Curly questions you may face at board interview

Curly questions were up for discussion at Brisbane WOBMeet when WOB members and guests practised their board interview skills with WOB’s Queensland rep Anna Hebron.

At the evening networking event Anna Hebron (left) - specialist consultant in governance and human resources and a trusted advisor and mentor - asked participants: Are you prepared for a curly question at a board interview? Are you often lost for words when a question comes out of the blue at you in an interview?

Getting a board role is a competitive market, with more than 200 applications for some roles.

Anna got people into small groups to answer and discuss questions you may face at interview, such as:

  • What do you bring to the board table that is different from what we have?
  • What committees are you a good fit for?
  • Who are you?
  • What value do you bring to our board?
  • Are you of good character? 
  • What kind of director are you?
  • How would you deal with a difficult board member?
  • Why should I pick you?
  • What is the most difficult board problem you have dealt with?

The WOBMeet event was held at Grape Therapy in Brisbane on Wednesday 1 June, 5.30-7.30pm. For more about WOBMeet and WOBChat networking events click HERE.
The WOBMeet events are listed on our EVENTS page.

More tips from Anna Hebron to getting your first board role

1. Look at your network

Put it out there and let your network know that you are looking to develop your board career. If people are aware of your goals, they are more likely to assist and consider or recommend you for roles.

2. Follow your passion

A starting point is to follow your passion. For example, if it’s working with kids and horses, then to talk to the chair or CEO of a pony club or like organisation. Make proactive contact with the CEO or Chair of organisations that interest you. They may not have a position available now, but if you’re on their radar you may be considered in future. Let them know why you want a role and what you can bring to a position. Be clear about what you are interested in.

3. Articulate your value

Learn how to articulate your value proposition and what you can bring to a board. Be ready to have a conversation when needed. It may not materialize straight away, but people will remember your conversation and come back to you when a role becomes available.

4. Start with a Committee

A school committee or sporting club can be a great place to start so you can dip your toe in the water.

5. It’s all about timing

I’ve seen colleagues do courses and become board ready and then get frustrated because nothing has happened. But it’s about connecting with people, so you are in known when there is a need.

6. Have patience

It’s not an overnight pathway. Apply for roles, ring up about roles, talk to people to understand if you can add value. Practice articulating your value proposition. It will come together if you are consistent.

7. Understand the time commitment

Knowing how much time will be required is critical for any role you are looking at. There are no hard and fast rules as it will depend on the role but to be successful you need to prepare for meetings properly. If you don’t have the time then don’t do it.

Anna says her Appeals Tribunal can have cases with 600+ pages and be very time consuming, whereas the time needed for Inala Primary Care is a few hours per meeting.  Ask questions around expectations on time, how long it takes to go through the papers and how long the meetings take.

8. Get targeted

Pick your events, make them targeted and get people talking. A great conversation starter is asking someone about their business’ challenges and their board and committee structure.

9. Start NOW

People often say they are still in their executive career so won’t start it yet. Anna says get out there and make a start, so you can get into practice. It’s a long process, so the sooner you start the sooner you will see results.

Want more tips from Anna? Read HERE.

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