MD of Novo Nordisk India looks for culture fit while hiring

How the Company hires people with the passion to offer solutions

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In most multinationals, the culture fit of candidates is taken very seriously at the time of hiring. Even if the candidates possess great skill sets and are backed by a great track record in previous stints, if they fail the culture fit test, it is a deal breaker for most companies. More often, it is the HR in the company that measures or assesses this culture fit.

During a chat with HRKatha, Vikrant Shrotriya, MD and corporate vice president, Novo Nordisk India, also admits that while hiring candidates for leadership positions in the Company, he generally looks for culture fit in the candidate.

“I am aware that my team and other hiring managers have already evaluated the candidates for skills, so I need not look into that at all. My top priority while hiring is to evaluate the candidates based on culture fit, values and alignment with the purpose of the company,” says Shrotriya.

To select the right culture fit for Novo Nordisk, Shrotriya looks for certain qualities in the candidate, which are very unique but relevant and essential for resolving the kind of problems the Company faces.

As Shrotriya shares, the world knows Novo Nordisk as a global pharmaceutical company. The brand is known for its excellence in dealing with diabetes and the solutions it offers to the world for the same. The Company is well aware that India has a large population of people facing diabetes-related issues.

Therefore, when the Company is looking to offer solutions to this problem, it prefers to have on its team people who have a passion for the field and the condition. “Passion to solve healthcare issues, for instance diabetes, is something we would look for,” states Shrotriya.

The second important thing that matters to Shrotriya is the candidate’s ability to understand the science the Company is dealing with, and communicate that knowledge into a product capable of solving the problems of the world.

Shrotriya reveals to HRKatha that while interviewing candidates, he likes to dig into their history. This involves a thorough examination of the CV of the professionals, as well as their LinkedIn profiles.

“Many a time, what people claim on papers turns out be false in reality. Therefore, cross verifying and validating that information in the interview is something I like doing,” says Shrotriya.

Shrotriya, who interviews only candidates for positions that are merely a level or two from that of the MD, appears to have come across candidates with integrity issues or applicants who have resorted to lies.

“My top priority while hiring is to evaluate the candidates based on culture fit, values and alignment with the purpose of the company”

Vikrant Shrotriya, MD and corporate vice president, Novo Nordisk India

Therefore, Shrotriya, personally assesses their abilities thoroughly. For instance, if a candidate claims to be highly analytical or great with numbers, then Shrotriya would probably test the person on numbers.

Also, Shrotriya says that the Company conducts psychometric tests for all candidates, irrespective of the role they apply for in the organisation.

These psychometric tests help to reveal the candidates’ learning agility and inclination towards team development as well as individual development.

“The candidates are also tested on their decision-making abilities through psychometric tests,” says Shrotriya.

The importance of the results of the psychometric tests depends on the role. Generally, many companies conduct psychometric tests for leadership positions. Therefore, the higher the role in the hierarchy of the business, the more is the weightage of psychometric test results.

Shrotriya describes the robust hiring process at Novo Nordisk, which involves an HR round, followed by an interview by the hiring manager before the Company conducts a psychometric test.

Novo Nordisk gives feedback to the employees before the hiring process ends. “Feedback is given even to those who do not make the cut,” says Shrotriya.

However, even this robust hiring process is not foolproof, admits Shrotriya, recalling an incident where they were looking for a person who was highly proficient in the English language for a role.

The candidate came from a native English background and exhibited excellent speaking skills, which was very clear to everyone during the evaluation process. However, his writing skills were just about decent.

Shrotriya hired him based on his gut feeling alone. In a few months’ time, Shrotriya realised that it was a mistake. “People do make mistakes and no process is 100 per cent correct,” admits Shrotriya.

The Company is looking to offer solutions in the area of obesity management. Therefore, Shrotriya reveals that they would need talent with the passion to offer solutions to this condition.

Last year, the Novo Nordisk hired about 150 employees, and if the plans to launch an obesity management solution does take wings this year, it will hire an equal number yet again.

The Company employs about 1600 people in India, with 70 per cent being front line sales personnel and the remaining essaying business-enabling roles.

Novo Nordisk has tie-ups with Torrent Pharma and Abbott for manufacturing and distribution in India, respectively.

1 COMMENT

  1. First, an observation. Para 8 from bottom up, employees should read candidates. Candidate becomes an employee after reporting for duty and is only a candidate at the time of interview.
    Yes, culture fit among several other traits is an important attribute. But many a times, assesing this relatively highly invisible trait in a candidate is a huge challenge.
    In two MNCs I was working during hiring process; this was a challenge to me and other members on the interview panel. We used to try to ascertain this trait in the candidate as satisfactory or not separately keeping in view company values and culture. Later on pool the feedback of all the committee members and arrive at a consensus. We were not administering any sophisticated tests.
    The success rate was reasonably good. We had accidents resulting in either counseling interventions or in extreme cases ( not many) exiting them honorably.
    I am sure this will remain a hiring challenge notwithstanding expertise of the interviewers.

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