At Graduateships we set out to make it easier for everyone looking for a graduate position. Besides our general Graduateships report, we wanted to provide graduates specific insight on how to secure a graduate position within some of the largest companies in Denmark
Through an interview with HR Business Partner Mathilde Molgjer and Director Consulting Services Morten Bovien both from CGI, we learned about their Talent Program, the structure of it and how to best optimize your chances to become one of their talents.
CGI Talent Program facts
- Duration: 1 year starting September 1st.
- Positions within: Public, Manufacturing, Infrastructure Management & Operations, UFCR, and Business Intelligence.
- Application deadline: May 1st
- Expected talents to join CGI: 10-12
In a few words, what makes your Talent Program special?
Mathilde (CGI): Our talent program used to be a 2 year program on a timelimited contract. We have changed that concept a couple of years ago to a new structure which we are proud to say works well. Now we offer our talents a permanent contract from the beginning and the length of the program is limited to 1 year. This also to avoid that our talents feel like they are looked at as juniors for too long.
This is actually only the third time the program is run this way, but we are very pleased with the way it has turned out. We also know from our managers that they are very satisfied with the talents we have signed the previous years. This just underlines the reason for why our managers are such a big part of the recruitment process from the very start. This is also one of the reasons for why it is not set in stone prior to recruiting, how many talents we will hire for each sector, because it all depends on the match between the candidate and the manager and also on how business is at the time.
How many talents do you think you will hire this year?
Mathilde (CGI): This year we are most likely going to hire around 10-12 talents for our offices in Denmark. However, we are always looking for talented people in CGI and it has happened before that we have offered people who applied to our Talent Program, other positions in our company.
So what is it that makes CGI’s Talent Program different from an ordinary position within CGI?
Mathilde (CGI): When you are a part of the CGI Talent Program, you have a year where focus is on you and on expanding your knowledge and experience for you to familiarize with CGI and jour job. You will get both a buddy and a mentor when you start. The buddy acts as your go-to-person but more in a social context whereas your assigned mentor will be able to spare with you and assist you with more academic and business related aspects. The important thing is that there is always someone to support you and answer your questionsis something we really care about at CGI and one of the things that is great for our young talents, is this big network that they get right from the beginning of the program.
There really is an extra focus on helping when it comes to our young talents and they get this special community when they are all hired at the same time. This network also ensures that the people we hire stay, because they have this amazing social and academic bond, which helps them to develop through their whole career at CGI.
Besides that, we also have our training modules where our talents meet 4 times a year. Each module with a different learning plan and focus. An example of this is the first module where the focus is, how it is to be a consultant in IT. The last module is built around a case competition where the talents compete in what they have learned throughout the year.
So if our readers think this sounds like a great match and they would like to apply – what are your recommendations towards making the best impression through their CV and cover letter?
Morten (CGI): Making an impression is of course something that is very individual, but one thing we always look at, is whether they have a relevant educational background. It’s not essential for the application, but there has to be some aspect of IT – a certain subject knowledge or interest.
Personally, I’m always on the lookout for clichés. Don’t just say you think it’s interesting when IT and people interact, say something original that catches my eye instead. I also think that it should be evident in your application that you are aware of what kind of business CGI is. That you are aware that we work with IT, but IT for businesses and in a business context.
If you can illustrate that you are driven by helping businesses and have a commercial flair, then you are definitely on the right track.
It is also always great if you have something else than just good grades. Show that you are able to take responsibility and that you have a strong drive! Exemplify it by showing other sides of yourself, such as engaging in local sport clubs, or if you have done elite sport or something similar. People often have the misunderstanding that we only look at experience tracing back to your education and your education is great, but we also find the rest just as interesting. You just need to show commitment, initiative, drive and if you have a commercial flair, this is also something that we really appreciate.
It’s important that you are able to balance your time and several tasks at once, the everyday life at CGI is very dynamic. So you need to enjoy an everyday life that’s active, and gain energy from a working style like that.
Mathilde (CGI): Our dream scenario of a perfect candidate is someone who’s able to go out and interact with clients from day one, contributing with work that can be seen in the business – which is also great for the talents, because then they can see that they are also making a difference with their work.
Not all of our candidates are comfortable doing this though, and for some it can be a big change making the transfer from university to a full time job, where you are not taught in the same structured way. At CGI we like to look at the way we learn new things with a 70-20-10 model where 70% of what you learn is out in the real world – we will although still make sure to teach you a lot and you will have workshops and courses, but it is not the majority of our focus.
Morten (CGI): Another thing I look at is humbleness. I know it sounds weird, but our candidates will be in an organization where they will be around mentors and experienced colleagues, and they need to be able to receive feedback from them. This doesn’t mean that our talents cannot express their opinion, but they should do it in a well-mannered way.
Actually what I look at the least is the grades. We look a little bit at them in the screening process, but once you’re through there, we don’t necessarily care if your GPA is 7 or 12.
Mathilde (CGI): This is actually something that is evident throughout the entire organization. We focus on employing the actual person and really look for their personality to see if we think that it is a fit for CGI. Some candidates might not have the best grades but they might be the ones where we see the best match and the ones who would thrive the best amongst clients.
Of course, we always acknowledge the hard work that you need to put in to get good grades, and we definitely also want those candidates – it’s just not the only thing that we look at. This, also because we focus a lot on the work life balance, so you also need to fit in to a culture where there is room for diversity.
And once you’ve sent through your CV and Cover letter, what’s the process then?
Morten (CGI): So what we typically do is we get all the applications and then we do a screening and pick around maybe 30. Those 30 applicants are then invited for an interview and here we see if there’s a common understanding between us. We see how good of a match there is through dialogue and look at their personality and their drive. Then we cut around 50% off, and then HR come in and do a personality profile at the second interview where focus is on the results of the profile and to learn more about them both personally and academically. We actually also use this to put together the team and make sure they complement each other. After the second interview, we decide, whom we will offer the job.
Of course, sometimes things change, but this is the way we usually do it.
It is also on purpose that nobody is being cognitively tested because we believe that it’s really important to look at the person instead. We will teach you what you need learn to strengthen and expand your professional knowledge – as long as you have been in a related field of study and is driven by being a part of CGI and the work we do.
Are there any considerations that you should have made? Something to think about before applying?
Morten (CGI): Even though we said earlier that days at CGI are dynamic, there are still quiet periods, so it is important that we hire talents that are able to motivate themselves also. They need to be able to use the extra time that they have wisely, because sometimes there will be pauses in between projects. Usually we don’t really have any problems with our young talents, something I would credit to the fact that we focus so much on hiring the person behind and making sure that they are the right fit for us. At the moment, if there is a break, our current young talents make sure to educate themselves.
Wow I’m sure that this has been some really good advice for anyone thinking of applying at CGI! Do you have any final advice to give them?
Mathilde (CGI): I think it’s important to see our Talent Program as an investment in your career. You are prepared in a completely different way. Where you have an outstanding opportunity to create a really great network and experience a steep learning curve. In addition, there is also all the extra training you get.
Besides this, when you’re at CGI, you get a permanent contract without an end date – that’s something quite special.
Morten (CGI): I have been in the IT business for quite some years, and I think you should consider where the IT business is headed – and my prediction is that it is only going forward. CGI has around 80 thousand employees and we can do everything within IT and therefore you’re also able to get a broad palette of knowledge. This environment with different young people in the same boat as you is so rewarding and gives you a smoother beginning of your career.
You get to work in an international company where your opinion matters and where you have an impact. With CGI’s international offset your opportunities are endless at CGI.
So remember! Deadline on the 1st of May!
A huge thanks to Mathilde and Morten from CGI! Graduateships and CGI wish you all the best with your applications.
Check https://www.cgi.dk/da/talent for applying and more information about the different talent openings!