How to Ace a Corporate Board Seat Interview

An interview formal is typically carried out when a board hires new members. Candidates for board positions must be prepared to answer questions that range from how their skills, attributes and experience will benefit the organization, to the reasons that it is important for them to be part of the Board. They should also have a good sense of how much time they can commit to the position.

Boards usually seek strategic insight, not executive thinking, says Garland McLellan, founder of Board Ready, a board consulting firm. This means that the interviewer is seeking a candidate who can engage in a high-level conversation asking good questions and challenge the company’s thought processes.

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

The interviewer could also ask candidates to examine the atmosphere and collegiality of the boardroom. This is particularly important when a company is public, where the board’s relationship with shareholders could be at risk. In addition the board may inquire about whether they have conflicts of interest that could impact their ability to contribute value. A conflict of interest that is disclosed can be detrimental to a board strategy and may have serious legal implications in the worst-case scenario. If the answer of a candidate is to be evaluated, they must be prepared to reveal all relevant affiliations and relationships.

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