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Quiz: Recruitment and induction: how does your board score?

Take our quiz to assess your board's current approach to recruitment and induction. Find out where and how you can improve, fast.


The chair of your board has lunch with a local business identity who mentions her interest in joining the board. Your chair consults the other board members. They are most likely to respond by:

  1. Immediately saying yes. The prospect has a high profile and will be a real asset to your board. (1 point)
  2. Inviting the prospect to attend an interview to discuss your organisation's mission and what she could bring to the board. (3 points)
  3. Inviting the prospect to attend a board meeting as an observer for the time being. (2 points)
  4. Not applicable. The chair tells the prospect that there are no vacancies on the board at the moment and the discussion goes no further. (1 point)

When determining what skills and attributes you need in a new board member, you consider:

  1. How well they'll fit in with the rest of us. (1 point)
  2. The gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and so on of the current board; we aim for diversity. (2 points)
  3. Skills and experience in light of our mission - we need someone with a proven track record. (2 points)
  4. All the above. (3 points)

When your board needs to recruit new board members, you typically:

  1. Ask around among the wider membership until somebody sticks their hand up. (1 point)
  2. Advertise locally. If we get more than one applicant, we conduct interviews. (2 points)
  3. Determine the attributes and skills we need, advertise widely, and keep advertising and interviewing until we find the right candidate to help us fulfil our mission. (3 points)
  4. Not applicable. As a board we've been together for years and members are very loyal. We don't need new members at the moment. (1 point)

Your interview process for prospective new board members typically consists of:

  1. A phone call between the candidate and the chair. (1 point)
  2. An informal chat between the candidate and existing board members over coffee. (2 points)
  3. A formal information exchange in which you assess each candidate's responses to carefully structured questions about your mission, activities, funding, culture and so on. (3 points)
  4. We've never had the luxury of choosing between multiple candidates. We just need someone who's willing to do the job. (1 point)

Your induction process for new board members typically consists of:

  1. Chatting informally and of course getting them along to meetings - they soon pick up on how we operate. (1 point)
  2. A welcome email from the chair, with the policies and procedures manual attached. (2 points)
  3. A combination of written documentation (constitution, current strategic plan, role description, contact list etc), meetings, briefings and a tour of the premises. (3 points)
  4. A pub lunch. (1 point)

Your score

0-7 As a board, you value an informal way of doing things that's based on goodwill, trust and getting along. Those are good values to have - but on their own they're not enough. You're taking a lot of risks and you're missing out on the opportunity to get more done towards your mission, more efficiently, by being more strategic about your recruitment and induction. Make sure every one of your board members gets the latest issue of Board Builder (members only), and resolve to tackle recruitment and induction differently - starting now, before a vacancy comes up.

8-10 As a board, you value a common-sense approach. Most of your policies and procedures in relation to recruitment and induction are recorded somewhere, but really, who needs that kind of rigidity? Your relatively informal culture has served your organisation fairly well. The question is: how much more could you achieve if you took a more strategic approach? Start with "Board composition strategy" and "Making a selection" from the latest issue of Board Builder (members only).

11-15 When it comes to board recruitment and induction, you could write the textbook. Your strategic, methodical approach to the composition of your board has rewarded you with a high-functioning team that is mindful of risks and works through them to get things done. Don't forget to take time out from the hard graft occasionally to celebrate your achievements, and see "Pat's tips" from the latest issue of Board Builder (members only) for more on keeping energy levels high.

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