You’ve been shortlisted for an interview for a role as an Independent Non-Executive Director (INED), so how do you get prepared?
Make no mistake, it’s a challenging and time-consuming task to present yourself as the right level of ‘fit’ with your prospective company’s board. However, with the right preparation, you’ll be equipped to articulate your skill set and your personality.
With first-hand insight from our INED network, Broadgate has built a list of points to help you ‘conquer’ the INED interview and begin - or continue - a rewarding phase of your career.
Due Diligence and Research
It’s crucial to link your own career experience, expertise, and skills to the specific role that you’re applying for. To help you do this, it’s important to carry out your due diligence and conduct research on the company and its board members.
Read the company’s annual report and explore their LinkedIn posts, Google search returns, and social media accounts (but avoid any personal accounts).
Familiarise yourself with the company’s mission and vision – only once you understand the mission and vision can you contribute to their success. It’s worth reading the company’s impact report (if they publish one) as this can help you get a better grasp on their initiatives and goals around ESG (environment, social, and governance) concerns.
Try to better understand the company’s core values and how they align with your own, and then think of examples of how you have lived or worked to those values (and the diversity of thought you might bring to the board)
Make sure you know the company’s business model and strategy, as well as its key people and numbers (customers; turnover; etc.).
To the extent any non-disclosure agreement allows you to, speak to your network (and, if relevant, your recruiters) for more information about the company.
Are there any conflicts of interest that will need to be explored during the interview? This point must be managed particularly carefully.
Research your interviewers. If you’re able, try and understand the role that each interviewer will play during the process; your recruiter is likely to have some insight. If it’s a panel interview, it’s worth knowing who’s chairing it.
Consider how you’ll talk about your availability and what’s often referred to as your ‘bandwidth’ to perform the role. This is all the more important if the company is regulated (by the PRA in the UK or the ECB / CBI in Ireland for example).
Your approach should convey your understanding of what the position requires of you, so ensure any other commitments you have won’t hinder your performance in the new role (or give the impression that they might).
You’ll need to understand the key director’s duties so that they do not come as a surprise to you if mentioned during the interview. For example, in the UK, section 172, Companies Act 2006; and in Ireland, section 228, Companies Act 2014. If you are already familiar with them, refamiliarise yourself, in case they are raised.
Breaking the Ice
Whether your interview is online or not, small talk can be valuable when it’s done well. It doesn’t need to be trivial either. For example, industry-relevant news that you’ve discovered from your research might strike a chord with your interviewers.
In any case, keeping your finger on the pulse of the latest news can better position you as well-informed.
Be yourself. If you are not yourself in an interview, then the ‘fit’ may be wrong.
Use your judgment about the number of preparatory questions you ask before the interview. Too many will be worse than too few because you may set an early impression of having the wrong cognitive style for an INED. Non-executives should seldom have to get into the details compared to executives.
It’s worth practising your answers to questions you expect at the interview, so that don’t go over two minutes for each by going into too much detail.
As you draw towards the end of an interview answer, ask a question of the questioner (or the panel) that demonstrates your research, knowledge, and understanding of the company, its board directors, its business model, and its macro-economic drivers.
Don’t forget, you’re interviewing the company as much as they’re interviewing you. The ‘fit’, needs to work for you as much as for them – it's not unusual for an INED role to last nine years.
Support from Broadgate
These are just some examples of advice Broadgate can share with you. If you want to discuss any of these points in more detail, the consultants at Broadgate are more than happy to chat. We’re here to match accomplished candidates with companies they can thrive in and make real contributions to. We have the means to support you at every stage of the application and interview process.