Effective ways of reducing the number of competent (international) HR applicants (Swedish edition)

Feel free to copy this job posting blue-print for your next HR-professional opening for a Swedish company. You will greatly reduce the number of applications from competent (international) candidates and in addition severely harm your employer brand. All translations my work, originals taken from real job descriptions.

  • Du har en PA-utbildning och minst tre års erfarenhet av brett HR-arbete med HR-frågor. (= You have a ”PA”-qualification and a minimum of three years of experience from broad HR-work with HR questions.) [1]
  • Erfarenhet av att arbeta i process med ARUBA (= Experience from working according to ARUBA) [2]
  • Vidare är du en street-smart person. (=Besides that, you are a street-smart person.) [3]
  • Du älskar att vara spindeln i nätet. (= You love to be the spider in the web.) [4]
  • A sense of humour is greatly appreciated [5]
  • Swedish and English mandatory [6]

[1] The PA-qualification is a national Swedish HR qualification. Because Swedish HR work is so specific, there are no comparable qualifications and it is essential that you have acquired this one. Also, your qualification is only valid in addition and connection to a minimum of three years of work experience. It does not matter how well you did your job or how great your interest in HR work, years of experience has always been the best predictor for on-the-job-performance.

[2] Contrary to common beliefs, Aruba is not an island. As with the PA-qualification, ARUBA is a very specific framework for HR work in Sweden. It is not comparable to other HR models or frameworks.

[3] Being street-smart is a well-defined concept which is easy to assess and a good predictor for on-job-performance. An effective interview question to assess this competence with is “Tell me about a situation where you acted street-smart.” High performers will answer with “Right now, in this interview, when I heard your question and decided to leave this room”

[4] This spider in the web is yet another well-defined concept that should be essential in every application process. Based on your gut feeling you can adjust it to whatever you want it to be. It can be everything from communication skills, organizational talent, over tendency to gossip, to spider phobia – everything just not transparent for candidates.

[5] As you might already know, humour is easy to generalise. Usually, people find the same things funny. In your interview, you can test a candidate’s repertoire of jokes about Norwegians (“What is ‘shark’ in Norwegian”?) or trick questions (“What can one catch that is not thrown?”) and easily adapt it to the sense of humour dominant in your organisation.

[6] For language requirements it’s of the highest importance to define them broadly. Even if the candidate will never be required to write in Swedish, „Swedish“ in general in your job posting should do the job. Also, you should only test the international applicants for their ability of your corporate language, not the domestic applicants.

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