“För Sverige – i tiden”
Who contributed to this guide?
We are fortunate to have 238 brainfooders resident in Sweden, 18 of whom answered the call. We have contributions from 10 internal recruiters, 5 recruitment agents, 1 HR manager and 1 Management Consultant. The dominance of the big city was apparently with all but 1 (shout out to Lulea!) of the contributors coming from the ‘big 4’ of Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo or Uppsala. The data you will find the rest of the guide comes from these 18 brainfooders.
What category best describes your work?
What city or town do you currently reside in?
What industry sectors do you have recruiting experience in?
Insights from Local Swedish Recruiters
We asked all respondents to anonymously contribute their thoughts on working and recruiting in Sweden. All but one of the contributors were Swedish nationals and all but one of them still lived and worked in Sweden. Here is a summary of their best quotes, followed by advice to a non-native recruiter derived from that insight.
Extensive Parental Leave
“Sweden has one of the most progressive parental leave policies in the world – 480 days paid leave are shared between the two parents. 3 months must be taken by each parent. The remaining days can be shared between the two parents as they agree. Same sex couples get the same deal (of course!).
Furthermore, when the child is born, the dad (or parent not giving birth) gets 10 days paid leave. This is additional to the 480 days. The law also applies if you adopt. Before the child turns 1 you the parents can have time off at the same time, but a maximum of 30 days”
Recruiter Tip: Parental leave is standard non-negotiable – do not treat as a perk
“Sweden is a highly liberalised country with permissive cultural values; there is no debate on the topic of equality, language is ‘politically correct’ and there is no value at all attached to those who break these rules.
Indeed, contravention of these social norms is deeply frowned up, edging toward taboo.
Paradoxically, a place where language would be policed if you did not accept liberal approach”
Recruiter Tip: Respect how important human and equal rights are in Sweden
Midsummer is an important holiday for Swedes.
It is always on the first Friday closest to the summer solstice, the timing a legacy of pagan rituals which continue to permeate in modern Swedish culture.
As a friend of mine said ‘Modern Swedish culture is basically secular with Christian baseline and pagan vibes’.
Swedish Midsummer is meant to be taken outdoors and away from the cities.
Check out this video on what it’s all about
Recruiter Tip: Get involved!
“Swedes will ask for things politely so it seems optional but they really expect the work to be done. It is important to ask for clarification about the expected deadline and how important the task is, since some requests are made in such a polite way that they seem unimportant.
Similarly, we also do not give a lot of direct feedback. In groups and face-to-face, it is generally positive and nice, but it is hard to really know whether people think you are doing a good job or require correction”
Recruiter Tip: Clearly confirm understanding, especially on expectations, deadlines and outcomes
Work Life / Balance
“Work / Life balance is unambiguously clear in Swedish office culture – life comes first, especially if it involves family!
Staying late is unexpected and unrewarded, and is more likely to be considered a failure to prioritise rather than any commitment to the work or the employer. Overtime is also expected to be paid for, not voluntarily donated. Suffice it to say, weekend work and ‘always on’ culture is not present in Sweden.
Minimum is 25 days paid holiday a year, with 11 public holidays. You can of course have a contract giving you more”
Recruiter Tip: Recruiting is likely to be highly seasonal – July is holiday for most of Sweden
“I find absenteeism can be a problem in Sweden.
We Swedes have a lot of flexibility to come to work and leave when we need to, but people can leave very early to pick up kids, and or stay home to take care of sick kids. Of course family is priority but it can be hard to plan ahead as a result of these values being common.
People also do not go the extra mile to come early for an event or to have “”all hands on deck”” for an important team effort – the 40-hour (or less) workweek is sacred, so it can be impossible to accomplish something on a short deadline with everyone staying late”
Recruiter Tip: Unanticipated deadlines might be difficult to resource. Pre-planning is essential
“Many excellent Swedish candidates have sparse CVs and even sparser LinkedIn profiles because Swedish recruiters and employers know what specific degrees, schools, and certifications are a signal of talent.
Some Swedish employers will only want to see candidates who have gone to certain schools, worked at certain companies (and not others), and have specific certifications. Whereas in the US a English or political science major with top grades might be recruited by an investment banking firm, Swedish employers are reluctant to look at candidates who have changed careers, have followed unconventional paths, or have educational training from unrecognized places. Self-taught individuals have a challenge finding work.”
Recruiter Tip: Target education qualifications when sourcing
“There is some sense that the consensual, egalitarian and “jantelag” meaning you can’t brag or aim publicly for success. There seems to be a taboo about standing out too much (“”ta för mycket plats”” – take up too much space) in the workplace. Colleagues may not appreciate ambition, out of the box ideas, working extra, etc. It is the norm to try to fit in, not make too many waves, not stand out too much, do a good job, and not take individual credit for accomplishments. Social expectation is to the collective endeavour and so this may inhibit personal branding efforts. This represents a potential handicap in an increasingly networked and globalised economy”
Recruiter Tip: Do not mistake lack of prominence for lack of competence or influence
“Lagen om AnställningsSkydd” translates as “The law of employment protection”. The law is set out to protect the employee, not the employer. Employment contracts usually have a 6 month trial period, during which either employer or employee can terminate the contract for no reason. After 6 months it automatically becomes permanent and it will be difficult for the employer to fire the employee, even if they are poor performers. Labour unions are very strong in Sweden and have a lot of influence”
Recruiter Tip: Invest more time in building relationships with HM’s
“Literally ‘coffee and cake break’, Fika is an important feature of Swedish culture, specifically the idea of taking a pause, and socialising with your teammates. It is important for foreigners to participate fully in this!”
Recruiter Tip: Relax and enjoy!
Best sites, tools, communities, events & people
The purpose of these guides is collect information from local recruiters. As such, the following list(s) of services describes the responses of these recruiters when asked questions which usually began with the formula ‘what is the best X’. All services mentioned are listed, with the order determined by frequency of citation. It’s the verdict of the local recruiters with no editorialising from brainfood!
|Professional social network||72.22%|
|Indeed||Job board / aggregator||38.89%|
|Arbetsförmedlingen||Swedish Public Employment Service; free job posting for employers||16.67%|
|Ingenjörsjobb||Specialist job board & careers site for engineers||16.67%|
|Uptrail||Online marketplace (tech / digital)||16.67%|
|Blocket||Online classifieds site, similar to Craigslist / Gumtree||5.56%|
|ework||Online marketplace (consultancy)||5.56%|
|Ny Teknik||Tech news magazine, with job listings (tech / digital)||5.56%|
|Jobtip||Targeted social ads||5.56%|
|Professional social network||100%|
|Github||Collaboration software (engineers)||38.89%|
|Stackoverflow||Developer Q&A site (engineers)||22.22%|
|Meetup||Social network (casual events)||16.67%|
|Presumably using X-ray search||16.67%|
|SverigesIngenjör||Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers||5.56%|
|Behance||Social network (design)||5.56%|
|Dribbble||Social network (design)||5.56%|
|HR Get to Work Nätverk||Networking events by this HR consulting company||22.22%|
|Sveriges HR Förening||Swedish HR Association||22.22%|
|Working for Change||National conference and foundation||5.56%|
|Women In Tech||Community with a focus on diversity in tech||5.56%|
|West Sweden Chamber of Commerce||Government body||5.56%|
|Rekryteringsnördar||Translates as ‘Recruitment geeks / nerds’ – meetup group||5.56%|
|Mitt Liv AB||‘My `Life’ – a social non-for-profit company and community||5.56%|
|HR Get to Work Nätverk||HR Consulting business with community / events focus||22.22%|
|Stockholm Talent Summit||Annual TA conference – maybe the main one in Sweden||11.11%|
|Working for Change||National foundation and conference||5.56%|
|Woman In Tech||Diversity in tech members group||5.56%|
|The HR-days (HR-dagarna)||Events series by Swedish HR Association||5.56%|
|Rekryteringsnördar meetups||Community organised meetup group||5.56%|
|Home of Recruitment||Consultancy business with events / community focus||5.56%|
|Person||Job title||%age cited|
|Sofia Broberger||Freelance Tech Recruiter and Sourcing trainer||27.78%|
|Svante Randlert||Author / speaker / podcast host||11.11%|
|Alexander Tonelli||Head of Talent, Columbus Sweden||5.56%|
|Aron Östergård||Talent Acquisition & HRBP Sogeti Sweden||5.56%|
|Åsa Daxberg||Director Talent Attraction, ICA Gruppen||5.56%|
|Carl-Rafael Fredson||Founder, Your Extended Team||5.56%|
|Elin Filipp||HR Manager at ReachMee||5.56%|
|Elin Öberg Martenzon||Chief Innovation Officer at TNG||5.56%|
|Emmanuelle Floquet||Project Manager at Working for Change||5.56%|
|Erik Cedergren||CEO at RecPro||5.56%|
|Frida Modig||Head of Headhunting at Stockholm Headhunting||5.56%|
|Heidi Ershult||TA Lead at Nordnet Bank AB||5.56%|
|Helene Hagman||Digital Marketing Recruiter at Jerrie AB||5.56%|
|Josefin Malmer||Partner, HOME of Recruitment||5.56%|
|Katarina Stehn||Exec Search Consultant at ESK||5.56%|
|Linus Zackrisson||Lecturer / Recruiter at Optimal Advice AB||5.56%|
|Maria Nilzon||Recruiter at Jerrie AB||5.56%|
|Markus Koppari||Interim Recruiter at ICA Gruppen||5.56%|
|Martin Eriksson||Staffing Partner at Google||5.56%|
|Per Tjernberg||Talent Acquisition Manager at Knightec AB||5.56%|
|Pia-Maria Thorén||Founder, Agile People||5.56%|
|Rodrigo Garay||Founder, Working for Change Foundation||5.56%|
|HOME Of Recruitment||2||11.11%|
|Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan||KTH Royal Institute of Technology||27.78%|
|Chalmers Universitet||Chalmers University of Technology||22.22%|
|Lunds Universitet||Lund University||11.11%|
|Uppsala Universitet||Uppsala University||11.11%|
|Stockholm Universitet||Stockholm University||5.56%|
|Handelshögskolan||Stockholm School of Economics||5.56%|
|Göteborgs Universitet||Gothenberg University||5.56%|
|Luleå Tekniska Universitet||Luleå University of Technology (LTU)||5.56%|
|Blekinge Institute of Technology||Blekinge Institute of Technology||5.56%|
|Karolinska Institutet||Karolinska Institute (Medical University)||5.56%|
|Skills & Talent||1||5.56%|
|Made for Sales||2||11.11%|
|Skills & Talent||1||5.56%|
|Heidrick & Struggles||1||5.56%|
How does Sweden compare vs the Rest of the World?
The methodology is based frequency of citation / number of contributors to generate a percentage of the responder population which made the citation. This ‘frequency score’ is compared against other countries and against global averages.
Percentage of respondents who cited LinkedIn as a primary source for active sourcing
LinkedIn for posting jobs?
LinkedIn for active sourcing?
Email as preferred channel for candidate first contact
‘Not enough candidates’ as main problem in hiring
If I was hiring in Sweden right now, I would…..
1. Join the HR Get to Work Network
2. Make friends with Sofia Broberger
3. Buy a ticket to Stockholm TA Summit
4. Embrace Fika culture
5. Plan on a Aug-June hiring cycle
6. Tighten up prioritisation & time management
7. Ensure to reconfirm & clarify on expectations and deadlines
8. Find someone to invite me to midsummer party
9. Over index on academics qualifications on candidate search
10. Learn a little Swedish and have kids
“For Sweden – with the Times”