Board Questions for C Level Interviews

Sourcing and qualifying candidates for an organizational board can present a number of challenges, but when taking a strategic approach to the process, specifically, correctly formulated interview questions can enhance the decision making process.

Dr. Miles is an advocate of "open ended" and "complex" questions that allow the person to make choices on how they respond. Most of his questions typically allow for the person to take a few moments of "silence" to formulate their answers. He typically reminds them that this is desirable as we would like them to provide some in-depth thinking to their response. In addition, the person or others in the process may feel free to "ask the person to elaborate more on their response." Again, he sets this as a ground rule up front. The goal of course is to learn about their thought process and responsiveness.

The following are some questions David gleaned from his files that are used at Board level and "C" level interviews.

  1. Before going into specific questions could you please tell us from a "snapshot" perspective about your background and how you believe this has prepared you for this potential position? Please focus your thoughts on an organizational level and how those experiences have added to your leadership capabilities? (Leadership preparedness question)
  2. Please describe and define your Leadership Style and Approach in an organizational setting. Feel free to utilize examples/situations of how you reached a strategic goal through your leadership? (Looking for key word descriptors such as 'collaborative' etc.)
  3. If you were selected as our next Chairman and we were looking back over your first year of leadership, what might we be summarizing in an evaluation? (General information on future first year vision of role)
  4. Based on your knowledge of where the organization has been over the last few years, and where we are today, what is your vision for the next few years for the Board and the organization? Any specific initiatives that you would bring to your leadership in the first year or so? (A tactical question)
  5. Please share your global perspective on the future of our industry and your thoughts on how organization may support our members and assist the industry as we move forward? (A visioning question)
  6. Please share with us why you believe you should be selected for this position and cite reasons why these attributes are important to the current and future success of the organization. (Look for style and confidence without bragging)

In addition to specific organizational interview questions, you might consider including these questions to enrich the process.

Lastly, if answers are short by the participant and closed ended, their leadership style is typically either direct and closed ended or possibly not of great depth. If their answers utilize word like "I think"¦" versus "I feel"¦" and other phrases such as "seeking input and building consensus" from members, you probably have a more mature leadership style. The depth of their answers are revealing as to how they would lead.

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