Applying for a job in Finland: 3 things you can learn from recruiters

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We at Finnwards realize that applying for a job in Finland can be really challenging. It’s particularly difficult when recruitment practices are unfamiliar. In this blog, we introduce you to a recent survey by Duunitori Oy that’ll help you understand what recruiters in Finland focus on when they are reviewing job applications. 

The national recruitment survey of 2020 by Duunitori

In their national recruitment survey of 2020, Duunitori examined the current recruitment scene in Finland. They conducted the survey in February 2020. 255 recruitment professionals in Finland answered the survey. The results of which were published on March 17, 2020. The survey results were interesting in many respects, but here we’ll focus on what the recruiters said amount candidate information and about the channels they use to find applicants.

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The most important candidate information

The surveyed recruitment professionals ranked the candidate information they use in recruitment decisions from the most to the least important. According to them, the most important candidate information when they make recruitment decisions is the motivation the candidate shows towards the job. 

Aki Ahlroth, a well-known recruitment professional, says recruiters are trying to find applicants who are genuinely interested in the position. He says is because even the best employees in the world aren’t the most creative or productive if they don’t find the job motivating enough. 

The second most important is the so-called cultural fit. This is a difficult concept as it means different things to different people. Aki, however, explains this in essence to mean the way in which the team members behave and work when the boss is not in the room. Company culture is based on company values. Thus recruiters want to know that the applicant’s values match those of the company. 

Aki advises applicants to get to know the company’s values before applying. They can do this by reading what the company says about their values online. Applicants can even ask about them from the recruiter. 

The third most important information is the applicant’s previous job experience. Aki says that in his opinion this is in fact the most important information especially in the earliest stage of the recruitment process. Without proper previous job experience, you will not get to go forward in the process. 

What channels recruiters in Finland use to find the applicants

In this Duunitori’s national recruitment survey 2020, the surveyed recruitment professionals listed the channels they use to find suitable candidates for their open positions.

About 70 % of surveyed recruitment professionals said they advertized their open positions at the Duunitori site (open positions at the Finnish site here, jobs in English here). Almost as many used LinkedIn job ads. They said they also used the unemployment office job board and the Oikotie site

Almost all of them use their company websites to advertise their positions. Almost all of them also use the networks of their existing employees to find good candidates for open positions. It’s also extremely common to try to find suitable candidates from within the company. 

LinkedIn is an extremely very important recruitment tool in Finland. Recruiters used LinkedIn’s organic traffic and paid job ads to advertise their positions. Facebook is important as well. And over 50 % said they used Instagram to find applicants. The importance of Instagram has increased significantly in the last few years. In the 2016 survey, less than 20 % of recruiters identified Instagram as an important source of applicants. 

3 most important things to know when applying for a job in Finland

This survey shows what recruiters in Finland think are important aspects of a candidate’s profile and application. In it, the recruiters also tell where they advertise their open positions and look for suitable candidates. 

Use this information to your advantage when you are applying for a job in Finland and focus on these:

  • Motivation –  You need to show that you are truly motivated for the job. Research the job and the company. Show your motivation in the effort you put on the application. 
  • Fit –  The job needs to fit your previous experience. You need to fit the company culture. Make sure your application reflects these.
  • LinkedIn presence – In order to see job opportunities and be seen as a viable candidate, it’s good to be present on LinkedIn. 

These should take you a long way in your job hunting. Once you get that job nailed and start negotiating your contract, don’t forget to check out our blogs about salaries and employment contracts in Finland!

Make sure you know what you are signing. Enroll in this short and inexpensive online course “Mini-course on Finnish Employment Contracts”. You can find it in our online store.

The mission of Finnwards is to help internationals thrive in their life abroad. We provide coaching, consulting, and training services that help them do just that. Check out our Services for Businesses and Organizations or our Expat Inspiration Catalog for more information! While we serve internationals and their employers all over the world, our specialty is Finland. With our help, internationals can build a uniquely Finnish life for themselves and their family. In addition to the coaching, consulting and training services, we also offer a wide selection of self-guided online courses about Finland. Contact us and let us help you or your employees succeed in their professional and private lives abroad and in Finland.

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2 thoughts on “Applying for a job in Finland: 3 things you can learn from recruiters

  1. My honest opinion is that this article is all nonsense and totally generic. By publishing this, you are assuming the weakness lies in the applicant rather than the prejudice by the employer, [to be very specific] by the Finnish hiring manager.

    The reality is that a quasi qualified ‘Pekka’ would be preferred over a qualified ‘Peter’. My personal observation is that there is a hierarchy of preferences that is quite openly known and discussed within the limited groups as well. Here it is: Native Finnish > Native Nordic > Native European > Whites > Mixed White > Non-Native Nordics/ Europeans > External Asians > External Africans.

    I’d be happy to expose a Finnish employer who in a written email states clearly that Finns are preferred because of the local Finnish colleagues.

    As long as you don’t squarely acknowledge the problem you might as well trash the external candidates further saying that international experiences are not as valid as those gained locally. And you (Finland) would not be the first ones to do so. A well-qualified doctor whose credentials are great for immigration is not employable once in the country! That’s nonsense.

    And no, Finns are not straight talking. They are only straight talking when it comes to other nations, and nationalities. Talk to them about their miserable little nation, and the first question you get is, “So, why don’t you leave”, i.e. don’t talk about the nation to the Finns.

    1. Dear Aleksi,
      Thank you for your comment. You are absolutely right that there exists a significant amount of discrimination in the Finnish job market. In addition to the very real experiences of job applicants, there also exists quite a lot of research about it. In this particular post, however, our intention was to summarize a recent survey of 255 Finnish recruiters and what they say they regard as important applicant information. And this is what they said in the survey. We have more posts planned on the Finnish job market and in those, we’ll address discrimination issues as well. Things that were not said out loud in this survey.

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