Skip to content

How to succeed in a job interview in the Nordics?

Square closeup of Kristiina Vormala.
Kristiina Vormala Barona
Illustration photo - Job interview in the Nordics. Man standing at a desk, with a laptop in front of him and preparing for a job interview.

Expert opinion from Kristiina Vormala, Recruitment Manager at Barona

Are you getting ready for a job interview in the Nordics? Congratulations! Securing an interview is already a great win, as it shows that you have caught the interest of a potential employer. But how do you ensure you ace the interview and get the job? As a Recruitment Manager with 20 years of experience in the field, I’m here to share a few insider tips on how to nail a job interview in Finland, Sweden, Norway, or Denmark.

In this material, I will discuss all the different components of a job interview in the Nordics, such as what to expect, how to behave, what questions to ask, and how to improve your chances of getting hired.

Job interview culture in the Nordics

Job interviews in various countries tend to differ and there is something you should consider in each one of them. For instance, in Finland, the most important values include punctuality, honesty, being critical of one’s abilities, and respecting the interview situation. Finns are relaxed and easy-going, but the interview is an official occasion, and it is better to overdress than dress too casually. This shows the recruiter how you evaluate the interview and the company culture if the organization you apply for has a tight dress code.

Show your interest in the role during the interview, be brave enough to make comments, ask questions, and even tell jokes. The interview is a dialogue, an occasion for both sides to learn more about each other. If being an active talker doesn’t come naturally to you, prepare some questions and make some notes before the interview. When you meet with the recruiter, make sure you bring them up. Recruiters will always recall interested and actively involved candidates.

Remember to prepare for the interview. It is natural to feel excited or nervous during the interview, and this is obvious, simply be honest and say it. By mentioning that this is ‘’your first interview in the Nordics’’, ‘’first interview for such a role’’, or ‘’an interview in a company where you would like to work’’, the recruiter will help you get over it and move forward with the conversation.

Answers in a job interview in the Nordics

When I was recruiting for a junior role, I asked the candidates what his career goals were, and he said he wanted to play guitar or be a football player – these were just dreams. But the lesson we can all take away from this is that it is important to have some responses ready for the questions the recruiter will ask you. If you have no goals and just go with the flow, say so and mean it. Being honest always ranks higher than pretending to be someone else.

Questions in an interview with a Nordic employer

The questions themselves are not that important. It’s essential that you understand the job role’s scope – get to the core of the role. Recruiters or hiring managers usually always discuss this. Typically, recruiters or hiring managers will explain this. If not, be sure to include these questions.

Good questions indicate your interest in the role. Use straightforward examples, such as ‘’how the recruitment process will progress’’, ‘’what your role in the organization and team will be’’, or ‘’how about the development opportunities’’. But don’t focus too much on them.
If you believe the recruiter should know more about you, tell them, but do not make a presentation out of it. Give the chance to the recruiter or manager to ask more about your personality.

Your behavior during an interview in the Nordics

How to behave during an interview to increase your chances of getting hired in Finland, Sweden, Norway, or Denmark? Be honest! Pretending to be someone else is not helpful. If reality kicks in after you start the job and you don’t enjoy the duties or can’t handle the tasks, you’ll be the one who struggles the most.

Recruiters in Finland, for example, view with skepticism a kilometric skill set. It is not in your best interests to portray yourself as a master of everything – we believe no one is perfect, and we have doubts when we see an excessively polished profile. Avoid being viewed in a negative light. Is it possible to excel at ten distinct qualifications or to have abilities that cover everything?

A few extra bits of advice:

  • Tell us about yourself and how would you describe yourself – as a person, as a professional, or as a combination of the two.
  • Mention where you see yourself in the future – it’s crucial to outline your aims and ambitions so that the recruiter can ensure they are able to offer you this path. It is totally fine to say you’re not satisfied with doing this job forever – this is a good answer too.
  • Make sure to highlight your strengths – how you are at your best, what you enjoy doing, and how you tackle challenges.
  • Prepare to share more about yourself.
Image of three people at a break in the office in Finland

Ready for your dream job?

Come work in the Nordics with us!

One final thought

Successful recruitment is one in which both parties give and gain! Is there room for you to improve your skills and learn more? It is also crucial for your employer to know they’re giving you the opportunity to develop, learn something new, and gain new experience and know-how. Think about what benefits your new work in the Nordics will bring you and ensure the recruiter you’re the best fit for them!

Kristiina Vormala is a recruitment manager at Barona. She has over 20 years of experience in recruiting, staffing, and people operations.
Also, Kristiina shares her extensive expertise by offering sessions on interview techniques and the hiring process.

Worklife in the Nordics