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Sweden Recruiting & Hiring

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One of the most challenging parts of beginning operations in a new country is finding the right employees. You’ll also have to learn all of Sweden’s employment compliance laws and follow them strictly each time you hire a new employee. Globalization Partners can help you through the confusion.

As a global PEO, we can hire employees and assign them to work for you in a matter of days instead of the months it could take to set up a subsidiary first. We’ll also use our Employer of Record platform to take on all matters of compliance.

Recruiting in Sweden

When you begin recruiting in any new country, you must take the time to understand cultural and business norms there. Otherwise, staffing and recruiting for your business could become a challenge, and you could fail to connect with potential candidates. Below are five important tips to help you meet cultural expectations during the recruitment process in Sweden.

1. Make Sure Your Questions and Comments Are Not Too Personal

When you’re meeting with and interviewing potential candidates, avoid delving into their personal lives. Do not bring up topics such as family, income, and personal background.

2. Do Not Criticize Society

Swedes are very proud of their society and culture, so you should not criticize any aspect of their way of life. Avoid talking negatively about the welfare system, economy, government, or culture.

3. Tell the Truth Without Embellishment

During discussions with potential candidates, leave superlatives out as much as possible. Swedes do not like when someone stretches the truth or bolsters rank or status. While you can introduce everyone in the room, try to keep all attendees on an equal playing field.

4. Avoid Arguing

Sometimes, negotiations can turn heated in this country. However, Swedes do not like arguing, especially with visitors. If you’re involved in a discussion that starts to turn into an argument, don’t be shocked if someone changes the subject.

5. Leave Time for Coffee Breaks

Coffee breaks are known in Sweden as fika. During fika, employees will get up from their desks, drink coffee, and eat something sweet with colleagues. Some companies will set specific times for a formal fika, but others treat it more casually. You may find that it’s a good time to meet with job candidates.

The Recruitment Process in Sweden

While recruiting in Sweden, you don’t necessarily need to speak Swedish. Most Scandinavian people speak English, making it easy to find highly qualified applicants. Remember, however, that communicating in English only could limit your job search, so we recommend learning Swedish or hiring a translator. Most international companies choose to use English as their business language but have a conversational proficiency in Swedish.

The country has many laws related to recruiting, including limitations on background checks. The European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) limits employers from obtaining certain information, such as data in medical and criminal records. However, your applicants can present medical or criminal information about themselves if you request it in connection with the requirement process. These individuals do not have to comply with the request.

One exception is teachers and day care teachers, who may have to provide an excerpt from their criminal records before being offered a job. You are also allowed to perform a credit check if it is relevant to recruitment for a specific position, such as a job in accounting.

Application and Interview Questions

As an employer, you can decide what questions to ask to determine whether an applicant is right for your position. However, you cannot ask any discriminatory questions, such as whether the applicant is pregnant or part of a trade union.

Your application process can include tests and examinations, as long as you do not include a genetic test as a condition of employment. Unlike other countries, Sweden does not have any legal limitations on requiring an applicant to undergo a medical exam or a drug or alcohol test. You can choose not to hire an applicant who does not consent to these tests.

Where to Find Top Talent

Staffing your business in Sweden isn’t as easy as posting the job on your website — you need to know where to find the best applicants. The Swedish Public Employment Agency offers support to those looking for work, and you can also advertise your job on privately run sites. Some of the most common options include:


How to Hire Employees in Sweden

Swedish employment compliance laws do not require an employment contract unless an employee asks for one. If the worker does want a written agreement, employers must provide the employment contract within 30 days of the employee’s request. However, it’s best practice to write one before hiring any employee. Have the worker sign it to avoid any future issues. Include terms such as:

  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Termination and severance requirements
  • Notice periods
  • Paid time off

Since Sweden has a history of strong labor unions, you’ll need to check for any collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that could cover your employees. You will need to either meet or exceed the CBA’s regulations or the statutory minimums depending on which is greater.

Sweden Employment Compliance

Once you hire employees in Sweden, you’ll need to make sure you follow the country’s compliance laws.

Employees typically work 40 hours a week unless otherwise stated in a CBA. Two hundred hours of overtime are allowed each calendar year and are paid at a rate of 50% to 100% more than the employee’s typical salary. Employees get to choose between this overtime rate or time off or additional holidays in exchange for overtime.

How to Onboard Employees

Every company onboards employees differently, but planning is critical in any situation. You should start by determining what kind of training and support each employee needs to succeed. Develop a detailed schedule for the employee’s first week with your company, including any initial training they need. You can also onboard multiple employees at the same time to make the process go faster.

Other tips include:

  • Go over the employment contract with each employee during their first week
  • Fly to Sweden for your employees’ first day
  • Establish a company Code of Conduct that each employee signs

Benefits of Sweden Hiring Outsourcing

With so many factors to remember when hiring employees in Sweden, outsourcing can take a significant burden off your shoulders. Globalization Partners offers a multitude of benefits with our Sweden hiring outsourcing services.

We’ll start by hiring employees on your behalf and assigning them to work for you. We will add these employees to our compliant payroll and make sure all employees meet Sweden’s employment compliance laws. You won’t need to set up a subsidiary, and you won’t have to wait for months to begin working when you choose us.

Work With Globalization Partners

When you need a quick and easy way to hire employees in Sweden, choose Globalization Partners. Contact us today to learn more.

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