My name is Alexander Rose, and I wanted to work for the great Bayer Group even when I was a child. Yet it took me three tries to make my dream come true. Since the beginning of August 2016, I’ve now been a human resources trainee at Bayer AG and can only advise any applicant: never let a rejection discourage you. Gain important experience and then apply again later.
Application attempts as a high school and college student
I first came in contact with Bayer during a school field trip to the Crop Science site in Monheim. I was thrilled with the innovative working environment comprising science and industry. When we had to complete an obligatory internship, Bayer was my first choice. Nearly two weeks after the application went in, however, I received a rejection from the recruiting team that I had not been expecting. My world came crashing down. Looking back, my application was unsuccessful primarily because of my unspecific conceptions. I did not decide on a specific area, but rather wanted to learn the daily business “in general.” As a result, there was no fitting job description.
During my bachelor studies, I made a second attempt to get my foot in the door at Bayer: I proactively applied to become a student trainee in the Human Resources department. As with my first application, my path ended just after it began. And I had been more or less certain that I had a realistic chance: my grades were acceptable and I had gained some HR experience through internships with other companies. I was all the more disappointed. Through a more thorough job search, however, I would have recognized that a corresponding job simply hadn’t been advertised.
Graduate fair – new hope
Until shortly before the end of my subsequent master’s course, I no longer had Bayer on my radar as a potential employer. When I happened on the gigantic trade fair stand at the Graduate Congress in 2015 in Cologne and spoke with the Bayer employees there, my opinion changed abruptly. The employees encouraged me to apply again and reported convincingly on Bayer’s merits. As I had specialized in human resources issues, I found the HR Trainee Program particularly attractive. In this program, trainees rotate within the Bayer Group for 18 months and intensively get to know all the Human Resources units: HR Shared Service Center, HR Business Partner and HR Centers of Expertise. Especially appealing to me were the international program focus with an integrated foreign assignment and the high number of training courses and shadowings. It didn’t deter me that the program is very attractive and that several hundred students apply each year, as my ambition had been stoked. I thought to myself: “Now I can finally show what I’m capable of. All good things come in threes.”
Assessment Center – reaching my destination
After my application documents were received, I was invited for the first time to participate in the next selection stage at Bayer: the telephone interview. There I had to respond to expertise-based questions in German and English and explain my motivation for the Trainee Program. After that, I was invited to attend an interview in person at company headquarters in Leverkusen. I was impressed by the dynamic and open atmosphere, and it was clear to me: “I belong here.” The conversation with the responsible HR business partners went well, and I was very pleased to take part in the final Assessment Center (AC) two weeks later.
The AC itself was divided into two program points. First there was a fireplace evening together at which the candidates could converse with former trainees, HR supervisors and executives. The actual AC took place the next day, with role-playing games, group exercises and self-presentations. The highlight was a tour of the adjacent Chempark in which I became aware of the company’s dimensions for the first time.
At the end of the AC, the anxiousness began. The observers withdrew to confer with one another, and the applicants had no choice but to wait. After what seemed like an eternity, the doors of the conference room opened and we were notified of the results. Before the evening was over, I received a preliminary contract confirming that I had been accepted into the Trainee Program. I could hardly believe my good luck. My third attempt had now actually met with success.
I’ve been employed at Bayer as a trainee since August 2016 and am finally part of a terrific HR community. A lot of time passed between my first application in school and my actually beginning work in the company. Yet it has become clear to me that you should never give up or let a rejection discourage you. On the contrary, I can only advise any applicant: wait for the right moment, reflect on the actual reasons for a rejection and try one time too many rather than not often enough.
If you are interested in a career at Bayer, I recommend the new application guide. Here the path from the job search to the onboarding process is transparently depicted. I wish this guide had existed sooner, because then I would most likely have better adapted my applications to fit Bayer’s needs.
Never say never! Perseverance pays off!
This post is also available in: German