A job hunt in Sweden can move at super speeds. You might get an offer only one or two weeks after you applied for that job… or you might hear back 2 months after you submitted your application.
How long your job hunt lasts depends on a lot of factors, but it’s nice to know what to expect from the process. So what does the Swedish job process look like from start to finish?
If you want to know what your chances of success are at each major stage, check out How to Measure your Job Search Success Rate.
What you’ll need: A resume; A cover letter; A professional photo
The application stage is pretty straight forward. Find a job you like, submit your coverletter and resume to the company, then wait for a response.
If you don’t know where to look for jobs, you should check out my Resources Page for some useful job boards.
What you’ll need: Knowledge about the role and the company; Practice answering basic interview questions
Your first interaction with your employer will almost always be via email. You’ll get an email to set up a phone call – and this is your screening interview. At this stage, you’ll be asked basic questions about your qualifications and fit.
These interviews are usually conducted by recruiters, who either work for the company you’re applying to or who were hired by that company to do this part of the candidate search.
Recruiters don’t have an in-depth understanding of the role or the qualifications required – they’re not experts in your field. As a results, the questions are often generic and follow the job description very closely.
Make sure you’re ready to answer basic questions about the company, the role and your qualifications and motivations. You probably won’t get any curveball questions at this stage.
What you’ll need: Depends on the tests – but a bit of logic goes a long way
Online tests are really popular in Sweden, especially for entry-level roles. They come either before the initial screening or after it.
Depending on your field, you may be asked to complete an online personality test, logic test, math test or some other problem-solving test.
These tests reduce the candidate pool and make it easier for the hiring manager to decide between a smaller number of candidates.
The level of difficulty varies a lot between different tests. If you’re interviewing for an very analytical role, you might get something more challenging. But for most roles you can except a fairly easy test.
Logic tests are the most common and there are many online sites where you can practice.
What you’ll need: Some serious interview prep, A list of questions to ask at the end
In Sweden, most roles have more than one round of interviews. Your first interview will usually be with your future boss. You may also interview with future teammates and, if things are getting serious, with the boss’s boss.
Another type of interview you may encounter is the case interview, where you’re given some problem or scenario to solve. Case interviews are really common in Sweden and range from basic to extremely difficult.
If an employer tells you there will be a case interview, don’t be afraid to ask them questions about it! The more you know about the case, the better you can prepare. While they won’t tell you exactly what the case is about, they will give you other helpful information (like if it’s one full business case where you’re expected to prepare a presentation or if it’s a few small scenarios you need to talk through) .
It’s always important to ask what the next steps are. This takes away any guess-work, helps you prepare better and calms any interview nerves you may have.
Offer and Negotiations
Congratulations! The hiring manager or recruiter contacted you to extend an offer of employment. At this point you’ll talk money, benefits and start date.
Now it’s also the time to negotiate. You have the most leverage at this point because they’ve already decided to hire you, but you haven’t accepted the offer yet.
You might be worried about losing the offer if you try to negotiate. The reality is employers understand that negotiation is part of the game. No sane employer will pull an offer due to reasonable negotiation on the candidates part. So don’t forget to try a little negotiation before accepting the offer.
If you’re not sure how to go about it, check out Everything You Ever Wondered About Negotiating Salary from Alison Green who writes the Ask A Manager Blog.
Something that might surprise you when you get the offer is the really long trial period that’s common in Sweden. Most employers have a 6-month probationary period before you become a full-fledged employee. They want to make sure you’re a good fit because it’s difficult to fire someone after this probationary time.
It is possible to negotiate this clause out and to start without a probationary period. An employer might be willing to drop the probationary period if they really want you and you’re working someone where now.
I hope you now know what to expect in Sweden! Every employer has their own process, but for the most part it will look something like this. Of course when you do start the interview process with an employer, don’t be afraid to ask them for a clear timeline and process.