Editor’s Note: Each week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and the former COO of eBay, will offer candid, practical, and sometimes surprising advice to entrepreneurs and founders. To submit a question, write to Webb at email@example.com.
Q. I have a key hire to make and would like to have the board involved to help me interview and make the right selection. What’s the right way to go about it?
—CEO of a publicly traded technology company
It’s a great idea to include the board in this strategic decision. Now, let’s make sure that you are doing it right. If you are asking someone to help you in a key hire, you want to make sure that you let them know their opinions are heard and considered.
- Set this up right. Explain the role you’d like the board members to serve, tell them the number of candidates being considered, and who is in the interview queue. Share the qualifications you are looking for.
- Prepare the board members with the context and materials they need. Spell out how the interview process will work and explain what will be most helpful. Give them guidance on what you’d like them to probe for.
- Make sure the board has enough time to do their work. Be considerate in asking for the board’s help. The members likely all have busy schedules, but they also will realize the urgency in getting the interviews done. Ask for blocks of time that could work for them and try hard to make it work for all. (This can be tricky to get right.)
- Follow up after each interview to get the board members’ thoughts. This can be simple, with an email or a text. Ask them their number-one choice and why. Ask them if they could support each candidate—if so, why; if not, why not.
- In addition to consulting with board members individually, once all of the interviews are complete, have a meeting with everyone. Here, you can discuss and hear the different points of view.
- Follow through with your thoughts. Don’t surprise board members with your decision. Never just reach out asking for their approval on your hire! Explain who you are going to hire and share how you made the selection.
- Show appreciation for their time and insights. It’s always important to treat everyone with dignity and respect.
Of course, this is the right way treat anyone who helps you, but especially your board. Every time you ask your board to get involved in a company process, you have a chance to impress them, or not impress them. Make the most of this chance for everyone.