How to Ace a Corporate Board Seat Interview

When a board seeks to recruit a new member the process is usually an interview. Candidates for board positions must be prepared to respond to questions ranging from how their abilities or attributes benefit the organization, to why it is crucial for them to be part of the Board. They should also know how they will be able to dedicate to the job.

Garland McLellan is the founder of Board Ready. A board consulting firm. Boards are looking for strategic insight, not executive thinking. That means that the interviewer is looking for someone who can engage in a conversation at a high level, ask good questions and challenge the thinking process of the company.

A good board candidate will be able to share their own views on the business problems and strategies of a prospective employer, but be open to hear the opinions of interviewers. They should be able give an honest and balanced opinion, even if the company’s performance isn’t adequate.

Interviewers may ask candidates to evaluate the culture and collegiality within the boardroom. This is especially crucial for a publicly traded company where the board’s relationship to shareholders could be at stake. In addition the board might ask candidates to consider whether they have conflicts of interest that might affect their ability to enhance the value of their work. A conflict of interest discovered could undermine a board’s strategies and could have serious legal consequences in the worst-case scenario. If a candidate is asked to think about this issue it is important for them to provide any relevant relationships and affiliations.

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