There are a lot of articles online about how to prepare for an interview, but most of them rehash the same information. This guide was put together based on the feedback we get from hiring organisations, and conversations with members about the board-level hiring process.

Much of it might seem obvious, but we recommend giving it a quick read as it could help you avoid some common mistakes people make in unsuccessful interviews.

Good preparation is key

Before the interview, take some time to explore the organisation’s website. Even if you’re very familiar with what it does, there is always something to learn about its history, its current board, its ownership structure or its most recent accounts.

If you are going for a finance role like an Audit Chair, it’s also good to look at regulation in that sector, financial trends, major investors etc.

Find out who you’re meeting

Take a few minutes to look up the people on the interview panel to get a sense of their role, expertise and professional interests. It’s also good practice to do some research on the rest of the board, and think about how you would complement the skills and experience already there.

Remind yourself of the role spec

It’s always worth re-reading the role spec. These are crafted with the Nurole team, and everything is in there for a reason – there may be angles or topics that you’ve forgotten about since applying.

Don’t get lost in the detail

Remember that unlike the executives, the board is there to oversee the organisation’s work and think beyond the day-to-day. So while having a handle on specific details is impressive, it’s important to think about the bigger picture. Where does this organisation sit within its sector? What does the future look like – in terms of challenges and opportunities?

The value of values

As part of this broader approach, it’s good to think about the organisation’s values. What are they? How do they shape the work it does? What do they mean to you? This is particularly important for boards that oversee organisations with a clear social purpose.

Treat it like trial run for a board meeting

A good board-level good interviewee balances three things:

1. Listening. Being able to listen and process information is a key skill in the boardroom, so it’s good to demonstrate this ability in the interview.

2. Explaining what you can contribute. Chairs often express frustration about new board members that don’t say anything for the first year. You need to add value from that first meeting, and so it’s important to be confident talking about the things you know, based on your skills and experiences.

3. Being open about what you need to learn. Don’t try and bluff the things you don’t know. Boards like people who are honest and defer to the team when they need to. Don’t shy away from identifying areas you want to learn more about, or skills you need to develop.

Nurole provides best-in-class hiring for forward-thinking boards. We blend the power and reach of technology with a very human understanding that every role, every organisation and every candidate is different. Contact us to discuss your next hire or find out more about becoming a member here.