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How to Ace a Corporate Board Seat Interview

If a board decides to hire new members the process is usually an interview. Candidates for board positions should be prepared to respond to questions ranging from what their talents and qualities will benefit the company to the reasons why they wish to join the board. They should also be aware of how they will be able to devote to the role.

Boards typically seek strategic insight, rather than executive thinking, according to Garland McLellan, founder of Board Ready, a board consulting firm. This means that the interviewer is looking for a candidate who can engage in a conversation at a high level, ask good questions and challenge the company’s thinking.

A good board candidate is willing to share their personal opinion on the challenges and strategies of the prospective employer, but is open to the opinions of interviewers. They must be able to provide balanced feedback, even if the company’s performance is not satisfactory.

The interviewer might also ask candidates to evaluate the culture and collegiality of the boardroom. This is particularly important for a publicly traded company where the board’s relationship to shareholders could be at risk. A board might also require candidates to reveal any conflicts of interests they may have that might affect their ability to add the value. A conflict of interest discovered can derail a board’s strategy and could result in serious legal consequences in the worst-case scenario. If candidates are asked to answer this question it is important for them to reveal any relevant relationships and affiliations.