[Editor’s note: the following excerpt appears in the Directors & Boards Fourth Quarter 2015 issue].
1. Assure board candidates understand, believe, in and support the CEO’s vision and corporate culture. Alignment is as essential in the boardroom as it is on the shop floor.
2. Confirm that board candidates have a solid understanding of your company and its place in your industry. Ignorance is disruptive to strategy and control.
3. Discover what major contributions they made on other boards or as executive. Track records count for all employees, but more so at the top.
4. Check their references via other board members. Independent vetting is valuable, and established, trusted board members have good insights and connections.
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5. Confirm they have a clear idea of how they will contribute to the board of directors. Board members do not get on-the-job training – they need to explain why and how they can add value.
6. Make them buy shares in your company on the market. Their financial rewards should largely be determined by their contributions to profitability.
7. Ditch candidates who ask about compensation, and keep compensation frugal to filter out easy paycheck seekers.
8. Keep the number of board members small so only earnest candidates can fight their way in. This helps keep activists out as well.