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Initial assessment– fitness assessment: fit for the position, following additional preparation or training


Practical examples may help candidates prepare for the assessment. The examples below are intended to provide candidates and institutions with some pointers as to what De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) considers important with respect to assessments. All examples have been anonymised, and specific details have been omitted.

Published: 25 April 2017

Insufficient preparation

A foreign candidate with a non-regulated but listed enterprise background appeared to be opaque in responding to the interview questions, as a result of which his considerations in decision making were unclear to us. In the second interview the candidate was able to respond to our questions clearly and directly, and we found him to be fit for the position. After the assessment, we discussed the differences between the two interviews with the candidate, who indicated that prior to the first interview, the relationship with the supervisory authority was not clear to him and that he did not know what was expected of him. This was the reason why he had responded to the questions only in general terms in the first interview.

Insufficient preparation

During the first interview, a proposed supervisory board member for an insurance company kept speaking in generalities and appeared to be unable to explain his own role in certain situations. This did not change when the candidate was made aware of this. After the interview, we contacted the candidate by telephone and informed him that we were unable to reach a decision and that a second interview was necessary. During this second interview, the candidate was much more clear and specific about his duties and responsibilities, and was able to explain his own role and activities. We then issued a positive decision. In our evaluation of the assessment, we found the candidate to be insufficiently prepared for the assessment.

Lack of sector-specific knowledge due to insufficient preparation

A large company proposed a candidate for appointment as chair of the management board. The candidate had a good reputation as a chair in a related sector. The company was facing a number of important strategic decisions. The assessment interview included questions about various scenarios impacting the organisation's operational management and possible consequences. The candidate was unable to answer financial sector-related questions. He appeared to have insufficient sector-specific knowledge to be able to translate his experience gained in the other sector to the situation at the new company. We therefore found the candidate to be unfit for the position.

After a thorough induction and training programme, the candidate was again proposed for the position. Now he was able to adequately link his previously gained experience to the situation at the company, and we issued a positive decision.

Insufficient institution-specific knowledge

We assessed a proposed supervisory board member of an institution with several issues at play. According to the application file, the candidate was to be responsible for supervision of the organisation's risk environment. He would also be appointed as a member of the risk and audit committee to address the issues. During the interview it became apparent that the candidate was not aware of the current situation at the institution, and had only consulted public sources such as the annual report. As a result, he was insufficiently prepared for the interview, and was consequently unable to demonstrate that he was fit for the position. The institution explained that it had not informed the candidate of the issues in advance, as it did not know whether he would pass our assessment.

In consultation with the candidate, we agreed to hold another interview once he had familiarised himself with the issues at play. The institution withdrew the initial nomination. When the candidate was proposed again, we interviewed him and found him fit for the position. In fact, an increasing number of organisations now share relevant knowledge with proposed candidates after they have signed non-disclosure agreements.