Job interview in Denmark: You want the job? No need to prove it!

Minutes until the appointment. Most people are anxious. Or excited. Sometimes terrified. Is a job interview in Denmark the same as in the rest of the world?

Who said a job interview is a pleasant experience? Recruiters and hiring managers ask a lot, waiting for your best responses.

But there is a place on Earth where a job interview can feel um, different, to say the least. Welcome to Denmark. There is a whole different culture when it comes to job interviews that makes them a unique experience.

We wanted to find out more and share the findings with you. This is where we needed some help. One LinkedIn message later, Kate Dahl, a Job Consultant for internationals in Aarhus, Denmark, agreed to shed some light on the topic.

Last week, she helped us bust the most common myths about working in Denmark. Today, Kate explains how it is to go through a job interview in Denmark and how you can nail it.

Read on to find out what makes the Danish recruiting culture unique!

What is really a job interview in Denmark?

Actually, when you are invited for an interview, face to face, you need to go get a beer and celebrate. Level 1 passed!

Wait, what? What is this level? It is that you sent your resume and you nailed it. Danes call for an interview when they are already convinced that you can do the job.

This is why it is important to have a very good resume. It can get you faaar!

So, when you are there sitting opposite the recruiter, your goal is not to tell him/her about your skills or experience.

They already know and approve, this is why they scheduled a time to see you.

Your goal is to show them that you can fit into the company culture.

Danes are well-known for their efficiency so they would never call you at their office just to validate your resume. They also trust you that what you wrote in it is correct and real.

Also, it is about their informal and personal approach to things. They need to get to know you and see you as a future colleague or part of the team.

What is the main focus of a Danish job interview?

Your story. “Tell me about yourself” is a question in every job interview. It is a difficult question to answer because you have to balance between being personal and professional.

Don’t be too personal, like telling about how the death of your grandma’s dog and how it affected you. They really want to dig deep but not too deep. They want to know more about where you grew up and know your story. How did you come to Denmark? Why Denmark?

So while you are telling your story, you have to put in the skills and competencies that you have learned beyond your work experiences. They want to know you, your motivations and drive, your story.

Remember that Denmark is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen’s amazing stories.

Top-5 Danish interview tips

Disclaimer: Every case is unique so the rules below apply to most but maybe not all cases. Do your research before the interview!

1. Don’t overdress. Smart casual is the name of the game. In most cases, wearing a business suit and tie is considered too much. Too formal and impersonal.

2. Connect right from the start. In the beginning, give a good firm handshake and do some small talk. Danes usually take you to their kitchen or other common areas to grab some coffee/tea/ water. If offered something, it is recommended to accept it.

3. Don’t beg for the job. Danes hate beggars. Don’t seem desperate. They can smell it and it is not good. This attitude puts too much pressure on them and you get no points for that.

4. Don’t be arrogant. Remember the Law of Jante. You are not there to boast or brag about your accomplishments. Most probably they already know them. You are there to show your personality. You can talk about things you are proud of but in the context of your personal story and very subtly.

5. Be careful with following up. It is not necessary. If you follow up, you sound beggy. If it’s like 1 month and you have not heard from them, then follow up. Otherwise, be patient. Patience is key.

As a final tip, trust the Danes. They are good and polite people. They are egalitarian and give opportunities to people. They have good judgement.

Just like with their friends, they need to get to know you and feel good about you before committing to a professional relationship with you.

Oh! And if you know some Danish, no second thoughts! Speak as much Danish as you can, they will appreciate it. Extra bonus points!

All in all, just be yourself. But hey, not too much yourself, OK?

Image: Kim Wyon / VisitDenmark