Denmark - why work abroad?

Country: Denmark
Official languages: Danish
Government: Constitutional monarchy
Population: 5.6 million
Capital: Copenhagen
Currency: Danish krone (DKK)
Member EU or EEA: EU
Phone code: +45
Internet code: .dk

Why this country?

You are never more than an hour from the coast in Denmark, a country famed as one of the happiest on Earth, as well as for its skills in design and craftsmanship, and efficient public services. The gap between rich and poor is very narrow in Denmark, placing most Danes in a thriving middle class.

Unemployment is lower than average for Europe, and although Denmark has not escaped the impact of the economic crisis, employers still find it difficult to fill certain vacancies, for example for mechanical and IT engineers, doctors, psychologists, IT consultants, software developers, pharmaconomists (expert in pharmaceuticals) and others.

Looking for work?

Employers will publish vacancies on their own websites or on the official website Vacancies for foreign jobseekers can also be found on where you can also submit your CV. Some­times employers request that vacancies are posted on specific websites or they might use a recruitment agency to handle the initial screen­ing of candidates.

Tips for job applications?

The procedure for application is described in the job advert, and should be adhered to.

Contacts between the candidate and the employer are usually direct. When send­ing an application (usually electronically), it is very important to personalise it to the specific employer. Only contact the employer in the lan­guage requested in the advertisement. You do not need to be able to cover all the qualifica­tions, but you do need to speak the language suggested in the vacancy. Always write the application and make the contact yourself Doc­uments in a foreign language must be proved to be authentic.

The following are absolutely not acceptable during an application procedure: misspelling of the name and address of the company; errors in the application; being disloyal towards for­mer employers; turning up late for an interview.

'The EURES Adviser gave me infor­mation about doing a greenhouse gardener's course in Denmark and combining it with a Danish language course and work in a Danish farm. I saw it as an interesting opportunity - and a way to develop new skills and knowledge for my future professional life. It broadens your horizons, makes you more independent, builds your self-confidence and expands your per­sonal network.'

Sarunas, jobseeker from Lithuania

Is it standard to include a photo on the CV?

Photos are optional, although it is becoming increasingly popular to include one.

Is there a preference for handwritten applications?

No, do not handwrite your application.

Is the Europass format CV widely used and accepted?

Europass CVs are not popular among Danish employers. You are expected to compile a personalised and targeted CV.

Making contact by phone

It is advisable to contact the enterprise by phone if you wish to send a spontaneous application. This will help you target your application. Job ads will specify whom to contact; you are welcome to contact the enterprise before sending an application. Prepare your questions well to ensure that you will not be remembered as a candidate who wasted their time. Avoid asking about the salary; this issue will be dealt with during the interview.

Do I need to send diplomas with my application?

No, unless they are specifically requested in the job ad. An application consists of a CV and a covering letter, except otherwise stated.

Should I supply references, letters of recommendation or proof of good conduct?

The need for references depends on the situation. Referees will be contacted if the employer is uncertain or if a high level of professionalism is needed, for example in managerial or academic posts. References may be from former employers or colleagues (they are expected to answer a possible request for a reference from the employer).

A letter of recommendation can be useful. A good recommendation is always helpful. If you wish to work with children or the elderly, or in the financial sector, proof of good conduct is needed.

Usual length of time between publication of the vacancy and start of the job

This varies, but is approximately 1 to 2 months.

Preparing for the interview

The job interview is a dialogue between you and the interviewers, so you are expected to be active and ask questions. Prepare questions in advance and try to find out about the company’s values and mission. There may also be psychological and practical tests.

Dress-code tips

Dress fairly conservatively - not too flashy, not too relaxed. Jewellery should be discreet and generally no piercings should be visible.

Who will be there?

There will normally be one to five interviewers present during the interview. It is important to maintain good eye contact with all interviewers. Try to make everybody feel included. A meeting will typically take up to 1 hour, with the candidate often being offered a cup of coffee or tea.

Do we shake hands?

Shake hands with all persons present, both when meeting and saying goodbye. Make it a good firm handshake while keeping eye contact.

Is there a typical interview structure?

Employers pay specific attention to the appli­cant's ability to meet the qualifications demanded.

There is a specific structure for the meeting. First you may talk briefly about the weather, how you got to the meeting, or another gen­eral subject. Then the company gives a short introduction and applicants have the opportu­nity to present themselves. The applicant can ask questions about the position, salary, work­ing conditions, contract, holidays, extra entitle­ments entitle­ments, etc. at the end of the meeting.

The meeting ends with information about what the next steps will be. In general, the atmos­phere is friendly and straightforward, and the applicant's attitude is expected to match this. Remember to make good eye contact.

The interview will mostly cover professional topics. The most common questions include your strengths and weaknesses, as well as where you hope to be in 3 to 5 years' time. There are no trick questions. Topics might also involve non-professional items such as pets/ children/sport and other interests as addi­tional material, or as small talk at the end of the interview.

When is a question out of bounds?

There are anti-discrimination laws in Denmark in conformity with EU rules, relating to sex, age, disability, race, religion and political opinions. You do not have to answer all the questions. Sexual orientation and whether you are planning to have more children are considered to be strictly private matters.

Negotiating your pay and benefits

There are standard employment contracts, but the company might use their own. Use the standard contract to make sure that nothing is forgotten in your individual contract. It can be purchased in any bookshop.

It is common to negotiate the salary or work­ing hours, as well as fringe benefits, depend­ing on the level of the job offer. Remuneration may be per hour, week or month, but it is rarely annual. Holiday pay is according to the statu­tory requirement. If there is a bonus system, it should be mentioned separately.

There is room to negotiate extra benefits, depending on the level of the job. The most common ones are a free telephone, newspa­pers, company car, Internet, etc. Negotiation is either with the head of the company or the HR department.

Is a trial period likely?

This is not usual, except in a small number of professions. You can refuse.

How long is the standard probationary period?

A 3-month probationary period is common.

Will the employer cover my costs for attending an interview?

Travel costs for getting to the interview are rarely reimbursed.

When will I hear the result?

It varies, but usually you will hear from the employer within a week of the interview. If other candidates are equally qualified, you may be called in for a second interview.

Getting feedback and further follow-up

It is common to call or meet again for an evaluation, in order to know in which areas the applicant can improve.

How early should I arrive for the interview?

Danes are very punctual. Preferably turn up 5 to 10 minutes in advance. You are not expected to confirm your attendance. You cannot be absent and make a new appointment unless you hold unique qualifications worth waiting for.

last modification: 2014-09-01 14:31:03
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