Working in Sweden: Tips by Karin Björkman

Jun 21, 2018 | Trainee Program (VIE)

  • What can be surprising in the Swedish workplace?

Learning about the Swedish culture is very important to understand how to behave around Swedes and why they behave the way they do. I would say that Swedes are both international and traditional. They manage to mingle their international profile and their Nordic culture. This aspect is very interesting because they are leading innovation in areas such as of fin tech, IT or banking by also maintaining their singularity through some traditional way of thinking.


  • Why the coffee break known as Fika is important at work in Sweden?

To know the secret behind Fika is crucial! It has been said before and it is true: Fika gives you a chance to talk to people in different modus. During Fika, Swedes tend to be more open and you get to discover the person hidden behind your colleague.  During this moment, it is accepted to be ‘personal’ and you can talk about your children or your holidays etc. Swedes might come up as distant or cold but Fika gives you a chance to overcome this boundary.

  • A lot of our V.I.Es take Swedish classes while completing their mission in Sweden. Knowing that Swedes are very good at English, do you think it is possible to survive in the workplace without Swedish?

Yes, absolutely! More and more businesses are using English as their main company language. But, as I said before, Swedes value their tradition too and so to integrate fully in the society learning Swedish will be of great help. Speaking Swedish in business is also about knowing the market, how Sweden works and how Swedes think. It can, of course, vary from one industry to another.

Another reality is that Sweden is a small country of 10 million people, so some industries might need to hire outside the Swedish market. A lot of companies are aware that if they need qualified people, in specific area of expertise, they must hire outside the local market. I would always advice to learn as much as Swedish as you can. Speaking other languages is enriching in many ways.


  • One last tip for our V.I.Es about how to fit in Sweden?

Adapt, observe and have patience! Swedes are known for their great work-life balance. So, it is a very beneficial working culture to be part of. Finally, even though they consider their working pace is rapid, compared to the rest of the European continent, it can feel rather quite relaxed.


About Karin:

Proud owner of Undutchables Sweden, talent advisor and a true believer of a diverse workforce!

As a proud owner of Undutchables Sweden, I am constantly networking and on the hunt for new partnerships. I strongly believe in the mantra, “if opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”. We go beyond just filling a requisition. As a consultative partner and talent advisor I make sure that every relationship I build is ever-lasting.

I am an outgoing and commercial minded international with more than 17 years of experience within international recruitment in The Netherlands. Having lived and worked in different countries, I have gained a good feeling for culture differences and diversity. Considered as a dedicated and communicative person I, a native Swedish speaker, am fluent in English and Dutch with a good understanding of the German language. With a wide range of experience working with customers in small and medium sized companies as well as multinationals, I am your go-to-person for your international talent.


Contact Karin: or /+46 (0)72 853 2201


Learn more about Undutchables:

At Undutchables we help organizations find and hire new international talent.

As the pioneers in recruitment of multilingual professionals, paired with brilliant people, it does not come as a surprise that Undutchables is a fast growing and successful company. We are always on the look-out for new international talents and to build long-lasting relationships in the job market. If you are looking for an exciting organization with talented and enthusiastic employees who are personal and people focused, you have come to the right place!

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