3-Step Guide to Recruiting an Independent Board Director - Step Two

With an independent director, you get the chance to select an expert in a specific area that is pertinent to your long-term strategy

3-Step Guide to Recruiting an Independent Board Director  -  Step Two

This is the second article in our series of the 3, outlining the steps to recruiting an independent board director. 

Other articles include: 

Step 1: Leading a Skills Matrix and Gap Assessment


Step 3: How to Successfully Close Out the Process

With an independent director, you get the chance to select an expert in a specific area that is pertinent to your long-term strategy – whether it’s a new opportunity, or aggressive growth targets to prepare for an IPO, or an area that has become more urgent due to market changes, or an adverse situation. This can be especially important when you’ve got a small board and are early in a company’s life cycle. By bringing in a specific expertise early through your independent director, you can take advantage of growth opportunities and potentially avoid costly mistakes.

Step Two: Optimizing the search process, including how to write the position descriptions and the interview process 

Turn the outcomes of your gap assessment, <explained in Step 1>, into a Board Position Spec that can be shared with candidates, search partners (as applicable) and interviewers to set the stage for seamless execution.

Download: How to Create a Board Position Description

This is a helpful resource we’ve offered to many companies looking to hire an independent. It helps develop a job specification to quickly and efficiently narrow down candidates that match your skill requirements..A critical point of guidance we offer is that casting a wide net is paramount in this process in order to uncover the breadth and depth of experts that could meet your needs – go beyond personal connections, seek out leadership organizations, firms with expansive networks, or source through theBoardlist where we aggregate talent through endorsements.

The expectation is that your independent director will help you address blindspots, so seeking a thought partner that is different from the perspectives on the board today is valuable. While you do not want to stray from looking for candidates who meet all of your criteria, you should always look beyond your existing network and consider many different perspectives to see which candidate will be able to provide a highly relevant, thoughtful and honest opinion.

When the interview process starts, you’ve now used the Board Skills Matrix Template to assess necessary skills and expertise, as well as the How to Create a Board Position Description guide to develop the hiring document.  This preparation will ensure that all interviewers are assessing for the same skills and experience.

When sharing feedback as a team, you must have a process for not only assessing for “fit” and the overall dynamics of the board, but also to evaluate if this individual has a “connection” with the other members and do the other members trust their perspective/opinion?

  • What is this director’s operating style? 
  • Will this person ask insightful questions, help elevate the board’s level of thinking? 
  • How will they provide critical feedback or deliver their opinion that might not be widely shared? 
  • Will they be able to engage in productive debate and dialogue?
  • Is the candidate just as excited about what we’re building as we are? 

Searching for character and integrity is also part of this process - knowing that complete trust in your independent director and an openness to their input sets you, them and your board up for optimal success. There must be mutual respect in the relationship for this role to be truly effective.

Navigating the search process for finding a new board member is a time consuming process if you go it alone. Check out theBoardlist’s search platform today to discover over 22,000+ diverse candidates.


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