Possible Non-Executive Interview Questions

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Knowing the interview questions before you walk into the room for your board interview, can give you a definite advantage over other candidates.

Some of the following questions may be asked of you in a non-executive director interview.

General Opening Questions

  • Can you briefly tell us a little about yourself and the synergies that exist between your experience and what is required by this board?
  • Why does this role appeal to you? Why are you considering it now?
  • What is your honest opinion of our organisation? What should we be doing differently?

Governance Style 

  • How “hands on” are you as a non-executive?  To what extent are you interested in operational detail?
  • In your opinion, what conditions are absolutely necessary to ensure good governance?
  • What are the warning signs that usually precede a breakdown in good governance?
  • What do you think the board’s role is in relation to development of strategy?  How do you think the board should engage with executive management in this process?
  • Some directors thrive on working through challenging circumstances, but is there a point at which challenge can go too far. What are your thoughts on this?
  • What does board diversity mean to you, and what do you think a diverse board would look like at our organisation?
  • What do you consider to be the role of a non-executive director?  How would you seek to clarify your role, if unclear?
  • How would you describe your style as a non-executive director?
  • What do you believe are the characteristics of an effective board??
  • What, in your view, is the leadership role of a non-executive?
  • How would you describe the ideal executive/non-executive relationship?
  • What would your relationship with our chair like? How would you support and complement the Chair’s role?

Commercial/business acumen

  • What relationships / contacts do you have with our key stakeholders?
  • How would you recommend we achieve our purpose and financial goals?
  • What could be further commercial opportunities for an organisation like ours?
  • What do you think of our structure and governance arrangements?
  • What does the current economic climate mean for us?  What are the threats and opportunities?
  • Do you think you have the necessary experience to help guide us through economic turbulence?  Please give some relevant examples.
  • How do you feel your own background and experience could directly add value to our organisation?

The Organisation

  • What do you perceive are our current strategic considerations?
  • Are we doing enough to equip our members/clients/stakeholders for the challenges of the future?
  • Who do you consider to be our key stakeholders now and how may that change over the next 10-15 years?
  • What do you think our members/clients/stakeholders expect from us?  How can we exceed these expectations?
  • What do you consider will be the key challenges facing our sector in the next 5-10 years?


  • This role is not remunerated/remunerated at $XXXXX.  Could you confirm that you are comfortable with this?
  • How many other directorships do you have? Could you confirm that you are able to commit to the time required to perform effectively as a board member?
  • Is there anything that could potentially delay your availability to join our board?
  • Do you have any concerns about joining this board?
  • Are you aware of any potential conflicts of interest?

Closing interview questions

  • Is there anything we didn’t ask you that you wanted to talk to us about?
  • Do you have any questions for us?

Merely having a list of possible interview questions is not enough to adequately prepare you for your board interview. Let me help you prepare. With Board Direction’s Interview Preparation you get an hour long mock interview with me asking real board interview questions in a real interview environment. This is followed by an hour’s honest feedback with additional hints and tips on how to answer difficult questions and how to position yourself for a successful outcome. Click here for more information.

About the Author

David Schwarz is CEO & Founder of Board Direction – Australia’s leading board advertising and non-executive career support firm. He has over a decade of experience of putting people on boards as an international headhunter and a non-executive recruiter and has interviewed over one thousand non-executives and placed hundreds into some of the most significant public, private and NFP roles in the world. He has been described as Australia’s leading board recruitment expert, is a published author, a regular speaker on the board appointment process and runs Board Search Masterclasses across Australia. He is one of Australia’s Top 10 LinkedIn users with over 20,000 connections. Email: ua.mo1656868288c.noi1656868288tceri1656868288ddrao1656868288b@tca1656868288tnoC1656868288

Adam Johnston

Adam is a solicitor, holding a Masters in Law from the University of New England, Armidale, and a Graduate Diploma from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is a Member of the Government Solicitors Committee of the Law Society and has worked in various complaint handling roles for the NSW Ombudsman and the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON). He serves on a number of advisory and governance committees of his Local Health District, is a member of Health Consumers NSW and a Consumer Advisor to the Clinical Excellence Commission’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Expert Advisory Committee