JobTalk Sweden

Five golden rules for a Swedish job interview

Five golden rules for a Swedish job interview
The dreaded wait for a job interview. Photo:Shutterstock.
You've landed a job interview at a Swedish company, but how should you approach it? Peter Helin - Marketing Coordinator at - has given his top tips to The Local.
1. Imagine you're on a first date

Photo: Shutterstock
"The whole thing is like dating and the job application process itself is like online dating," says Helin. "Job seekers are drawn to both jobs that they are attracted to and companies that share similar interests and values. Employers will get the best first impression from candidates with suitable backgrounds who have written a cover letter that fits their own tone, interests and values. 
And – just like with a date – if your interview is just them shooting questions at you for an hour then you won't know them at all. It would be a pretty bad date, right?
It should be more of a conversation and you should walk away with them thinking they want to marry you. If you're really stuck for a good question, just ask them if they like their own job. But do your homework and come up with a few relevant things beforehand."
2. Network, network, network. 

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"Find out in advance if there's any mutual friends or connections you have with the interviewer or if you have any friends, old colleagues or study buddies that work for the company you are interviewing for.
It’s a small world and chances that you can find a second degree connection that can give you a head-start in the hiring process.
Check your social media circuit and look them up on LinkedIn. Another good way to network is to visit career events in your industry in order to get face time with top employers and also get a feel for your own market value at the same time."
3. Be careful talking about your strengths 
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"Ah, the age old question of "What's your strength". No one wants to brag, so tread delicately here. Your best bet is to answer from another perspective," says Helin.
"Say: "Well if you ask my wife or a colleague, who'd be a pretty good judge, they’d probably say that I am a good team player that makes sure that a task or project is completed on time and with great quality. They might also say that I am a solutions driven person with a positive attitude."
4. Be even more careful with your weaknesses 

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"When it comes to weaknesses, you can't very well say you don't have any – that would be weird, and probably untrue. The best bet is to turn a weakness into a positive. Say you're detail oriented. Say you can be quite detailed focused and that you sometimes spend too much time getting something perfect.
Maybe it goes without saying but trying to use this reverse psychology and lessen your own weaknesses by saying something like “I don’t have a lot of patience for people who do not work to my high standards” is a big no no. For you as a candidate, this would only serve as a double negative as it will show that a) you are impatient and b) you are also a poor team player."
5. Dress for Success. 
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"If you ever think "am I under-dressed?" then you probably are, Peter says.
"Swedes are particular about office wear and clothes in general. The golden rule here is that you should be over-dressed until you get a confirmation that it's ok to be casual. Even if its an IT consultancy firm with jeans and converse, that doesn't apply for you until the recruiter says otherwise. Let me stress – no converse for the first interview.
Stick with dress shoes and a suit jacket. Be overdressed rather than under-dressed."
If you're in Malmö, why not come along and meet Peter and The Local's founder Paul Rapacioli, both of whom will be at the free Career Days event in the Malmö Arena on October 17th. Click here for tickets. For more from, click here

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