THIS QUOTE FROM MAUREEN DOWD'S NY TIMES COLUMN (August 2, 2009) is a sentiment I’ve seen before regarding the interview process:
Carol Smith of Elle says she doesn’t hire anyone without taking them out to a meal first because it’s “like a little microcosm of life. How they order, what they order. How are they going to give instructions to a waiter? Are they sending back the meal eight times?
Employers are encouraged to go the extra step when hiring their top people. What’s the equivalent for “hiring” nonprofit board members? As I’ve written in previous posts here and here, the recruitment process of new board members deserves a nonprofit’s utmost attention starting from the first hello. Being a board member is serious business and these days a helluva lot is riding on the ability to provide logic and clarity to decision-making in what’s more like a pinball game than a measured exercise of the public trust.
I’m thinking that the board recruitment process ought to include a meal. There’s so much more you can discover about what a person thinks about your organization (and the nonprofit ethic in general) when the conversation can take place over a tuna melt, a bowl of pasta or a beer. It’s an opportunity to share the stories that reflect and reinforce the organization’s values. It’s an opportunity to understand if those values resonate with your candidate.