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I was not selected for the phone interview – Why? And how can I still become part of Novo Nordisk?

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Dear reader,

This week all of you who have applied for the graduate programmes should have received a reply from us. For those of you who have been selected for the phone interview, we want to say: Congratulations and good luck for the next selection round! For those of you who unfortunately did not receive an invitation for the interview, we want to say: Please don’t be disappointed. This year we received more than 10,000 applications for our graduate programmes and therefore it was an exceptionally tough first selection round. Just because we did not invite you for the phone interview, does not mean that we were not impressed by you or that you are not suitable for a career within Novo Nordisk!

In the following, we have asked Ove Munch Ovesen, the Graduate Programme Director, to give you insights on the main reasons why applications did not get to the interview stage. Since Novo Nordisk is not able to give personal feedback on your application, we hope that this blog post will at least for some of you answer the question of “why have I not been selected?”.

In addition, you will find in the second part of the blog post, some ideas about your other opportunities to join Novo Nordisk.

Lisa and Anne-Sophie:

Hello Ove and thank you for sharing with us some of the feedback you have for applicants who did not get selected for the next selection round of the Novo Nordisk graduate programmes.  So, according to you and the Novo Nordisk HR team, what were the main reasons why applications did not get to the interview stage?



Ove Munch Ovesen

Ove Munch Ovesen:

“Dear applicants, first of all I want to thank you for the first step you took to a life-changing career! As much as we would like to get to know all of you, we unfortunately could only select about 400 applicants for the phone interview. To answer your question why we might not have chosen an applicant, I see four main reasons for that:

1.    Motivation

The cover letter is the key element of your application. We received thousands of applications from very bright, international, and interesting people. But the cover letter is the one thing that can help you stick out of the crowd. It is also called motivation letter and this is exactly what we are looking for when reading it: Your MOTIVATION! Of course there are many ways of showing your motivation, but one thing we were looking for was your genuine motivation for the job, your personal understanding of Novo Nordisk and the programme, and what this means to you. Besides, we were looking for cover letters tailored to the specific programme you applied for.

2.    Over- or under-qualification

As you know, the graduate programme is aimed at people who do not have more than 1 year work experience after their master graduation. We received a lot of applications from people with several years of work experience (and here we do not mean internships or student jobs). Unfortunately, these people are overqualified for a graduate position and should consider joining Novo Nordisk as a permanent employee.

On the other hand, this also implies that if you are not finished with your master degree by fall 2014, you are not eligible for this year’s graduate intake.

3.    Transcripts

Another selection criterion for the graduate programme is a very good academic performance. Hence, including your grades in your CV and uploading your Bachelor or Master diploma should also be backed up by your official transcripts to have a confirmation of these grades. Anything else (such as typing your grades in a table) is considered as non-official and hence difficultly reliable. If you are still doing your master’s studies by the time of your application, we would suggest to at least upload an excerpt of your current master’s grades.

 4.    Layout of CV and cover letter and spelling mistakes

In this first selection round, we only had the documents you sent us in your application to get a first impression of you and assess your fit to Novo Nordisk and the graduate programme, hence every uploaded document should be carefully polished. One basic element of this is to have few spelling mistakes in your CV and cover letter, as well as to write and layout them in a professional way. It is mandatory that both CV and cover letter are written in English. We know that English is not the native language of many of our applicants so of course we take this into consideration. Also, keep the CV and cover letter to max. 2 pages each and still keep it visually appealing.”


Lisa and Anne-Sophie:

Thank you so much Ove for these answers, and we hope that applicants better understand their application in the light of this advice.

We now would like to highlight the other existing options to still become part of Novo Nordisk:

  1. Permanent position: Every year Novo Nordisk is hiring approximately 5,000 candidates so we encourage you to go to the Novo Nordisk website under careers and check out all our open positions.
  2. Internship: In case you were not eligible for the graduate programme because you will not have met the requirement of a master’s degree by this fall, you can always consider applying for our internships or student positions. You will find information on our website under careers. The application for an internship beginning in August/September 2014 will start in June 2014.
  3. Apply again next year: If you were not eligible for this year’s graduate intake because of missing qualifications or if you feel that you can improve your understanding of Novo Nordisk to better tailor your application, please do not hesitate to apply for the graduate programmes again next year. Not even all of us current graduates got into the programme the first time we tried. So we would never hold a previous application against you, but rather see it as a strong commitment to Novo Nordisk.

We hope this has given you some food for thought as well as encouraged you to apply again, and we hope to see you soon.

All the best,

Lisa and Anne-Sophie

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8 Comments to I was not selected for the phone interview – Why? And how can I still become part of Novo Nordisk?

  1. Posted March 11, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Permalink
    Sanjitkumar Vaghel says:

    Thank you very much for sharing the selection procedure and other opportunities to be a member of vibrant team at NovoNordisk.
    I will surely apply for open position and soon will join the dynamic team of leaders.

  2. Posted April 7, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink
    Priyanka says:

    Hello Novo Nordisk,

    I was very excited and was expecting to hear my name atleast in the first round of 400 candidates.
    But unfortunately it was not my day, but yet as always, I still aspire to be a part of this beautiful Novo Nordisk team and since it’s my dream company I wish to be there once in my professional life.

    I kindly request you to inform me about as much sources as possible to apply and be a part of Novo Nordisk. I genuinely wish to be a part of Novo Nordisk, waiting for that day with continous efforts.

    Thanks & Regards
    Priyanka Barathe

  3. Posted April 7, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink
    Lisa and Anne-Sophie Lisa and Anne-Sophie says:

    Dear Priyanka,

    thank you very much for your comment and we are very sorry to hear that you were not selected for the graduate programme. However, as you already say, there are plenty of other opportunities to join Novo Nordisk and we are listing them above in our blog post. In general, the Novo Nordisk website is a very good way to start. If you click on “Careers” on the top, you will find all the possibilities to join Novo Nordisk.

    All the best for you and good luck with your application!

    Anne-Sophie and Lisa

  4. Posted April 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink
    Priyanka says:

    Thank you very much Anne-Sophie and Lisa.

    I will try for open positions along with graduate programme next year if I am eligible as per Novo Nordisk norms and policy.

    But really GENUINELY wish to be a part of Novo Nordisk, its my dream company, have been doing many things to get through somehow.

    Well, thanks again!

    Thanks & Regards
    Priyanka Barathe.

  5. Posted April 8, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink
    sarak says:

    Thanks for very interesting blogpost. Do you any ideas which countries NVO will deploy graduate program next year? Would be the same country?

  6. Posted April 8, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink
    Lisa and Anne-Sophie Lisa and Anne-Sophie says:

    Dear Sarak,
    thank you for your nice words and we are happy to see that this was useful to you.
    Concerning the future Graduate Programmes, we cannot tell for certain where they will be deployed next year, but we can assume that a large part of the current ones will also be available. To ensure that you do not miss any information, we strongly encourage you to follow the Novo Nordisk Graduate Programme page here: as well as on facebook:!/novonordiskgraduates
    We wish you all the best!
    Have a great day,
    Lisa and Anne-Sophie

  7. Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:56 pm | Permalink
    Thomas says:

    Hello everyone,

    I have a question about the general application:
    Is it possible to apply for both the Global Marketing Graduate Programme and the EU Business Management Programme?
    Or any other subset of graduate programmes of course.

    Thank you!

  8. Posted April 22, 2014 at 7:37 am | Permalink
    Lisa and Anne-Sophie Lisa and Anne-Sophie says:

    Dear Thomas,

    thank you very much for your question. Yes, you can apply for more than one graduate programme. However, please make sure that your applications are still tailored to the respective programmes, i.e. in each application you should show your specific interest in and motivation for the respective programme.

    We hope this answered your question. Good luck and best regards,

    Anne-Sophie and Lisa