Three Tips To Guide You In Your Corporate Board Seat Interview | Women in the Boardroom


Three Tips To Guide You In Your Corporate Board Seat Interview

Three Tips To Guide You In Your Corporate Board Seat Interview

Three Tips To Guide You In Your Corporate Board Seat Interview

You’ve got your value proposition, your board bio and your LinkedIn profile is showcasing you as a board ready candidate. You connected with your professional network, letting them know of your interest and now you have landed your 1st board interview. What’s next?

Congratulations are in order! Landing an interview for a corporate board seat is a significant achievement.  But now that you have secured the interview, how can you ensure that you make a lasting impression and stand out from the competition? And remember, even if you do not land this particular board seat, the people interviewing you might be interested in you for a different board opportunity (it happens all the time).

Your Influence Begins Before the Interview

It’s essential to recognize that your impact extends beyond the confines of the formal interview setting. Every interaction you have, whether it’s with executives, or current board members, shapes the perception of your candidacy. Approach these conversations with intentionality, highlighting your unique value proposition and demonstrating how you can contribute to the board’s objectives. Make sure you do the research and your due diligence.  Come to the interview with questions to ask. Remember, the impression you leave during these preliminary interactions can significantly influence your candidacy.

Remember, Eyes in and Fingers Out

Unlike interviews for executive management roles, interviewing for a corporate board seat requires a different mindset. As a prospective board member, your role centers on governance rather than day-to-day management.

Emphasize your ability to provide strategic oversight, mitigate risks, and contribute to long-term growth initiatives. Thoroughly research the company, its industry landscape, and prevailing governance practices to showcase your preparedness and understanding of the board’s responsibilities.

Don’t Forget To Evaluate Culture and Fit

This may be one of the most valuable tips I can offer. Since you’re going to be spending quite a bit of time with your board, you want to make sure it’s a fit. I’ve heard from plenty of Women in the Boardroom members that they’ve decided to turn down an offer because it simply wasn’t a fit. And that’s a smart move.

Beyond qualifications and expertise, cultural fit is paramount in board appointments. You’ll be collaborating closely with fellow board members, and aligning with the company’s culture and values is crucial for effective governance. Take the opportunity during the interview process to assess the organization’s culture, communication dynamics, and alignment with your own principles. 

According to Ellen B. Richstone, Professional Director and former private company CEO and Fortune 500 CFO, “One effective way to evaluate company culture is to learn about the process of adding a board member. Have phone conversations with the other board members to establish a relationship upfront. If members decline this, it can be a red flag. If they say yes, these are conversations where you can learn a lot about how the company runs, which is a largely positive experience.”

Remember, interviewing for your board seat can be nerve wracking but effectively and extensively preparing for this interview should help to quell some of those pre-interview jitters. Be sure to gather as much information about the company and the board before your interview, and most importantly, make sure it’s the right fit!

If you’re interested in continuing the conversation, Reach out to me directly!

Sheila Ronning, Founder, Women in the Boardroom.

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