17 Board Member Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a board member, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Serving on a nonprofit board is a great way to give back to your community and help make a difference in the lives of others. But before you can start serving, you need to be appointed or elected to a board. And one of the key steps in being appointed or elected is acing the board interview.

But what should you expect during a board interview? What questions will you be asked? And what are the best ways to answer them?

In this guide, we’ll answer all those questions and more. You’ll learn what board members are looking for in candidates, the types of questions you’ll likely be asked, and how to answer them effectively. We’ll also provide tips on how to prepare for your interview, so you can feel confident and ready to take on the role of board member.

Are you comfortable with attending board meetings remotely if necessary?

If a board member is unable to attend a meeting in person, they may be able to participate via video conferencing. This question helps the interviewer determine if you have experience with this type of technology and how comfortable you are using it. If you do not have any remote meeting experience, consider asking about what kind of equipment will be available at the organization and researching how to use it before your interview.

Example: “I am very comfortable participating in meetings remotely. In my previous role as an executive director, I had to conduct many meetings over the phone or through video conferencing software because of scheduling conflicts. I found that these types of meetings were just as productive as in-person ones, although there was less room for discussion and debate.”

What are some of the skills you have that will help you be a successful board member?

This question is your opportunity to show the board that you have the skills and experience necessary for this role. You can list a few of your most important skills, such as communication, organization or leadership.

Example: “I believe my ability to communicate clearly with others will be helpful in this position. I am also highly organized and detail-oriented, which means I would be able to keep track of all the information we need to discuss at meetings. Finally, I think my leadership skills are an asset because they allow me to take charge when needed.”

How do you stay up to date with current trends in your industry?

As a board member, you’ll need to be aware of current trends in your industry. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the ability to research and learn on your own. Use your answer to show that you are willing to take initiative when it comes to learning new things. Explain how you plan to use these skills if you’re hired.

Example: “I am always looking for ways to improve my knowledge of the industry. I subscribe to several newsletters and blogs that provide valuable information about the latest news. I also attend conferences and seminars to hear from experts in the field. I find that by doing these things regularly, I can stay informed without having to spend too much time searching for resources.”

What is your greatest accomplishment so far?

This question is a great way to learn more about the candidate’s background and what they’ve accomplished in their career. It can also help you determine if this person has any experience that would be beneficial for your organization. When answering, it can be helpful to choose an accomplishment that relates to the position you’re applying for or one that shows how passionate you are about the nonprofit industry.

Example: “My greatest accomplishment so far was when I started my own non-profit organization. We were able to raise enough money to build a new playground at our local elementary school. This project took us over a year to complete, but seeing all of the children enjoying the new equipment made it all worth it.”

Provide an example of a time when you led a group project and how you ensured that it was successful.

A board of directors is a group project, so this question can help the interviewer determine how you will lead your fellow board members. Use examples from previous work or school projects to show that you are organized and able to collaborate with others.

Example: “In my last position as an accountant, I was responsible for leading a team of five other accountants who were all working on different aspects of the company’s finances. We met once a week to discuss our progress and any issues we encountered. To ensure that everyone knew what their responsibilities were, I created a spreadsheet where each employee could enter their weekly goals and update it when they completed them. This helped me keep track of everyone’s progress and ensured that no one fell behind.”

If we were to look at your resume right now, what position would be the most surprising on it?

This question is a great way to see how honest you are and whether or not you have any experience that would be helpful for the board. It also shows your willingness to take on new challenges, which can be important in this role. When answering this question, it’s best to pick something that isn’t too far from what you’re applying for now.

Example: “The most surprising position on my resume would probably be working as an assistant at a law firm. I’ve always been interested in law but never thought I’d get into it because of my lack of education. However, when I was looking for a job after college, I applied there and got hired. While I don’t think I’ll ever go back to being a lawyer, it taught me a lot about organization and time management.”

What would you do if you disagreed with the majority of the board on a particular issue?

This question can help interviewers understand how you would handle conflict and disagreement in the workplace. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific example of when you disagreed with your colleagues or supervisors at work and how you handled that situation.

Example: “In my current position as an accountant, I often disagree with my supervisor on certain financial matters. However, we always have open discussions about our disagreements and try to find solutions together. We both respect each other’s opinions and are willing to compromise if needed. In the end, we usually come up with a solution that works for everyone.”

How well do you handle stress?

Board members often have to make important decisions that affect the entire organization. Employers ask this question to see if you can handle stress and still perform your duties effectively. In your answer, explain how you manage stress in your life. Share a specific example of a time when you had to make an important decision under pressure. Explain what steps you took to prepare yourself for the situation and how it helped you succeed.

Example: “I am someone who thrives on challenge. I find that stressful situations help me grow as a person and learn new skills. When I was a board member at my last position, we were tasked with finding a new CEO after our current one resigned unexpectedly. We had less than two weeks to find a suitable replacement or else the company would be forced to close its doors.

I knew that I could not do this alone, so I called a meeting with all of the other board members. Together, we discussed our options and decided to hire a search firm to assist us. This allowed us to focus on our regular responsibilities while they searched for qualified candidates. After interviewing several people, we found a great candidate who accepted the job. The company stayed open and continued to thrive.”

Do you consider yourself an independent thinker?

Independent thinking is an important skill for board members. They need to be able to make decisions that are in the best interest of their organization, even if they differ from those made by other board members or company executives. Your answer should show that you can think independently and explain why this skill is beneficial.

Example: “I do consider myself an independent thinker. I have always been someone who asks questions and challenges assumptions. In my previous role as a marketing manager, I noticed that our sales team was making assumptions about what customers wanted based on feedback from focus groups. I decided to conduct my own research into customer preferences and found that many of the assumptions were incorrect. This led to us changing our marketing strategy, which resulted in increased sales.”

When was the last time you took on a new challenge and how did it go?

This question can help the board members get to know you better and understand what types of challenges you’re willing to take on. When answering this question, it can be helpful to talk about a time when you took on a challenge that was new to you but you were able to learn from it and succeed.

Example: “The last time I took on a new challenge was when I became a board member for my current organization. Before becoming a board member, I had never been involved in nonprofit work before, so it was definitely a new experience for me. However, I learned a lot from the other board members and am now confident in my ability to serve as a board member.”

We want to improve our outreach efforts. Give me an example from your own life where you increased outreach efforts and how they were successful.

Board members often have to make decisions about how to improve outreach efforts. This question is a way for the interviewer to understand your experience with outreach and how you can apply it to their organization.

Example: “I was on an advisory board at my alma mater, where we were tasked with increasing alumni donations. We decided that our best option would be to increase awareness of our school’s programs. I volunteered to lead a marketing campaign that included social media ads, email campaigns and even billboards. The campaign increased alumni donations by 10% in just one year.”

Describe your ideal work environment.

This question can help the board of directors understand how you will fit into their organization. Your answer should show that you are a team player who is willing to work hard and contribute your ideas.

Example: “I thrive in an environment where I am constantly learning new things, so I would be excited to join this organization because it seems like there is always something new going on. I also love working with people, so I think I would enjoy being part of a large group of professionals who all have different skills and experiences. Finally, I prefer to work in a place where everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions.”

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

This question is a great way for the board to learn more about your qualifications and why you are the best person for this role. When answering, it can be helpful to list out your most relevant skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate.

Example: “I am passionate about education and believe in the importance of providing students with the tools they need to succeed. I have worked as a teacher for five years now, and my experience has taught me how important it is to provide support to teachers so they can give their students the attention they need. I would love to use my knowledge of teaching to help improve the school’s curriculum.”

Which industries do you have the most experience in?

This question is a great way for the board to learn more about your background and how it relates to their organization. It’s important that you are passionate about the industry in which you work, so be sure to highlight any experience you have with the company’s industry or field.

Example: “I’ve worked in the financial services industry for over 10 years now, but I also have some experience working in the healthcare sector. My first job out of college was at a bank, where I learned all aspects of customer service and financial management. After five years there, I moved into a role as an accountant at a hospital, where I gained valuable insight into the world of healthcare finance.”

What do you think is the most important quality for a board member to have?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand what qualities are important to you. It also helps them determine if your values align with those of the organization. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think about which qualities you feel have helped you succeed in previous roles.

Example: “I believe that the most important quality for a board member to have is integrity. A board member needs to be someone who can make decisions based on what’s best for the organization without worrying about how it will affect their reputation or career. They need to be honest and trustworthy so that they can inspire others to do the same.”

How often do you think the board should meet?

This question can help the interviewer understand your expectations for board meetings. It’s important to be prepared with a thoughtful answer that shows you’ve done research on how often other boards meet and why you think this is an appropriate amount of time.

Example: “I believe it’s important for the board to meet at least once per month, but I also know some organizations only meet quarterly or even annually. In my last position as treasurer, we met twice each month, which was helpful because it gave us plenty of time to discuss our budget and make changes if necessary. We were able to get through the entire budget process in just two months, which helped keep the organization running smoothly.”

There is a disagreement between two board members. How do you handle it?

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle conflict and disagreements. It also helps them determine whether you are able to work with others, which is an important skill for a board member. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe the steps you would take to resolve the disagreement.

Example: “I believe that when two people disagree, there’s usually something they agree on. I would first ask each person what they do agree on. Then, I would try to find common ground between their opinions. If we still couldn’t come to a resolution, I would encourage both parties to write down their thoughts in more detail so we could revisit the issue at a later date.”


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