Convince us James Blunt isn’t awful if you want a job, Swedish company demands

A Swedish company has created a terrifyingly tough test for their next aspiring employee: convince the entire office to listen to James Blunt if you want the job.

Convince us James Blunt isn't awful if you want a job, Swedish company demands
James Blunt pictured in Stockholm in 2014. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Borg & Owilli content agency's advert for a new account manager explains that “along with a cover letter and CV, the test for the job is to sell us James Blunt”.

“Can you convince us that half the planet is way off the mark and James Blunt's new pop album is absolutely world class? We're looking for people with a creative streak, but also someone who is such a good seller they can convince the entire office that James Blunt's new album should be played through the speakers on repeat,” the ad expands.

The person behind the idea is one of the company's partners, David Borg.

“It was my idea. We previously had difficult job tests linked to current events. Last year we had a test where people had to convince our colleague who is an American to vote for Donald Trump instead of Hillary Clinton in the election,” he told The Local.

“Now that the world's worst and most pointless artist has released a new album, we thought it fit well.”

Blunt's music has a reputation for being divisive (the artist has frequently made jokes at his own expense in that regard), so the test is intentionally designed to be a challenge.

“The key to success is to sell his pointless emptiness as really being deep poetry. That won’t be easy,” Borg explained.

The successful candidate will have to convince a “Got Talent” style jury of Blunt's merits. And crucially, the judges all have one thing in common:

“We're going to have a three person jury. Everyone hates James Blunt equally.”

Blunt's albums have sold millions of copies worldwide, so even if these Swedes aren't fond of him, some people clearly are.

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Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

A reader got in touch to ask how long he had to work in Sweden before he was eligible for a pension. Here are Sweden's pension rules, and how you can get your pension when the time comes.

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

The Swedish pension is part of the country’s social insurance system, and it can seem like a confusing beast at times. The good news is that if you’re living and working here, you’ll almost certainly be earning towards a pension, and you’ll be able to get that money even if you move elsewhere before retirement.

You will start earning your Swedish general pension, or allmän pension, once you’ve earned over 20,431 kronor in a single year, and – for almost all kinds of pension in Sweden – there is no time limit on how long you must have lived in Sweden before you are eligible.

The exception is the minimum guarantee pension, or garantipension, which you can receive whether you’ve worked or not. To be eligible at all for this, you need to have lived in Sweden for a period of at least three years before you are 65 years old. 

“There’s a limit, but it’s a money limit,” Johan Andersson, press secretary at the Swedish Pension Agency told The Local about the general pension. “When you reach the point that you start paying tax, you start paying into your pension.”

“But you have to apply for your pension, make sure you get in touch with us when you want to start receiving it,” he said.

Here’s our in-depth guide on how you can maximise your Swedish pension, even if you’re only planning on staying in Sweden short-term.

Those who spend only a few years working in Sweden will earn a much smaller pension than people who work here for their whole lives, but they are still entitled to something – people who have worked in Sweden will keep their income pension, premium pension, supplementary pension and occupational pension that they have earned in Sweden, even if they move to another country. The pension is paid no matter where in the world you live, but must be applied for – it is not automatically paid out at retirement age.

If you retire in the EU/EEA, or another country with which Sweden has a pension agreement, you just need to apply to the pension authority in your country of residence in order to start drawing your Swedish pension. If you live in a different country, you should contact the Swedish Pensions Agency for advice on accessing your pension, which is done by filling out a form (look for the form called Ansök om allmän pension – om du är bosatt utanför Sverige).

The agency recommends beginning the application process at least three months before you plan to take the pension, and ideally six months beforehand if you live abroad. It’s possible to have the pension paid into either a Swedish bank account or an account outside Sweden.

A guarantee pension – for those who live on a low income or no income while in Sweden – can be paid to those living in Sweden, an EU/EEA country, Switzerland or, in some cases, Canada. This is the only Swedish pension which is affected by how long you’ve lived in Sweden – you can only receive it if you’ve lived in the country for at least three years before the age of 65.

“The guarantee pension is residence based,” Andersson said. “But it’s lower if you haven’t lived in Sweden for at least 40 years. You are eligible for it after living in Sweden for only three years, but it won’t be that much.”