When you’re looking to recruit a new board director, how do you know who is the perfect fit? The truth is that bringing on a new board director can be powerful and transformative because they will reshape the composition of the board, bring new skills to the boardroom, and has the potential to contribute diverse insights that pull the organization’s future forward.

Instead of simply leaving a new board placement up to chance, boards can use one surefire way to ensure they land on their perfect-fit placement: by using external board evaluations by board recruitment firms to support their search. 

Ultimately, board evaluations give valuable insights and can provide useful perspectives that can best inform their future board director selection. These evaluations can contribute to stronger boards today that are future-proof and resistant to risk.

Here’s everything you need to know about external evaluations and how they support recruitment.

How Do You Recruit a Board of Directors?

In order to understand how an external board evaluation can support recruitment, we have to start with the basics. How do you recruit for a board of directors, to begin with? 

An effective and rigorous board of directors recruitment process should reveal a perfect-match candidate who is immensely additive. For this to happen, board of directors recruitment firms starts by analyzing and deeply understanding a board’s current composition, diving into its skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Then, they tap into their deep, rich talent pipelines across all industries, backgrounds, and geographies to identify candidates who are not only a one-to-one match but who will bring the necessary skills and diverse perspectives. 

Recruiting for a board of directors can be complex because placements are not always straightforward. In today’s boardroom, board directors need not only C-suite experience or certain academic credentials. They must be excellent communicators, have diverse perspectives representing the overall business and customers, and be professionally and culturally additive to the board. 

Finding board director candidates that fit these needs is not always simple. That’s why many boards turn to board recruitment firms to conduct a best-in-class executive search process to find new members. 

What Is an External Board Evaluation and Why Does It Matter?

While boards need to understand their current composition and strengths and weaknesses, it’s not always possible for them to self-assess effectively. Instead, boards can get fresh insights, along with research and evidence-based results, with the help of an external board evaluation. 

External board evaluations use data-driven processes for diving deep into each board member. During the evaluation process, board of directors recruitment firms create individualized reports and feedback sessions for board members, create research-backed group working sessions, and analyze and present results. 

External board evaluations can provide more in-depth insights into what’s going on. They can give boards incredibly valuable data, which they can use to ultimately maximize board effectiveness. External board evaluations are growing in popularity and are currently used by about 25% of Fortune 100 companies. 

Who Conducts a Board Evaluation?

Third-party board evaluation partners or a board search firm typically conduct evaluations. These partners use evidence-based, data-driven evaluations for diving deep into each board member’s contributions and impact, as well as the overall efficacy and performance of the board.

Board Assessment Benefits for Board of Directors Recruitment

When boards are looking to recruit new directors, an excellent place to start is with an assessment. While it might not seem completely intuitive at first, think about it this way: before bringing on a new board director, it’s critical that the board fully understands where it is today. 

Each board director brings strengths, experiences, and diverse perspectives to the table. In order to maximize a board’s overall effectiveness, its composition has to be thoughtful, strategic, and intentional. 

New board directors must fill current skill gaps, bring fresh perspectives to the organization, and represent diverse backgrounds. To make that sort of board director placement, boards need to start with an assessment to understand where they land among others in their field. They need to know what sets them apart (or what doesn’t).

With that in mind, here are three main benefits of using board assessments during recruitment.

Overhaul Board Composition

When bringing on a new board director, boards have a valuable opportunity to overhaul their composition. They can choose a board director who strengthens a weakness, brings a desired perspective to the boardroom, and adds to the board in a way that helps it best achieve its future goals. But in order to overhaul board composition, boards need to understand the full picture of their current makeup.

Find Board Members Based on Skills and Perspectives

Today’s boards are far different from the boards of years past, and while educational and professional qualifications matter, they’re not the only deciding factors in the success of a board director. Different skills and perspectives are vital, and through assessments, boards can uncover what skills and perspectives they’re lacking and which ones they’re looking for in their newest board director.

Future-Proof the Board

Boards don’t only need to succeed today: they need to be prepared for things like uncertain economic conditions (including a potential incoming recession), address and contribute to strategic growth, integrate new digital tools, and be resistant to risk and volatility. When boards undergo a board assessment before recruitment, they can best bring on board directors who play a beneficial role in the future of the board.

Understanding the Process of Independent External Board Reviews

Independent external board reviews typically combine in-depth individualized interviews with cutting-edge technology. The external board review process might start with a kickoff meeting before your review facilitator begins conducting interviews. Many board review facilitators use digital platforms and other tools to evaluate board members further.

After these interviews and evaluations are complete, your external board review partner will create reports and might hold working sessions with leaders. Then, individual board members can expect to participate in confidential feedback sessions before the final results are presented and discussed. At this point, key findings are shared, and your external board review partner will typically propose an action plan.

Better Understanding N2Growth Board Services

At N2Growth, we know what it takes for boards to excel because we’re a best-in-class retained executive search firm that has worked successfully to handle highly confidential and complex board, CEO, and C-Suite retained search assignments. But when it comes to boards, we don’t only execute highly specialized executive searches. 

We also offer solutions such as:

  • Director/board assessment and evaluation
  • Director selection and board composition
  • Director succession and assimilation
  • Board advisory, consulting, and development

We also serve clients in a wide variety of industries, including:

  • Technology, media, and telecommunications
  • Consumer
  • Healthcare and life sciences
  • Education, government, and nonprofits
  • Industrials
  • Financial services
  • Business and professional services
  • Agriculture, energy, and natural resources
  • Private equity and principal investors

CEO Search

When identifying a new CEO, boards and organizations can’t settle for anyone less than their perfect-fit leader. We understand that you’re looking to solve a business problem with a great CEO hire, and we’re able to find one-to-one matching candidates with a level of speed and precision that no other retained search firm can match.

CEO Succession

Executive leadership is far too crucial to leave unplanned or to neglect until there’s a dire need to fill a position. That’s why N2Growth is proud to support organizations as they plan CEO succession. 

The average tenure of Fortune 500 CEOs is less than five years, and because of that, a company’s board must always be thinking of succession. And while these departures might not be expected, they should never be unplanned. 

Find Your Fit

New board directors have the power to reshape a board completely and can greatly influence board effectiveness. To maximize board placements and bring on board directors who are genuinely additive, boards need first to conduct robust and aggressive board evaluations. When board of directors recruitment firms lead external board evaluations, they can yield powerful insights, fresh perspectives, and useful data, which can inform future recruitment. 

See how partnering with N2Growth for external board evaluation can support a healthy and sustainable board for your organization.