When a board recruits new members the process typically involves an interview. Candidates for the board should be prepared to answer questions that range from what their talents and attributes will contribute to the organization to why they want to join the board. They should also have a good sense of how much time they will devote to the role.
Garland McLellan is the founder of Board Ready. A board consulting firm. Boards are looking for strategic insight rather than executive thinking. This means that the interviewer is looking for someone who can engage in a high-level conversation asking good questions and challenge the company’s thinking processes.
A good board candidate can share their personal views on the business challenges and strategies of a prospective employer, but should also be open to the opinions of interviewers. They should be able to give balanced feedback even if a company’s performance is not up to par.
The interviewer might be able to ask candidates to judge the collegiality and culture of the boardroom. This is particularly important in a public company where the board’s relationship with shareholders may be at stake. Additionally, a board might ask candidates to consider whether they have conflicts of interest that might affect their ability to contribute value. Unsolved conflicts of interest could undermine a board’s plan and could result in serious legal implications in the worst-case scenario. If the candidate is asked to answer this question they should be prepared to disclose any relevant relationships and affiliations.