Assessing First-Time Director Candidates
A recent publication by Spencer Stuart offers advice to boards seeking to expand their pool of director candidates and identify potential new, first-time directors and assess their suitability for the role.
Looking beyond a candidate’s curriculum vitae (CV) and references, the authors argue that “it is essential to delve into a candidate’s character and temperament,” and offer the following questions for boards to consider:
- Interpersonal skills — Has the person demonstrated an ability to build relationships with all kinds of people? To influence and to gain trust and support from others? Can the candidate use diplomacy and tact? Listen and adjust appropriately to others’ input?
- Intellectual approach — Can the candidate handle complexity, or simplify issues to the essence to make sound, logical decisions? What is their comfort level with ambiguity? Does he or she have the ability to look ahead? To transfer knowledge and experience to different environments?
- Integrity — Will the candidate adhere to an appropriate and effective set of core values and live by them? Is she or he honest and truthful? Is the person authentic, self-aware and confident enough to “be oneself?”
- Independent mindedness — Can the candidate set out and defend a position, even when this means going it alone? What about the ability to maintain positive relationships amid conflicts about ideas?
- Inclination to engage — Is the candidate motivated to invest time and effort in learning about the organization and staying up to date with it? Is she or he diligent enough to follow through with commitments?