How To Recruit Board Members, A Must Read

Finding and recruiting qualified board members for your new public company or growing private entity is a tricky business and riddled with mine fields with explosive triggers littering the path in which you will walk to assemble a proper board.

The easy advice here is that believe none of what you hear, half of what you see and any claims by the candidate should be checked and validated to exhaustion.
The first type of board candidate to terminate from your list of candidates is the ‘freeloader’ or deadbeat.

This individual is seeking a ‘job’ type deal where he won’t have someone looking over his shoulder 40 hours per week, can live off of your dime and suck you dry like a vampire until you kick him/her to the curb and send them on their way in search for a new victim. These people will pick out general highlights in their, so called, career and exaggerate them to invent a fraudulent yet enticing profile of their bogus career to leave you salivating staying up at night running through the possibilities of what their contact base could do for your organization.

The best way to find out if they are the real deal is to see what they’ve published on the niche topic that they claim to be an expert. For example if they claim to be a MENA region political consultant, who has written about then, what company do they keep (company that is traceable and factual based off empirical evidence), can they show a contract proving their claims of association, have they put out basic audio, video or press releases or industry articles based on their claims? If any or all of the above are absent, chances are you’re dealing with a phony. Dump them and do it quick.

Next, be weary of the ‘double talker’. The double talker is similar to the deadbeat but will have a few contacts to throw into the mix to convince you of their claims. But these associations will never amount to anything but circular sprints that will never amount to monetization or even remote capitalization. They will even take you to meet these legitimate contacts in which they base their proclaimed legitimacy and these contacts will be solid but still, won’t amount to anything.

Now, you’ll begin to get the inkling that something is wrong and you’ll sit the individual down for some questions, this is when you’ll begin to see the tin foil armor begin to fall to pieces. When you question them they will be defensive and take a Socratic approach where they will respond to your inquires with questions that deflect responsibility as they try to make you seem misinformed or poor at general corporate management. When you try to pin them down for one particular response they’ll use juvenile terms lie, “I didn’t know about that”, “I never got that”, “You never sent me those documents to review” etc.

Stick to the questions, stay monotone and non-emotional and keep drilling. Soon this double talker will lose steam and this pompous and confident fraud will begin to deflate like a shriveled balloon.
I once met an individual whom I perceived to be a worthy candidate for a board position with a client’s company. He was excited about the business model and was rambling off name after name of potential partners and global alliances within his contact portfolio for our client, he claimed to have worked for a very powerful and prestigious middle eastern oil family, he claimed a 20 year pedigree with active transactions in the most difficult to enter financial and business round tables out there. After three months of talking it was finally time to ‘see the goods’ and to my astonishment, nothing.

This joke of an executive couldn’t follow through and complete anything and of course they never even read the business plan that was emailed the day after our initial conversation. It was actually kind of unbelievable. Whenever a real company with assets and revenues is seeking expertise outside of their particular niche, they fall prey to predatory scam artists.

The best advice I can give you is have each candidate investigated by each of your trusted staff members and pay for a background check and if you’re still not convinced get them to make claims about their past 3 years income and then via third party ask for stubs to act as evidence and have your financial and legal review and run additional background checks, if you are still unsure, go with your gut and pass over them and seek out new candidates.

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