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Behind the scenes: Application screening process

Category: Business Processes European Business Management Global Marketing Uncategorized | 28 comments

As I have talked with many people who are interested in applying to the programme and in general they all seem to have similar doubts regarding the screening process of the applications, I thought I would unveil the mystery to you so you know exactly what is happening and what to expect.

1.    We receive applications

We receive applications until the 9th of February but we already start reading them in January. Therefore we do encourage you to submit your application rather sooner than later, to avoid being part of the last-minute rush that tends to happen every year.

 2.    We screen applications

A group of HR partners and programme managers supported by current graduates screen applications for the different programs, usually within their own tracks. To assure transparency every “screener” gets assigned certain letters of the alphabet corresponding to applicants’ names, to screen these resumes.

 3.    We discuss with our “screening partners”

After having received and screened all the applications, everyone selects about 10-15 people from their stack. These applications are presented in a meeting with the screening partners (2-3 people within the respective program screening group) and for each screener we narrow down the candidates to 7 profiles. 

 4.    We meet with the programme managers and HR

Once 7 profiles have been selected by each screener we have a meeting in HQ with the respective programme managers and HR partners for each graduate programme track. Here everyone presents their best candidates. We look at all the profiles and have an iterative discussion, which is why the final selection is the result of a very long day.

 5.    The selected candidates are invited to a phone interview

The ones selected during the screening day are being contacted for a phone interview by either HR or the programme manager. If you get to this point you should be aware that indeed you are very close, and by this time at least about 10 people have discussed and approved of your profile, so take a deep breath and lay back just a little bit.

 6.    Online tests, just to be on the safe side

The candidates who “passed” the phone interview (I put that in quotation marks, because it is really about chemistry rather than an examination) will be invited to the Graduate Recruitment Centre. Before the GRC you will receive an online numerical and personality test to assess some of your skills. If your score is not the absolute best one on the maths test this is not going to be a deal breaker and you are not going to get un-invited to the GRC.

 7.    The grand finale: the GRC

The Graduate Recruitment Centre, which is the assessment centre for the program, will take place in April during 2 days and here you will have the opportunity to show yourself in person by taking part in team and individual activities. There will be no particular and detalied previous knowledge required on the industry or the company to ensure successful participation.



3 key take-aways for you:

  • We do closely examine all applications. All profiles go through the hands of experienced recruiters. This is why it is so important for you to submit some “quality material” both regarding content and layout. You can find endless number of posts about this on our blog.
  • The process is more about fit than skills. The emphasis is on personality and what you could develop into, so don’t start to practice calculating square roots of five digit numbers in your head, it will be moderately useful.
  • This is a marathon not a sprint. During the process your profile will go through the hands of many people so your aim should not be to impress but to build a good image through being true to yourself, humble but confident and to gain the recruiters trust.



We have some busy months ahead…stay tuned.



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28 Comments to Behind the scenes: Application screening process

  1. Posted January 28, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Permalink
    gabriela nana colaneri says:

    Hi Lilla. I really appreciate your so precious tips. Besides the grade transcript, resume and cover letter, Is there one more document that I should send? Something as a recomendation letter?
    Thank you

  2. Posted January 29, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink
    Lilla says:

    Hi Gabi,

    It is not obligatory, but of course please feel free to upload a recommendation if you have one.


  3. Posted January 29, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink
    lieuphuong says:

    Hi Lilla,
    I am a bachelor graduate, not master. so I am not a eligible candidate?

  4. Posted January 29, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink
    Massimiliano says:

    thanks a lot for your tips.
    I have a question:
    how much is the fee for this programme?

  5. Posted January 29, 2014 at 9:27 pm | Permalink
    Dina El-Sadek says:

    Hi Lilla,

    Many thanks for your article, very helpful! I’ve just submitted my personal data along with the required documents. However, the email I received after I had completed the process did not include a reference number, so I was wondering if this means that my application was not successfully sent!
    Thank you,


  6. Posted January 30, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink
    Niroj Shrestha says:

    Hi Lilla,

    Thanks for providing an overview of application screening process. I am completed my masters and joined Novo Nordisk India Pvt. Ltd. in Nov 2013. As an employee of Novo Nordisk, I would like to know if I am eligible to apply for the graduate program.


  7. Posted January 30, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink
    Jana says:

    Hi Lilla!

    I would like to ask you about the Product Supply Graduate Program. Can I apply for it in two countries, for example in Denmark and France as well? Another question of mine – I see myself as a candidate for the Global Procurement Graduate Program. Can I apply at the same time for two different Graduates Programs – Product Supply and Global Procurement?

    Best regards,

  8. Posted February 3, 2014 at 7:43 pm | Permalink
    Ioannis Tataridis says:

    Dear Lilla,

    Many thanks for sharing this valuable information about the application screening process. I have applied for the RA Graduate programme and am exciting about this opportunity to become a part of Novo Nordisk team.

    I would like to wish all the applicants good luck with their applications!



  9. Posted February 4, 2014 at 12:48 am | Permalink
    Adam Sierakowiak says:

    I have a question about “The Global Marketing graduate programme”. I have a background in biomedical sciences and I am finishing up a PhD in Neuroscience (dissertation planned November 2014). I am really interested in the pursuit of the career that this program offers, am I qualified to apply?
    All the best,

  10. Posted February 4, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink
    Lilla says:

    Hi Adam,

    We are looking for people with a commercial background primarily, so that would also depend on whether you have any work experience in marketing for example. have you considered the scientific tracks among the different programs?


  11. Posted February 4, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink
    Lilla says:

    Hi John, thank you for your comment! I wish you all the best too, that is the spirit:)

  12. Posted February 4, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink
    Lilla says:

    Hi Janina,

    I believe you could apply to all of these options, submitting different applications for each. If you want to be on the safe side, contact the program managers.


  13. Posted February 4, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink
    Lilla says:

    Hi Niroj,

    i believe in your case it would be best to ask the exact programme manager.


  14. Posted February 4, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink
    Lilla says:

    Hi Dina,

    Although I have to admit I am not entirely familiar with how exactly the web surface looks like where you submit your applications, however I don´t think you are supposed to get such a number. Did you get a confirmation email or so?


  15. Posted February 4, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink
    Lilla says:

    Dear Massi,

    I know it sounds too good to be true , but you actually get paid;) this is a job, not a study program.


  16. Posted February 4, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink
    Lilla says:

    Hi there,

    For the programs starting in DK you would not yet be eligible. However the local IO programs sometime have a different criteria, due to the different educational systems.


  17. Posted February 5, 2014 at 11:33 pm | Permalink
    Dina El-Sadek says:

    Lilla, I received an empty email titled “Your candidate reference number- Novo Nordisk”. It contains only the organization’s logo, so I’m not sure if this is the confirmation email!


  18. Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink
    ZiCheng says:

    Dear Lilla,

    thank you so much for all the sharing, which has been very insightful and enlightening. Seems to me that you are being very professional to write blogs with bullets to make them well-structured. I’ve read all your blogs and enjoyed your writings a lot :)

    I have one question concerning the structure of the program (Global Marketing). From this webpage ( it said there will be 3 rotations in total. However from this webpage ( it stated that there will be 4 rotations in total.

    The number of rotations described in these two webpages is a little bit confusing, but I am definitely applying no matter what :)

    Best Regard,


  19. Posted February 9, 2014 at 7:15 pm | Permalink
    Mo says:

    Hi Lilla,

    Thanks for your time blogging about useful tips for application. I applied 2 days ago for the Egypt Business Programme and I have a couple of inquiries:

    I started working Jan 2009 and I have 4.6 years of work experience prior to my Masters (June 2013) and less than one year post masters , do I qualify?

    My other inquiry is about my Masters,I have a Masters in Public Policy which is an interdisciplinary degree yet it is economics based. So most of my course work was on economics and my electives were mainly management, finance, leadership and communication. Would that fit under the economics related fields mentioned int he eligibility criteria?

    My final inquiry is similar to that of Rachel, I understood Diploma as my graduation certificate and not my Transcript so I uploaded my diploma or certificate, would that be taken in to consideration by the HR screening officer or it will be considered as incomplete application?

    With Many Thanks in Advance in Anticipation of your Kind Assistance :-)

  20. Posted February 13, 2014 at 4:05 am | Permalink
    Syed says:

    Posted February 10, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink
    Syed says:
    Hi Lilla,

    I came to know about the program just a week back and applied at the last moment to Global Marketing. Unfortunately while saving the file a word got changed multiple times in my cover letter because of auto correct and I did not catch the error in time.

    Is there a chance I could mail perhaps the business partner handling Global Marketing with the correct letter. I don’t expect the chance to do so though but as they say to try is important.


  21. Posted February 14, 2014 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
    Willian Torres says:

    Dear Lila,

    I have already submitted my application but I did it twice as the first time confirmation email I received was totally empty so, I made myself sure sending again my application. I just want to know if there is any problem with that.

    Additionally, I would like to ask you if there is any email where I can send again my Master Grades certificate as the one I uploaded was a bit unclear because my university sent it to me scanned, I just got it by post yesterday.

    Thank you very much for your help.

    Willian Torres

  22. Posted February 16, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink
    Thu says:

    Dear Lilla,

    I already applied for the programme since I find myself perfectly fit and I really want to be a part of it. However my biggest concern at the moment is that I have 2-year working experience after graduation while this programme requests less than 1-year working experience candidates. So is there any chance for me to be selected by the sceener/managers?

    Thank you,


  23. Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink
    Lilla says:

    Hi Thu,

    Yes, as a rule of thumb you are right, but we will read and evaluate every application and decide on an individual basis.


  24. Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink
    Lilla says:

    Hi William,

    Don´t worry if you did it twice, it will show up to us twice but that makes no difference.

    In case we need more info on your master grades we will reach out to you!


  25. Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink
    Lilla says:

    Hi Syed,

    Sadly the deadline is for everyone, to “level the playing field”. But don´t worry this is not going to be a deal-breaker.


  26. Posted February 19, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink
    Lilla says:

    Hi Mo,

    I am afraid that based on your academic background and extensive work experience you might not be the profile we would be looking for for the global marketing programme specifically. I do encourage you to look into direct openings though!

    The transcript issue is not a disqualifier.



  27. Posted February 19, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink
    Lilla says:

    Hi Zi Cheng,

    The Global Marketing Programme has been changed to have 3 times 8-months long rotations to harmonize with the other business processes programmes.

    I am glad you applied:)


  28. Posted February 19, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink
    Lilla says:

    I think others had similar issues, so it should not be a problem.

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