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January 5, 2017

How to interview a Non-Executive Director.

Interviewing for a non-exec director is an important part of hiring a non-exec director.

The interview is a chance for you to get to know each candidate and understand how they are likely to react to specific situations. This gives you the opportunity to find out which candidate is best suited to achieve the goals and aims you have set out.

So what questions should you ask non-exec directors in the interview?

You’ll want to ask a number of types of questions to get a good all round understanding of their capabilities.

Personality Questions – It’s good to start an interview with more informal questions to get a better understanding of their personality.

Decision-Making Questions – Questions that test a candidate’s decision-making skills will demonstrate how they’ll react to problems and issues within the business.

Leadership Questions – Non-Exec Directors should be good leaders so asking questions that illustrate how they’ll offer leadership in your business is important.

Strategic Questions – You’ll want to ask some more technical questions on the strategic development of the business to test their knowledge of the business and sector.

Examples Questions to Ask an NED candidate during an interview

At Edward Drummond, our focus is to ask questions that demonstrate if the candidate can add value to the specific client’s needs. This means the type of questions are very varied and will all depend on the NED assignment specification and the associated criteria.

We are often looking at their communication style and approach at Board level. This means asking questions that require an answer that demonstrates these types of skills.

Our aim is to gain an understanding of their experience at board level, associated track record and success. We also want to evaluate their reputation; however, this is often achieved through research rather than questioning. This is often very important for public companies and the need to minimise risk.

Asking questions to understand their strengths and weaknesses is also paramount. This helps identify how they are likely to fit in with an existing board and if their skills can help offer the missing piece for an organisation. As a result, the desired candidate will be impacted by the current Board and what skills they need to help them achieve their goals. This relates to the organisation’s overall strategy.

Another important element to identify during the interview stage is their commitment and the amount of days per month/year, they can dedicate to travel/meetings. This is also a good stage to understand their willingness to help with ad-hoc communication. Some organisations need someone who will provide guidance and therefore need an NED who can offer more support/time.

It is also useful to discuss how they plan on balancing their role as an NED with other commitments. They may have a portfolio of NED positions or they may be required to balance a busy CEO schedule. Getting an understanding of their schedule and commitments will help provide insights into their ability to support the organisation.

Contact us for more information on how hiring an NED can help transform your business.

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