking to recruit new members the process is usually an interview. Candidates for board positions must be prepared to answer questions ranging from how their abilities or attributes benefit the organization to why it is essential for them to be a part of the Board. They should also have a solid sense of how much time they are willing to dedicate to the role.

Boards typically look for strategic insights, not executive thinking, says Garland McLellan, founder of Board Ready, a board consulting firm. The interviewer will want someone who can participate in high-level discussions, ask thoughtful questions and challenge the company’s thinking processes.

A good candidate for a board position is willing to share their own perspective on the challenges and strategies of their potential employer, but they should also be willing to hear the viewpoints of the other interviewers. They should be able to provide fair feedback, even if a company’s performance wasn’t up to par.

Interviewers may ask candidates examine the atmosphere and collegiality in the boardroom. This is particularly important in a public company where the board’s relationship with shareholders may be at stake. In addition the board might inquire about whether they have conflicts of interest that might affect their ability to enhance the value of their work. Unsolved conflicts of interest could undermine a board’s strategies and can have serious legal implications in the worst-case scenario. If the candidate is asked to think about this issue, they should be prepared to reveal any relevant relationships and affiliations.

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