How to Find Your First Non-exec Role

An observation has revealed that a significant amount of well-trained executives have not performed well during the interview process with the nominating committee members of corporate boards. Due to the uniqueness and the specificity involved in a non-exec position, it is worth offering some advice that will increase the chances of you securing your first non-exec role.

This brief article hopes to encourage you to pursue a non-executive director role with a corporation whilst providing some information that will better prepare you for the endeavour.

The Vital Nature of Preparedness

As with any interview or meeting, preparation is vital. You should take the time to research the company, using at least two primary methods. The company’s annual report should be a definite read, as well as recent and relevant newspaper articles, the backgrounds on board directors and analyst’s reports.

It is also wise to seek to utilise your own network for the purpose of helping you gain a lucid perspective on some of the strategic issues facing both the company and its industry. This will provide the capacity to respond effectively and appropriately to the questions that will arise during the interview concerning the relevance of your experience.

Have a Lucid Perspicacity of the Process

It will be important to understand the process as well as knowing who will be attending the interview meetings. As a general rule, the first meeting will be with the Chairman; however there are some boards who will have a two or three-person committee that will initiate the interview process. Depending on the outcome of the initial meeting, the next step could be individual meetings with each of the other directors. It is advised that you request to meet with all of the relevant parties involved, for example, the external auditor. It is also fairly common for the final candidate to meet with all of the board members. This can take place in a formal meeting room or during an informal lunch or dinner. The final step of the process will be a formal offer.

Participate in the Interview Process

One of the most effective methods to positively influence an interview process is to pose your own questions. This gives you the ability to maintain a certain level of control, and allows you to introduce certain aspects of your knowledge about the company. It is important to also understand that you should not speak for more than several minutes at a time when answering questions. Additionally, always try to end your answer with a question of your own.

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