Sometimes when it is too easy to find board members for your board, you may discover that at least one of those people is using your board membership as a resume builder. Over the years I have come across a few resume builders when putting together NGO boards. These personality types can be a detriment to your board, as they can prevent the board from running effectively.
However, there are actions that you can take to weed out people who are resume builders before they get on your board of directors. These are the actions you can take:
- Ask the existing board to suggest potential board members – It helps if new board members are already known to an existing board member, because then they can usually attest to the person’s commitment and reliability.
- Request a resume and references – Inform potential board candidates that you screen all potential board members and then make sure you do. It is best if you ask for at least one person who has worked with them on a board in the past, if they have worked on boards before. Past behaviour is the best gauge for how a person will perform in the future.
- Develop a set of questions – The Executive Director and Nominating committee should develop two sets of questions. One set to ask of the potential board members references and the other to ask the nominee. Make sure you ask questions about reliability, attendance, ability to work collaboratively, and their preparedness for meetings.
- Interview the candidate – The Nominating committee for the board and the Executive Director should interview potential board members to be certain that they are on the same page with the current board. That is not to say that a new board member shouldn’t have innovative ideas, but rather that they understand and follow the processes already in place for implementing their ideas.
Question of the Day: What other ways can you suggest to weed out resume builders in potential board candidates?
For more resources, see our Library topic Nonprofit Capacity Building.
By Ingrid Zacharias
Envisioning the Future International