Living in Sweden: Job Interview Tips
Now that it is the end of summer, people are returning back to work and also applying for jobs again. Despite the recession, many companies are hiring, especially anything IT related. And many of these companies are welcoming to foreigners.
I was surfing through the official job site in Sweden, Arbetsförmedlingen, that is branch responsible to get unemployed people employed, foreigners into the workforce, and provide tips and information. What I noticed is a lot of the information and preparation for a job interview in Sweden is similar to the US (and I presume UK).
In my previous post about job interviews, I discussed the difference between US and Sweden are ‘situation’ problem questions rarely arise in Swedish interviews. As I’ve experienced several job interviews here, that seems to be the case.
A job interview in Sweden is more about exploring your personality, qualities, and how well you work with others. You won’t be berated with logic questions but you still need to know about the company and WHY you want the job.
Before the Interview
Prepare for the interview
- Find out as much as you can about the company.
- Think about what you want out of the job and interview.
- Make a list of questions you may receive and prepare responses. This is best to do! You can use these for any interview.
- Write down any questions you would ask.
- Think through how you want the employer to find you (behavior, dress).
- Keep the employer’s phone number on hand so you can call if anything happens.
- Agree with the interviewer’s time. Don’t make them jump through hoops to find a time that suits you.
What to Bring
- Copies of your application documents, certificates and testimonials
- Any work samples
- Planning calendar, notepad and pen
- List of own prepared questions and notes about the company and its products and services
At the Interview
Questions you will receive
- Tell us about yourself – Place emphasis on the last few years and do not talk too long.
- Why have you applied for this job? – Employers want to know how interested you are to work and how much you know about the company. Describe what interests you at work and pick up your work experience, education and characteristics.
- What do you know about us? – Emphasize what is most important based on what you found out about it. Be brief.
- Why did you move to Sweden?
- Do you know Swedish?
- Is it easy to learn new things?
- Can you take criticism?
- Can you solve problems?
- Can you give some examples of problems you have solved?
- What are you most proud of?
- Can you tell us of something really good that you made?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- How do you find a good colleague to be?
- Can you tell us about any mistakes you made and what you learned from it?
- How would your friends describe you?
- How would your boss describe you?
- How does your group describe you?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses? – Always asked
- What makes you happy at work?
- How do you handle stress and time pressure?
- Why should we hire you? – Always asked
Tip: Prepare answers to ALL these questions. This way you have several hours at home to peacefully ponder them and have great responses.
When you Speak
- Be honest – tell the truth.
- Never criticize a former boss or employer.
- Speak well of former colleagues, bosses, customers, businesses and products.
- Remember that your body language means a lot – a time for you, have energy in your movements and a positive attitude.
- Keep eye contact.
- Never show that you are in desperate need of a job.
- Never talk about your private problems.
- Do not reply to a question if you have not understood it correctly – ask for an explanation.
- Find out the next step in the recruitment process before you proceed.
- End your interview with a smile, a thank you and a firm handshake.
After the Interview
- Send a thank you letter by email or mail (depending on your industry)
- Don’t berate them with calls or emails about the job unless they did not get back to you in the appropriate time.
- Keep your references on hand. The employer may want to call them.
And if this interview doesn’t work out, then the next interview will. Be positive and interested!
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