Hiring for Non-Executive Director Jobs – A Guide for Employers

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Hiring for Non-Executive Director Jobs – A Guide for Employers

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Finding non-executive director jobs isn’t as easy as loading up a job board and whizzing off a job listing. These are unique roles, requiring illusive individuals, and if you’re after non-executive director jobs then you need to be in the know in order to secure the right candidates. Here we look at how you can find candidates for non-executive jobs.

What are non-executive director jobs?

Before we start looking at how to find candidates for non-executive director jobs, it’s essential that you understand truly what a non-executive director is and what they do.

A non-executive director sits on the company’s board of directors. However, unlike an executive director, they are not an employee of the company. They don’t, generally, get involved in the minutiae of running the organisation on a day to day operational basis. Instead, the non-executive director is there to lend specialist skills, particularly within strategy, planning, performance and risk. It is useful to think of a non-executive director as a specialist independent advisor. They may be involved in policy making, but they won’t be involved in policy implementation. It’s not uncommon for a non-executive director to largely occupy the role for public relations reasons. They may also occupy the role for their connections.

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As non-executive directors aren’t employees of the company, and they don’t have managerial responsibilities, they are considered to be more objective than executive directors and well-positioned for meeting the best interests of stakeholders.

Those in non-executive director jobs are paid for their time, skill and contribution. Often they are paid with equity in the business, but they may also receive fees. How much they are paid varies according the industry, size and type of the organisation. Their payment may also be related to the amount of time they spend working specifically for the organisation. They are typically exceptionally highly paid roles. It is possible to have more than one non-executive director job but these need to be disclosed to all companies.

Non-executive directors carry a large amount of responsibility for the success of the business. They must also meet specific statutory requirements.

What makes someone suitable for non-executive director jobs?

There are a number of different characteristics that most chairpersons are looking for when filling non-executive director jobs.

They are usually looking for individuals with proven experience in governance within the relevant sector or industry. In addition, they seek candidates with a deep level knowledge of the particular sector. They want individuals with a valuable and useful network of connections that the business may be able to access. Executive skills should be exemplary and they will also consider how the character of the non-executive director will balance and work with the rest of the board. At the end of the day, the board are looking for commercial gain from the non-executive director, so this should be evident. The person must embody the business and improve its standing and reputation.

How to find candidates for non-executive director jobs?

It’s the responsibility of the executive directors to find suitable non-executive directors. Traditionally, non-executive director jobs have been filled by personal connections and word of mouth. Rarely have they been actively advertised and recruited for.

This is changing and there are now more routes to find candidates for non-executive director jobs. Executive boards and chairpersons are increasingly turning to headhunters to help them identify and onboard their non-executive directors. It may also be possible to find candidates by considering those who approach you directly, but this is much harder.  Headhunters are increasingly an exceptional resource for finding suitable candidates.

The process for recruiting non-executive director jobs is increasingly becoming fairer and is less reliant on word of mouth. This is because boards are learning that it’s a boon to have a diverse board and it’s nearly impossible to recruit diversely without a different strategy. Data is revealing, time and again, that a diverse board creates a more profitable business, as well as one with greater social responsibility.

If a candidate has approached a headhunter directly looking for non-executive jobs, you can expect them to have worked on the following process:

  • Work on self-promotion: From your LinkedIn profile to your CV, you need to focus on non-executive director skills and attributes by broadcasting your role in the success of other businesses. It serves you to build a reputation by publishing articles, speaking at conferences and getting seen.
  • Network extensively: Boards looking for non-executive directors want to make use of your network and connections so ensure you’ve built an enviable network. Reach out to others and expand your own network, keeping connections fresh and up to date.
  • Focus on your speciality: Companies hire non-executive directors to bring something unique to the board. They look for particular skill areas where they need input. For example, they may be looking for a non-executive director with particular knowledge of an emerging field, like machine learning.
  • Get training and membership: You may find it useful to get dedicated non-executive director training so that you know what’s expected of the role and how to meet those expectations. You should also join relevant organisations, such as the Corporate Governance Institute. These practices help you to expand your network but also give you a solid grounding in non-executive director jobs.
  • Understand the time commitment you have: Be clear with the headhunter how much time you are available to devote to non-executive positions.

As an employer, you should expect a headhunter to only select candidates that meet these requirements. You can work with the headhunter to identify what you really need in your next non-executive director. They will then look beyond the active candidates like those above, to passive candidates who are already contributing within your industry. They can source non-executive directors who have the connections and resources you need to lead the business successfully in the future.

Are you looking for candidates for non-executive jobs?

It can seem daunting to identify and onboard the right candidates for non-executive jobs. However, at Eagle Headhunters, we enable businesses to grow by helping them recruit diverse, skilled, experienced and balanced boards.

Get in touch on 0203 582 2663.