Norway - why work abroad?

Country: Norway
Official languages: Norwegian
Government: Constitutional monarchy
Population: 5 million
Capital: Oslo
Currency: Norwegian krone (NOK)
Member EU or EEA: EEA
Phone code: +47
Internet code: .no

Why this country?

Although a young nation, Norway has a long history and a strong heritage. Over the years, its customs and traditions have merged with impulses and influences from abroad. Characterised by large areas of unspoilt countryside, Norway offers abundant opportunities for outdoor pursuits, including sporting challenges.

Jobseekers who are interested in looking for work in Norway should be aware that recent surveys have shown a decline in vacancies in finance and insurance, construction and management, and mining and production, alongside growth in information and communication technologies. The labour market has a strong demand for engineers and ICT workers, and engineers in petroleum and geosciences. There is also a shortage of health, care and nursing staff, particularly nurses.

Looking for work?

Jobs are advertised on company websites, on specialised jobsites, in newspapers, through an intermediate organisation or the public employ­ment service (

Tips for job applications?

Send an application in English (or in a Scandi­navian language if you speak one) with a cov­ering letter and a CV (maximum one page, although CVs for technical candidates might be longer and more detailed).

If sending a spontaneous application, find out the name of an HR representative to send your application to. Write a covering letter (maxi­mum one page) and enclose a CV.

Make one application per vacancy or com­pany. If you are applying to a large firm, call or e-mail the recruiter a few days after send­ing your application to ask if they have read your CV and what they think of it, whether they have received many applications, when you can expect a reply, etc.

Be brief and concise in the description of your­self and your qualifications. Be honest and do not exaggerate. Keep your CV simple and mod­est. Be honest about your language skills, espe­cially in English. 'Good' English skills are not the same as 'school knowledge' of English.

Is it standard to include a photo on the CV?

It is not common to include a photo.

Is there a preference for handwritten applications?

No, handwritten applications are not used in Norway.

Is the Europass format CV widely used and accepted?

No, it is not.

Making contact by phone

It is common to get in touch with the contact person for more information about the job. Prepare questions relevant to the job/company and call between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Do I need to send diplomas with my application?

Send copies of diplomas/certificates with your application only if this is requested in the job vacancy. If not, send them when the recruiter asks for them. Employers need a certified copy of your diploma and a certified translation (into Norwegian or at least into English).

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

Norwegian employers check references sys­tematically. List your referees at the end of your CV. They will need to tell the Norwegian recruiter (in English or a Scandinavian language) about your previous professional duties, and your pro­fessional and personal abilities.

Letters of recommendation are not required or even commonly requested, unless you cannot supply any referees.

Jobs in the security and education sectors require you to show proof that you have no pre­vious criminal convictions, but this will be men­tioned in the job advertisement.

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

It varies. Some vacancies indicate 'start as soon as possible’; others have a starting date 3 months ahead.

Preparing for the interview

In most cases, you will be asked for an interview in person. In some cases, the first direct contact may be a telephone interview.

Remember that your CV and covering letter are your entrance ticket to an interview. This is where your competence has to show. An inter¬view is based more on your personal abilities and personality in a working situation. The chemistry between you and the recruiter might be decisive. Be interested, motivated, ask the right questions and dare to speak for yourself and give your opinion. There may be only one interview (most com¬mon), or two or three (for highly qualified staff). An interview lasts 45-90 minutes on average.

Dress-code tips

Norway has a casual dress code. The 'white shirt and tie’ rule applies only to candidates for management-level positions in finance, real estate, consultancy or where being representative is a big part of the job. Check the company’s homepage for photos of staff and see how they are dressed.

Who will be there?

Anything from one to five people will conduct the interview. This may include a trade union and a staff representative, particularly for public sector jobs.

Do we shake hands?

A handshake is quite common, and has to be firm.

Is there a typical interview structure?

The person responsible for the meeting will tell you about the company and the job. Then you will be given time to present yourself and explain why you have applied. Do not hesitate to ask professional questions about the company and the job. At the end of the interview, you can ask about pay and working conditions. Then the recruiter should inform you about when you will get feedback or a reply.

You will mainly discuss professional items, but the recruiter will evaluate you most on your personal way of presenting your professional qualifications. Keep calm and be yourself Show that you will add value to the company. Do not try to impress the recruiter; be honest, modest and down to earth

When is a question out of bounds?

Discrimination on grounds of political alle¬giance, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability or trade union membership is illegal, unless these topics have direct relevance for the job. You do not have to answer questions about pregnancies or whether you are on some kind of benefit. However, use your common sense. Employers expect you to show initiative, assume responsibility for your own work and be capable of working independently.

Negotiating your pay and benefits

Pay is generally expressed in monthly terms, or for a seasonal job it may be expressed in hourly terms. It is not often necessary to negotiate, as there are standard contracts. However, it may be wise to check the salary level with the trade union responsible for the field so that you have an idea of what to expect. Negotiation of your salary usually takes place once you have been offered the job.

Holiday pay is regulated by law and included in your pay. Trade unions negotiate pay and extra statutory benefits at national level. Trade union representatives are responsible for local negotiations at the workplace, but only for their members.

Is a trial period likely?

No, it is not common to undertake a 1-day work trial

How long is the standard probationary period?

An employer may decide to hire you on a probationary period to start with. This will normally not exceed 6 months.

Will the employer cover my costs for attending an interview?

Many companies do refund travel expenses for interviews. However, this should be checked with the employer beforehand.

When will I hear the result?

If you are hired, you will receive written confirmation and possibly a call beforehand. If you have been rejected, you will be notified by post or e-mail.

Getting feedback and further follow-up

If you are rejected, you can call the recruiter and ask why, or ask which qualifications the person who got the job had that you did not have. This can give you an idea of where you stand professionally

How early should I arrive for the interview?

You must be punctual. If you are prevented from attending at the given time, ask as soon as possible for a new appointment.

last modification: 2014-09-03
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