In order for a company’s board of directors to accept a new member they must ensure that the candidate is a good match for the company. This is why the interview process is an essential part of the procedure.

Board members would like to hear candidates speak about their relevant capabilities and experiences that make them well suited for the role with a focus on the value they can bring. Most often, the interviewers ask questions to determine the ability of the candidate to comprehend the complex and sometimes arduous issues that arise as board members.

As a result they’ll also want to know how the candidate manages conflict and how they are able to engage with other board members in a respectful way. Boards frequently inquire about how candidates would deal with specific issues, such as shareholder engagement and potential conflicts of interests. They also want to know whether the candidate is ethical and responsible.

The majority of companies will provide applicants with a list of materials that they must read prior to their interview. It’s not enough to do just a quick glance through these to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the company, its current board members and C-suite leaders, industry dynamics, and key risks. The best method of preparation is listening to CEO conversations with investors and analysts, says Deb DeHaas, a two-term public company board member and chief executive officer of the Corporate Leadership Center. She also says it’s essential for candidates to be able explain why the company, its product or challenges interest them, and how their experience can help address those issues.

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