35 Interview Questions for Board of Directors

10 Must-Ask Interview Questions for Board Members
  • What do you know about our organization?
  • What about our mission excites you?
  • What experience do you have related to our mission?
  • How much time can you commit to the organization?
  • Who in your network can you involve in the organization?

Top 4 Questions to Ask Prospective Board Members

What are some valuable connections that you have within our industry?

The board of directors is likely to take on someone who can provide a lot of meaningful connections to the company. They ask to see if you have any particular professionals relationships that can be beneficial for them. When preparing for your interview, think about which of your contacts would be helpful in this new role. Try to refresh your memory by looking through your address book, contacts list or social media accounts.

Example: “For the past five years, I have been a chair member of our local future women engineer club. Since I am constantly making connections with these talented young women, I have access to some of the best talent entering our field. If we are ever looking to hire a recent graduate, I can almost guarantee some of my club members would be interested in applying. Since I know all the hard work they put in, I would feel confident about hiring most of these students post-college.”

board member interview questions

Board members should not coach candidates to assume that they already have the position. Board members need to be clear that the interview process is not just a formality. Board members who refer candidates should be clear that if they are offered a nomination that they are being hired to take a job.

Most boards have staggered terms to prevent the entire board from turning over at the same time. Having staggered terms also prevents groups of board members from becoming too powerful and keeps decision-making democratic. Recruiting board members should be a continual process so that there is always a quality pool of board applicants. Board members and committee members recommend or refer individuals to the designated nominating committee, which takes responsibility for interviewing candidates for board vacancies.

It goes without saying that you will ask questions about the candidate’s skills and expertise concerning issues like marketing, finances, communications, public relations, or industry-specific knowledge. This part of the interview is also a good time to talk about other things like the amount of time that they are willing to commit, not only to board activities, but also to committee-level work.

Every new board member brings a host of new connections within the community and the business arena. Ask questions about who those connections are and how they might be used as resources to benefit the board and the organization. Seek information about potential donors and how the candidate can work to bring those contacts into the organization.

In making your final assessment of a candidate, keep in mind that less qualified applicants may have strong potential to grow into the position with the help of a board mentor. Board responsibilities come with legal and other liabilities. Don’t downplay the responsibilities, making it sound like the position is less than it is, out of fear of sending the candidate packing. Remember that it should be a reciprocal, two-way conversation. Don’t dominate the conversation or try to “sell” the organization. If it looks like the candidate has potential, but may not be the best fit, you might consider “trying them out” by offering them a position on the advisory board or on a committee first.

Why does our organization’s mission resonate with you?

The board of directors may ask this question to make sure you are committed to their companys vision. This question also tells them if you have done enough research prior to your interview. When preparing for this question, find out what the companys mission statement, values and overall goals are. Reflect on why you want to support these initiatives.

Example: “Your companys mission statement is, Creating quality goods that are good for the world. As someone who strongly believes that businesses have social and environmental responsibilities, this mission statement directly aligns with my values. I think its possible for us to create amazing products that also happen to be environmentally friendly. From a business standpoint, this is an excellent model to attract customers who support these ideas. From an ethical standpoint, I can feel good about the work I would be doing every day.”

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