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Tips for passing a co-op board interview

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Once a co-op board has reviewed a board package, if all looks good, they will usually request to schedule a “board interview” in which the perspective buyer meets with all or a few members of the board. This is generally a formality, and most candidates who are granted an interview receive notice of approval within a few days of the interview. However, it’s important not to take the interview too lightly. Dress appropriately (business casual usually works well), be on time, be respectful, and try to give direct answers to questions. Here are a few more tips for passing a board interview:

• Prepare for lack of privacy. The board can ask a wide variety of questions. Be prepared for anything and don’t avoid answers to personal questions -- or let the questions make you angry.

• Know your application. You should be able to quickly answer any questions about your application. If necessary, bring a copy with you, but definitely review it beforehand.

• If you’re a couple, decide in advance who will answer what types of questions. You may decided to answer all financial questions, for example, and your spouse my answer all personal questions. Try to avoid discussing answers to questions in front of the board.

• Don’t try to sell yourself. Only answer the questions asked of you. Let the board run the show.

• Never volunteer information. Again, keep it cordial and be polite, but let the board run the show. Only answer the questions asked of you and don’t engage in unsolicited conversations.

• Don’t ask questions. This one may sound a little strange, but questions can often unintentionally convey negative information to the board. For example, simply asking whether a lobby renovation is in the works may offend the board member who was in charge of renovating the lobby last year.

• A short interview is usually better than a long one. A brief, pleasant interview where the board asks just a few questions or makes a few remarks is often the best.

• Don’t expect an answer at the end of the meeting. The board members will need to discuss their decision privately and normally do not give their decision until a day or two after the interview. Your real estate broker or attorney will take the necessary steps to determine if you’ve been approved.

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