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The secret to landing your dream job at a Swedish tech startup

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The secret to landing your dream job at a Swedish tech startup
Massive Entertainment in Malmö. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT
12:16 CET+01:00
Five of Sweden's best-known tech and gaming companies and startups share their insider tips about what they look for in international talent – and whether or not you have to be able to speak Swedish.

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Avalanche Studios

Gaming studio Avalanche focuses on open world projects. It is behind games such as the Just Cause franchise, Mad Max, Renegade Ops and free-to-play theHunter. Founded by Christofer Sundberg and Linus Blomberg in 2003, it today employs more than 270 people with offices in Stockholm and New York.


Questions answered by Åsa Wilson, chief people officer. Photo: Avalanche Studios

What qualities do you look for in an employee?

We always aim to hire not only people with the right competence, but also people whom we feel are a great culture fit. For us at Avalanche Studios it all comes down to our values: courage, craftsmanship, and passion. In regard to competence, it really helps if you have worked with open world games, since that is at the core of everything we do.

Our culture is focused around including each other and allowing everyone to have an impact both on individual projects, as well as the company development. No matter what level you are at, we work together as a team. Everyone's voice is heard. This offers great opportunities to be challenged and to feel that you contribute to where we are heading as a company. Avalanche Studios is also considered a solid workplace when it comes to work-life balance and respecting our staff's valuable time outside of work.

How many foreign-born workers do you have?

We are roughly one third non-native staff at Avalanche Studios in Stockholm.

Do you have to be able to speak Swedish? 

Swedish is not required since our corporate language is English. This feels entirely natural to us, given that we have a studio in New York and work with people from all parts of the world. We do encourage expats to integrate and learn the Swedish language for their own sake, and to help with that, Avalanche Studios provides free Swedish lessons at our studio for both employees and their partners.

If I want to work for you, what should I do?

Start by checking out our career site and apply for the role that best fits your profile. It is also a plus if you attach your portfolio and a well-written cover letter. We value your passion for games and game development highly, so presenting personal projects can be a great way show off what you are capable of achieving. In many of our job descriptions, we also offer the opportunity to take a test, where you can demonstrate your skills more broadly. Best of luck.

Do you offer any relocation help for new employees who are moving to Sweden from abroad?

Yes! Moving to a new country is a big step and we want to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible. We work with a relocation agency that provides support with relocation, housing search, move of goods, visas and more.


Avalanche Studios founders Christofer Sundberg and Linus Blomberg. Photo: Avalance Studios

Klarna

Klarna was founded by Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth and Victor Jacobsson in 2005. It employs 1,700 people and is one of Sweden's most successful fintech startups, representing ten percent of the e-trading market share in northern Europe with around 650,000 transactions a day.


Klarna's headquarters in Stockholm. Questions answered by Simon McDonald, HR Director. Photo: Adam Wrafter/SvD/TT

What qualities do you look for in an employee?

At Klarna we know that our success is down to the people who work here, so we strive to ensure we hire the best. A lot of our roles are different but there are a number of core qualities or traits we do look out for:

  • Attitude. Are you service minded? Will you go the extra mile? Do you show resilience when faced with challenges?
  • Fit. Does the person show curiosity? Passionate about what they do? Take ownership? Adapt easily?
  • Competence. How are your problem-solving skills? Do you have e-commerce/industry knowledge?

How many foreign-born workers do you have?

Klarna is a culturally diverse organization with over 40 percent of employees, based at our HQ in Stockholm, being non-Swedish nationals (spanning 50 different nationalities).

Do you have to be able to speak Swedish?

As we are a global business Klarna's official business language to conduct is English.

If I want to work for you, what should I do?

We are always interested to hear from great people who would be a good fit for Klarna. Take a look at our dedicated Klarna career site. From here you can search for a specific role to suit your skills or just make a general enquiry about working for Klarna.

Do you offer any relocation help for new employees who are moving to Sweden from abroad?

Our focus is finding the best talent, no matter where in the world they may be. We appreciate moving countries for a new role can be a challenging and often complicated experience. Here at Klarna, we have a dedicated Global Mobility team who strive to make the relocation experience as smoooth as possible by providing tailored relocation packages for new recruits.


Klarna co-founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski. Photo: Adam Wrafter/SvD/TT

iZettle

Founded by Jacob de Geer and Magnus Nilsson in 2010, Stockholm-based iZettle developed the first credit card chip reader that connects directly to mobile phones and tablets, designed to help small businesses avoid the cost of till-based systems. It is one of Europe's fastest growing fintech startups.


Questions answered by Anne-Marie Andric, chief HR officer. Photo: iZettle

What qualities do you look for in an employee?

We're looking for employees who bring their uniqueness to iZettle; ambitious people who have a keen appreciation and sixth sense for pixel-perfect design, elegant engineering or take-the-world-by-storm marketing and sales.

How many foreign-born workers do you have?

More than 40 percent of our employees in Stockholm come from outside of Sweden. All in all we have about 45 nationalities working at iZettle in twelve different markets in Europe and Latin America, so we're like a tiny UN. With a diversified workforce, we are able to understand different types of customers better and offer services which meet their specific needs. Equally, a diversified workplace fosters innovation and creativity and brings great energy, speed and fun.

Do you have to be able to speak Swedish?

It's not a requirement to speak Swedish except in a few departments at the Stockholm office, such as the legal team which need to know Swedish law inside and out. English is our daily language so English is a must.

If I want to work for you, what should I do?

Check for open positions at iZettle.com and apply! Hopefully you're a tech wizard or you want to work magic in our other departments, for example finance, legal, sales, marketing, data and analytics, product and HR. The last couple of years we've grown to employ 500 people and we'll continue to grow rapidly, so we're always on the look-out for bright minds.  

Do you offer any relocation help for new employees who are moving to Sweden from abroad?

Of course. If you want to work with the best and brightest you need to recruit from all parts of the world and help them get settled in their new home.


IZettle founder Jacob de Geer. Photo: Lars Pehrsson/SvD/TT

Massive Entertainment

Founded by Martin Walfisz in 1997 and bought by Ubisoft in 2008, it has been a good year for Massive Entertainment in Malmö. The video games developer is known for World in Conflict, Ground Control, Tom Clancy's The Division, and has been chosen to develop a new game based on James Cameron's blockbuster smash hit Avatar. It employs around 400 people of 35 different nationalities.


Questions answered by Magdalena Schultze, HR manager. Photo: Massive Entertainment

What qualities do you look for in an employee?

We look very much for excellent skills in the respective areas – experience is important, but we also take in junior people direct from school or internship. Craftsmanship is one of our most important values and that goes for all job disciplines. To be entrepreneurial, creative and curious are other important assets, but we also want people who are friendly – since we are a family.

How many foreign-born workers do you have?

Around 30 percent.

Do you have to be able to speak Swedish? 

You don't have to speak Swedish (although we offer Swedish-classes) but English is a requirement for all!

If I want to work for you, what should I do?

You should find a good school that provides education in the gaming area, for example The Game Assembly here in Malmö – work hard, get your diploma and apply! And the same goes for all kinds of jobs – we are looking for the best talents!

Do you offer any relocation help for new employees who are moving to Sweden from abroad?

Yes, we have a couple of colleagues working full time with all support needed when moving to Sweden –  everything from paperwork, finding a place to live and arranging onboarding programmes – to Swedish lessons, spouse programmes et cetera.


Massive Entertainment CEO David Polfeldt. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

Truecaller

Truecaller was developed by Alan Mamedi and Nami Zarringhalam in Stockholm in 2009, launched as an app that helps people avoid unwanted calls and messages. It has since boosted its model to include more services, including partnering up with India's ICICI Bank to offer a payment function for users.


Questions answered by Peter Bånkestad from the HR team. Photo: Truecaller

What qualities do you look for in an employee?

We are looking for employees who share our cultural values; Help each other, Never Give up, Be Fearless and Get Sh*t Done. We want people that get motivated by challenges and have the ability to learn, improve and continue going even if something doesn't go the right way at the first try.

And obviously we want to see that our employees share our passion for our products and get a kick from helping hundreds of millions of users around the world in their daily life. 

How many foreign-born workers do you have?

51

Do you have to be able to speak Swedish?

No Swedish skills are needed to work here. Fluency in English is required.

If I want to work for you, what should I do?

Have a look at our career site and see if any of the open roles looks interesting to you! And we always encourage people to reach out to us even if there might not be an open role at the moment - we love proactiveness!

Do you offer any relocation help for new employees who are moving to Sweden from abroad?

Yes, we help out with the visa process, travel to Sweden, the housing/school/kindergarten search, and we also assist our employees with all the practical daily stuff, such as opening up a bank account and getting a personal identification number etc. We want it be a friction-free experience for people to join our company and let them focus on the exciting part of their new journey.


Truecaller founders Nami Zarringhalam and Alan Mamedi. Photo: Adam Wrafter/SvD/TT

READ ALSO: Read more startup news from Sweden here

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