Board appointments are a big undertaking for any business. Finding the right non-executive director for your business is one of the most complex and challenging executive search projects you will likely undertake. Therefore, it is essential that you prepare as thoroughly as you can to ensure you make the right board appointments.

The 7 Ps

The military have a rule of 7 Ps that helps them ensure that they execute missions with supreme accuracy. When making board appointments you need to do the same.
For those who don’t know the 7 Ps are:
“Prior planning and preparation, prevents, piss poor performance.”

10 Steps to making the right board appointments.

By following the next 10 steps you will be on your way to delivering your executive search process for a new non-executive director with military precision.


For a search to be successful, it is essential that you have a thorough understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the position. This typically goes beyond a standard job and person specification. You need to define your Vision, Mission, Values and Culture. You should understand what specific key deliverables will be required of the role holder, what time scales they will need to deliver within and you should be able to clearly communicate what success will look like.


Now that you know what it is you want, you need to write a candidate briefing pack which describes in detail the role, responsibilities, goals and key challenges of the position.
It will also summarise experience, qualifications and competencies required for success including specific areas such as investment knowledge and strong stakeholder management skills.
This document will then act as a blueprint for the executive search process going forward.


Every board appointment is different and you therefore need to conduct fresh, original, and specifically targeted research. This means that you target individuals who are suited to your role and have the competencies required to succeed in it. Your research identifies those hard to find individuals and opens a dialogue with the specific aim of gaining their interest.


With research and initial intelligence gathering complete, you should now have a longlist of potential candidates. You should now know the size of the market, compensation data of potential candidates and who would be interested in being considered for your role. The purpose of the longlist exercise is to understand the potential candidates and decide which individuals should enter the assessment process.


A rigorous interview and assessment process with each longlisted candidate is essential to ensuing you make the right board appointment. This assessment should be rated against the position specification and all candidates should be put through a bespoke personality questionnaire. This allows for in-depth questioning at interview and allows you to break through the veneer of the professional interviewer who has mastered the art of “giving the right answer” rather than the correct answer.


With first round assessment complete, you need to gather all key stakeholders involved and discuss the longlisted candidates. Go through each individual and look at their strengths, weaknesses and fit to the role and allocate each a score based on your initial briefing pack. Having done this, you will see a number of candidates rise to the top of the pile and these individuals should be brought back for further interview discussions.


The shortlist interviews should be a mixture of both competency and biographical techniques. It is also vitally important that as the interviews progress that you socialise potential board appointments with key stakeholders.


Before proceeding to a formal offer you want to seek out references on potential board appointments. Aim to do a 360-degree reference check so speak with peers, superiors and subordinates. This will give you a clear understanding of how they operate with people at all levels and will be a good indicator of how they will fit into your culture. With board appointments unless there is a conflict of interest then you can and should typically do this before negotiating an offer.


With all the hard work done make sure you handle the negotiations properly. This means plays it straight, no low ball offers, no changing the terms from the verbal to the written offer and make sure you issue the paperwork in a timely manner. You’ve put a lot of effort into ensuring you make the right board appointment, don’t now make an elementary error and lose the person you want.


Having spent vital time and resources attracting the right candidate it is essential to the success of your business that they are focussed and integrated into your organisation. Ensure you have a thorough on boarding process in place, set up meetings with key stakeholders both internally and externally and ensure any training needs which have been identified are address immediately.


This approach takes time. It’s not easy. Board appointments never are but as they say the devil is in the detail. We believe it is worth investing the time and effort required to ensure you get the required return on investment you are looking for.

To discuss how Moorlands Human Capital can help you with board appointments then please call us on 0207 887 4534.