"ASK THE HEADHUNTER" ON GETTING A BOARD OF DIRECTOR SEAT
Nick Corcodilos is author of ASK THE HEADHUNTER and the host of ASKTHE
HEADHUNTER.COM. Both the book and the website are great resources. Here is
Nick's response to a reader:
Question How can I get a job on the board?
I've read your book, Ask the Headhunter, and I think you make a lot of good
points that I believe will help the majority of people. However, I'm not
convinced that the same tactics would work for someone like me who is looking
for a board position within a small to medium sized company.
In this particular case, a direct approach would pre-suppose that you knew
the company was missing the particular board position that you wanted to fill.
This is rarely going to be the case. Such a company would almost always use a
headhunter and/or the personal networks of the other board members in order to
fill the vacancy, but in your book you acknowledge that marketing oneself to
headhunters is a very "hit and miss" approach.
Do you have any specific ideas for people hunting such "one per
Nick's Reply It's interesting that you describe this kind of job as a
"one per company" position, because I honestly regard any type of job
search as one that involves a "one per person" position. In other
words, there aren't many right jobs for an individual, and the best way to find
them is through good relationships with people who know the industry you want
to work in - whether it's for a technician's job or a board seat. I'm not
missing what you're saying: if the job isn't there, why make contacts at the
company? The reason is that the people you talk with (chairman, etc.) will have
the sorts of contacts that no one else does - including headhunters. Executives
and board members know other board members. That's the network. So, you're
absolutely right: companies will use their personal contacts to fill such
vacancies, and that's why it's so important for you to build such contacts.
Consider them a growing resource that you develop in your life and career - you
never know how you'll benefit from them. However, you will benefit. I suggest
you check THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS CAREER RESOURCE CENTER (www.stybelpeabody.com.). It's a
resource for board-level folks like you. I hope you find it helpful. Thanks for
your kind words about my book - I think you'll find it useful when you get into
the interview. Cheers, The Headhunter