How to Ace a Corporate Board Seat Interview

A formal interview is generally conducted when a board recruits new members. Board candidates must be prepared for questions ranging from what their talents and attributes will contribute to the organization to the reasons why they wish to be part of the board. They should also have a solid idea of the amount of time they will devote to the job.

Garland McLellan is the founder of Board Ready. A board consulting firm. Boards are seeking strategic insight, not executive thinking. The interviewer will be looking for someone who can engage in high-level conversation, ask intelligent questions and challenge the company’s thinking processes.

A good candidate for a board position can share their personal views on the business challenges and strategies of an potential employer, but they should also be open to hearing the opinions of interviewers. They should be able provide fair feedback, even if a company’s performance was not to par.

Interviewers may ask candidates to examine the atmosphere and collegiality in the boardroom. This is particularly crucial in a publicly traded company where the board’s relationship with shareholders could be at risk. A board might also require candidates to reveal any conflicts of interests they may have that might impact their ability to add to the value. Unsolved conflicts of interest could undermine a board’s strategies and could result in serious legal ramifications in the worst-case scenario. If the candidate’s answer is to be taken into consideration and subsequently voted on, they must be able to divulge all relevant affiliations and relationships.

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