In part one of this article, we discussed how it is the board members’ responsibility to select the next executive director and how the whole process is critical for any organization. We touched on the basic interview matters such as background, vision, leadership, and communication.
Now, the next set of director interview questions will help you evaluate how the candidates fit in with the culture of the company. The questions below are designed to find out more about your candidate’s views on technology, plans on compliance and regulations, and their idea of good corporate governance.
Organizational Culture & Structure
How a potential employee will fit into the existing company culture is considered to be a make-or-break factor by many recruiters today. So, even if the candidates tick all the right boxes, recruiters should still ask director interview questions such as these to evaluate their fit and attitude:
- How would you describe the company culture? Is there anything you’d want to change?
- How would you assess top talents? How do you plan on encouraging your top talents to stay
- What does your company’s organization structure look like? If it were up to you, how would you organize the company?
Hire for the organization, and not just for the job. Hiring people that don’t mesh well with the existing or desired company culture leads to poor work quality, decreased job satisfaction, and a potentially toxic environment. Cultural fit is already considered a significant aspect when hiring a new employee, more so for when hiring an executive director.
As you go through the candidates, seek potential leaders with a growth mindset and individuals with career development plans for the employees. Look for those who firmly believe in what the company stands for and have the drive to create a positive change in the organization.
With the way technology has advanced, it would be greatly favorable for any organization to have a CEO that is aware of the opportunities presented by technology. To assess this, it would be good to ask:
- How would you bring greater innovation to the company?
- What metrics would you put in place to manage the company’s technology investments and operations?
- Name an organization that has evolved their business model to adopt new technology. Do you think the shift was effective?
You should consider it a red flag when a candidate doesn’t acknowledge the role and value of technology in our society today. In this fast-paced and constantly changing digital world, you need someone who learns quickly, is highly adaptable, and is receptive to change. Awareness with the latest technological trends, along with an understanding of where these innovations can be applied to better the company, is what can set a candidate apart from the others.
Corporate Governance and Compliance
With the company facing several regulatory concerns, legal obligations, and economic fluctuations, an extensive knowledge and experience with corporate governance should be expected of the new executive director. Wrap-up your interview by making sure that the potential executive director will be able to handle challenges related to governance and compliance by going through the following director interview questions.
- How would you ensure transparency with the board of directors and stockholders regarding liabilities and risks?
- If elected executive director, what would you revise in the organization’s current key corporate processes (budgeting, planning, decision-making, risk mitigation, etc.)?
- How would you create and maintain a high-performance culture and a performance ethic in the organization?
Corporate governance can no longer be separated from one’s role as an executive director. You need someone who promotes transparency and accountability, and carefully aligns the company’s strategies and risk management activities with its overall goals. Look for someone who is capable of involving people from different roles to work together in developing the company’s framework and controls for risk tolerance and risk mitigation. This is the level of skill and expertise that one should expect from a potential executive director, while also making sure that the candidate is suited to represent the organization well to your board, management, staff, and other important stakeholders.
The course of finding a new executive director affects the present operations and future direction of the company. In this is a long and crucial process, several steps are dedicated to check and analyze the candidates’ background and relevant experience. But it is in the interview phase, that boards can get a good grasp of the potential executive director’s intangible qualities such as drive, passion, and cultural fit.
Keep these director interview questions in mind when you begin the search for your company’s next executive director and you’ll be well on your way to finding a well-rounded and competent executive director.
Want to know how to evaluate your candidate in terms of experience, motivation, strategy, and communication skills? Find out by reading the part 1 of this article series: 9 Essential Director Interview Questions: Secrets to Successful Hiring (Part 1).