Going through a recruitment process for a board role, either directly or through a recruitment firm, can be an intimidating prospect if you’ve never done it before. We want to make sure you are as prepared as much as possible so that you have the best chance of success.
Preparing your application
The supporting paperwork required is the same for a Board role as it is for a permanent job – a CV and a supporting statement to get the ball rolling. It’s how you frame your experience, how you create a picture of who you are and what you bring, that will make you stand out.
Boards are very interested in understanding your motivations about why you want to join their organisation, what values of theirs you share, and what personal and/or professional experience you bring that will ensure they are delivering on their strategy.
Your supporting statement and CV – Framing your experience and working out your USP
Job adverts can often read like shopping lists, and you might not feel you’ve gained the required level of experience the Board is asking for; the key is understanding what other experience, qualities and abilities you can draw on that will demonstrate to a Board that you are ready to take on the role.
So how do you work out what your unique selling point or value is to a board? In our professional lives we are used to selling our skills and experience with a focus on outcomes and so the results of our work are easier to quantify e.g., “four years’ marketing experience in a media agency where you achieved, x, y and z.”
You need to think more creatively when creating a Board ready CV and crucially when crafting your supporting statement. Board members read them, and they do matter! They don’t need to be very long, but they do need to give a fuller picture of who you are and what motivates you. No need to replicate what’s on the CV.
Preparing for interview
Going for an interview, even if it’s informal, still needs some preparation. Read up about the organisation’s strategy and understand the work/programmes they run so you can link your answers back in a relevant way. Know their values and understand which ones really resonate with you. Have an idea of who is on the current Board and who is interviewing you.
First and foremost, be yourself! Everyone brings their own unique set of life experiences with them, and the Board wants to know who you are and what motivates you. This is your chance to bring to life what you have hopefully covered in your statement; what will they get out of having you on the Board and what do you hope to get out of joining? It’s a two-way process and both sides must feel comfortable that it’s a good fit.