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How to Vet Potential Board Members

You’ve found several individuals who are interested in learning more about serving on your board of directors. What do you do now? How do you determine if they would be a good fit for your board, and if the organization would be a good fit for them? Watch the video above or keep reading below to get five recommendations on vet potential board members.

5 Tips for Vetting Potential Board Members

  1. Know what you’re looking for in a board member. It is important to understand the characteristics you are looking for in a board member in order to know if they will be a good fit. In fact, if you have been doing board succession planning, you will know what competencies you’re looking for. You will also be able to see where you may have skill gaps on your board. Then, you can target those types of skills/experiences in potential board members.
  2. Ask the potential board member to complete an application and submit a resume. This is not a traditional application that an employee at your organization may fill out. Instead, this should be an application that you devise with questions about their experiences, skills, and interests for becoming a board member. Some examples of questions that you could put on your application include:
    •  Why are you interested in a position on the board?
    • Do you have any prior board experience?
    • What special skills and knowledge of yours would be valuable for our board?
    • What activities or services do you do within the community?
  3. Interview them. If you feel good about their application and resume, the next logical step is to interview them. This is a good chance for you to get to know them more, and ask them some additional questions that weren’t included on the application. I would encourage you to interview them in person or via video-conference so you can see their body language and how they interact with you.
  4. Check for their sincere interest in your organization. Some people may have a hidden agenda or other reasons to become a board member. Just be aware of these possibilities, and check for any red flags you may see.
  5. Do a background check using a third party vendor. These background checks can be used to check things like employment history, educational background, and criminal record. You would likely be surprised at how many people actually lie on their resume, so it is important to double check. 

It is best to do your complete due diligence and vet all potential board members. You want to get the best people on your board, so you need to do your homework!  

How ready do you think your organization is for board turnover? Take our free 60-second quiz below and find out what your board readiness score is!