3-Step Guide to Recruiting an Independent Board Director - Step Three

Congratulations, you’ve found a great fit for your independent director role, now let's onboard!

3-Step Guide to Recruiting an Independent Board Director  -  Step Three
This is the third article in our series of the 3, outlining the steps to recruiting an independent board director. 

Other articles include: 

Step 1: Leading a Skills Matrix and Gap Assessment


Step 2: Optimizing the Search Process

A successful independent director brings focus, clear perspective and the ability to lead objective board discussions, and, if necessary, drive better decision­- making and results. A trusted independent director can make the difference in a board — and by extension — a company. Once hired, an independent director brings the opportunity to leverage someone with experience, knowledge, contacts — someone who’s been there, done that — to your company’s advantage.

Step Three: How to Successfully Close Out the Process, Including Compensation and Onboarding

First, prior to our guidance on how to close the candidate you’ve chosen to assume your Independent Director role, you should also always close the loop with the candidates that were not selected. Even if you decide not to move forward, that connection may yield beneficial to you or the organization at a point in the future and this is always good practice in relationship building

And now - congratulations, you’ve found a great fit for your independent director role. You’ve looked outside your network for a diverse and board-ready candidate and you’ve assessed all candidates using both our Board Skills Matrix Template, as well as the How to Create a Board Position, bravo. 

The first step into successfully closing out the hiring process is to now make a compelling offer. Understand benchmarks - for public companies versus varying stages of private - and the mix between cash and equity.

Beyond the offer, also facilitate a background check, backchannel references, and any other due diligence that will help establish trust. Your independent is a representative of your organization, and especially if you anticipate they’ll be on your board if you plan to IPO; public company governance is another level of diligence.

Set up your newest board member for success with an onboarding process - the more context they are provided, the more valuable they’ll be to you and the board even on Day 1.

  • Provide executive deck materials and any high-level financials
  • Provide access to the product and roadmap so they understand your priorities
  • Provide historical meeting minutes
  • Provide a “cheat sheet” of acronyms that you use internally so that your director understands the lingo [a pro tip fromSylvie Veilleux, Former CIO of Dropbox and Board Director for Softchoice, QScale, Prezi Inc., H1, Solvo, and Cinchy]
  • Connect them with your CFO and/or CHRO for additional questions they may have about the business
  • Pair them with a current director to help get them up to speed on the board’s dynamics, key company issues and historical context
  • Set up individual meetings with other board members
  • Establish an ongoing relationship as the CEO / Board Chair with your independent (ex. weekly or monthly syncs)
  • Provide pre-reading materials prior to meetings, especially their first, so they are prepared on Day 1
  • Other: offering to have them go through an employee onboarding experience to understand that perspective

Placing an independent director is a mutually rewarding experience – knowing the impact their perspective can have on the long-term health of your organization and your organization on their career growth. We hope your new director is set up to have an impact on Day 1 and for the foreseeable future.

Navigating the search process for finding a new board member is a time consuming process if you go it alone. Check out theBoardlist’s search platform today to discover over 22,000+ diverse candidates.


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