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How to Ace a Corporate Board Seat Interview

When a board recruits an individual member the process usually entails a formal interview. Candidates for board positions must be prepared to answer questions ranging from how their talents, attributes and experience will be beneficial to the organization and why it is important to them to be part of the Board. They must also have a clear understanding 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. The interviewer is looking for someone who can engage in high-level discussion, ask intelligent questions and challenge the company’s thought processes.

A good board member will be willing to share their personal view on the issues and strategies of a potential employer, but is willing to hear the viewpoints of the interviewers. They should be able provide an objective and balanced review even if the company’s performance was not to expectations.

Interviewers might ask candidates to examine the atmosphere and collegiality in the boardroom. This is especially important in a public company, where the board’s relationship with shareholders could be at stake. In addition, a board might ask candidates to consider whether they have conflicts of interest that could hinder their ability to increase the value of. A conflict of interest discovered can derail a board’s strategy and could have serious legal implications in the worst case scenario. If an applicant is asked to think about this issue it is important for them to divulge any relevant relationships or affiliations.

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