“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”

Screenshot 2019-05-05 at 21.48.08

Sofia Broberger, Sourcing Trainer, Speaker & Consultant

Recruiter Tip: Parental leave is standard non-negotiable – do not treat as a perk

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Social Equality

“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

Swedish Midsummer

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

Screenshot 2019-05-05 at 22.04.26

Recruiter Tip: Get involved!

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Communication Style

“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”

Screenshot 2019-05-05 at 22.26.40

Recruiter Tip: Recruiting is likely to be highly seasonal – July is holiday for most of Sweden

working for less makes for better workers


“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.”

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Recruiter Tip: Target education qualifications when sourcing

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Personal Branding

“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

Employment Law

“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”

STOCKHOLM 20071026
Högsta domstolen på Riddarhustorget 
Foto Leif R Jansson / SCANPIX / kod 10120

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!

ServiceDescription%age cited
LinkedInProfessional social network72.22%
IndeedJob board /  aggregator38.89%
FacebookSocial network22.22%
ArbetsförmedlingenSwedish Public Employment Service; free job posting for employers16.67%
IngenjörsjobbSpecialist job board & careers site for engineers16.67%
UptrailOnline marketplace (tech / digital)16.67%
BlocketOnline classifieds site, similar to Craigslist / Gumtree5.56%
eworkOnline marketplace (consultancy)5.56%
Ny TeknikTech news magazine, with job listings (tech / digital)5.56%
JobtipTargeted social ads5.56%
ServiceDescription%age cited
LinkedInProfessional social network100%
GithubCollaboration software (engineers)38.89%
StackoverflowDeveloper Q&A site (engineers)22.22%
FacebookSocial network16.67%
MeetupSocial network (casual events) 16.67%
GooglePresumably using X-ray search16.67%
MonsterCandidate database5.56%
SverigesIngenjörSwedish Association of Graduate Engineers5.56%
TwitterSocial network5.56%
BehanceSocial network (design)5.56%
DribbbleSocial network (design)5.56%
ServiceDescription%age cited
HR Get to Work NätverkNetworking events by this HR consulting company22.22%
Sveriges HR FöreningSwedish HR Association22.22%
Working for ChangeNational conference and foundation5.56%
Women In TechCommunity with a focus on diversity in tech5.56%
West Sweden Chamber of CommerceGovernment body5.56%
RekryteringsnördarTranslates as ‘Recruitment geeks / nerds’ – meetup group5.56%
Mitt Liv AB‘My `Life’ – a social non-for-profit company and community5.56%
ServiceDescription%age cited
Don’t know27.78%
HR Get to Work NätverkHR Consulting business with community / events focus22.22%
Stockholm Talent SummitAnnual TA conference – maybe the main one in Sweden11.11%
Working for ChangeNational foundation and conference 5.56%
Woman In TechDiversity in tech members group5.56%
The HR-days (HR-dagarna)Events series by Swedish HR Association5.56%
Rekryteringsnördar meetupsCommunity organised meetup group5.56%
Home of RecruitmentConsultancy business with events / community focus5.56%
PersonJob title%age cited
Sofia BrobergerFreelance Tech Recruiter and Sourcing trainer27.78%
Svante RandlertAuthor / speaker / podcast host11.11%
Alexander TonelliHead of Talent, Columbus Sweden5.56%
Aron ÖstergårdTalent Acquisition & HRBP Sogeti Sweden5.56%
Åsa DaxbergDirector Talent Attraction, ICA Gruppen5.56%
Carl-Rafael FredsonFounder, Your Extended Team5.56%
Elin FilippHR Manager at ReachMee5.56%
Elin Öberg MartenzonChief Innovation Officer at TNG 5.56%
Emmanuelle FloquetProject Manager at Working for Change5.56%
Erik CedergrenCEO at RecPro5.56%
Frida ModigHead of Headhunting at Stockholm Headhunting5.56%
Heidi ErshultTA Lead at Nordnet Bank AB5.56%
Helene HagmanDigital Marketing Recruiter at Jerrie AB5.56%
Josefin MalmerPartner, HOME of Recruitment5.56%
Katarina Stehn Exec Search Consultant at ESK5.56%
Linus ZackrissonLecturer / Recruiter at Optimal Advice AB5.56%
Maria NilzonRecruiter at Jerrie AB5.56%
Markus KoppariInterim Recruiter at ICA Gruppen5.56%
Martin ErikssonStaffing Partner at Google5.56%
Per TjernbergTalent Acquisition Manager at Knightec AB5.56%
Pia-Maria ThorénFounder, Agile People5.56%
Rodrigo GarayFounder, Working for Change Foundation5.56%
ProviderCount%age cited
Don’t know527.78%
Sofia Broberger316.67%
HOME Of Recruitment211.11%
Wise Proffesionals211.11%
Cut-e (Aon)15.56%
Linus Zackrisson15.56%
Recruitment Professionals15.56%
SchoolDescription%age cited
Kungliga Tekniska HögskolanKTH Royal Institute of Technology27.78%
Chalmers UniversitetChalmers University of Technology22.22%
Lunds UniversitetLund University11.11%
Uppsala UniversitetUppsala University11.11%
Stockholm UniversitetStockholm University5.56%
HandelshögskolanStockholm School of Economics5.56%
Göteborgs UniversitetGothenberg University5.56%
Luleå Tekniska UniversitetLuleå University of Technology (LTU)5.56%
Blekinge Institute of TechnologyBlekinge Institute of Technology5.56%
Karolinska InstitutetKarolinska Institute (Medical University)5.56%
Don’t know422.22%
Academic Work211.11%
Made for Sales211.11%
Wells rekrytering15.56%
Don’t know722.22%
A Society15.56%
Duo Search15.56%
Ehrenborg Recruiting15.56%
Head Agent15.56%
Sigma Recruit15.56%
Wise IT15.56%
Skills & Talent15.56%
Don’t know633.33%
K2 Search211.11%
Harvey Nash15.56%
Heidrick & Struggles15.56%
Ehrenborg Recruiting15.56%
PS Executive15.56%
Wise IT15.56%
Don’t know18633.33%
Agile Search1815.56%
Hudson RPO1815.56%
Randstad Sourceright1815.56%
Recruitment Professionals1815.56%
Wise Professionals1815.56%
Don’t know18738.89%
400 Contacts1815.56%
Indeed Prime1815.56%
Ny Teknik1815.56%
Don’t know18633.33%
Future Skill1815.56%

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?

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LinkedIn for active sourcing?

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Email as preferred channel for candidate first contact

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‘Not enough candidates’ as main problem in hiring

Screenshot 2019-05-06 at 17.40.54

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

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