Many people consider Job interviews to be very demanding. Therefore, it really pays off to be well prepared for it. Something that can make it even more difficult is if the conversation is not conducted in your mother tongue.

We received a lot of questions regarding how to prepare for a job interview in another Nordic Country – as the languages are in some respect different. Still there are more similarities than differences. Especially in the interview process. Quite often the first interview is online (Skype, Teams, Zoom or similar). You should consider how you appear - in terms of clothing, body posture, body language and background Image.  Finally, you need to ensure that all the technical details of an online interview cared for (internet bandwidth, program functionality etc.)


Seven good tips for a Nordic interview

 The tips are also related to the questions for the interview. The key message is the importance of being well prepared. 


Check in advance who is participating in the job interview

If you know in advance who will participate during the interview. Research pays of, so look up information about the participants if you have their names on e.g. LinkedIn or Facebook. You can tell a lot about people if you know their background, employment history etc. With that information you also have something to talk about. Also check if you have common acquaintances in your network.  it can be a good icebreaker in the interview – and an opportunity to learn more about the person and the company beforehand. This is relevant for both a physical interview and online interviews.

Exercise: Choose a specific job ad and check out the participants (assume they are involved in the job interview). Check the background of these persons and write down a few facts about them.


Find specific examples, based on your CV and application

Assume that the people interviewing you always want to know more about you than is in the CV and application. If you have written that you are collaborative, prepare an example of how you were just that. Similarly, if you have mentioned your SAP competencies in your CV, prepared examples about that. When preparing these examples - match them with the company needs (as mentioned in the ad) or related them to the company’s products or profile. 

Example: If the employer is looking for an employee who is collaborative, come up with one or more situations where you have collaborated with others in your organization (professionally / socially) to solve a task. Focus on what value it produced. Remember it can be any kind of situation or task.


Research before the interview

Before the interview, find out as much as possible about the workplace. It could be news articles what they work with. This information can be good for an informal conversation / small talk.

In Denmark and Norway, there is often a focus on the more informal discussion before / during / after the job interview (Sociability, likeability, and the ability to improvise). In Sweden, on the other hand, the structure of the interview is often more hierarchical and formalized.

Be aware that the employer probably has googled you and checked your Facebook and / or LinkedIn profile before the interview.


Answer questions – and ask some too!

A good advice is always to have a few questions prepared for the employer, in nine out of ten cases, you will be asked if you have any questions. These questions should reflect your expertise and competencies. In fact, you can score extra points here if, as you can show that you have expertise in your field. It also gives the employer the impression that you understand the challenges of the company.


Have answers prepared for the most common questions

There will always be some questions that are the same in every job interview. It´s a good idea to have prepared answers for these general questions as well as the specific job-related questions. Focus on your motivation for applying specifically for this position.

Some of the questions you are asked can be critical to getting the job or not.  In a Nordic context, it can be questions regarding your willingness to move to another country, or how your private life (e.g. partner / husband / wife / children) is affecting your willingness to take the job. Will you move to a new country and commute home to the family? Or will your family move with you? Prepare hornets answers, but don´t be too defensive in your thoughts regarding these questions. Try to see if you can turn challenges into win-win situations.


The elevator pitch and key points

The interview will often begin with you making a brief (two minutes) presentation of yourself. Prepare this elevator pitch in advance and targeted I to the company you are applying in.

Consider the four to five key points that you WANT to mention during the interview. A good idea is to write them down, so you do not forget them - preferably as a checklist so you’re sure you get them mentioned.


Remember the paperwork

Always remember to bring a printed copy of the job advertisement, CV, and application to the interview. Often the job ad is removed from the job database before your invited to the interview.



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