This is a guest contribution by the Director of the HR agency Scandistaff Carl-Henrik Larneryd . If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.
The New Year has just started for real and many of you are working on budgets and looking through staffing needs.
iGaming is indeed a multicultural business. Operators have a mix of countries they target and affiliate networks add to this as well. The business has in its foundation a sound approach to culture, everyone adjust to customer segments and markets and takes notice about the cultural aspects that come with every market. Given this, it gets me to wonder why this isn’t standard when it comes to recruiting. Its actually quite simple, employees from different markets and countries will have different expectations from the recruitment process. I will try and give you a short insight on how to attract Nordic employees. This should be of everyone’s interest as more or less all are seeking the pot of gold that’s in the Nordic iGaming market (and casino in particular).
Basically, if you want to attract the best Nordic employees, you have to adapt in some way to the “Nordic way” as this is what they are expecting. People from this area are very keen on soft values and company culture and if you don’t live up to the expectations they might pack their bags and go home or worse – join your competitor.
Sweden and the Nordic area are odd, that’s true. If you take a look at the World Value Survey you can notice that USA actually has more in common with Angola value-wise than with the odd people up north. It’s actually only the Japanese that manages to beat us. On the other hand has the Nordic region a long tradition of working abroad. In the 70-ties was the Kibbutz in Israel a must-go for swedes and quite a few tried out the au-pair work in the UK and US during the 90-ties as well. Now call centres are the main resort for jobseekers and the iGaming business as well as the mining sector always seeks qualified Nordic personnel. As an example are at least 546.000 swedes currently working abroad, which is a 35 % increase since 2003.
We have at Scandistaff developed a recruitment method we call ScandiValid that make us being able to provide better candidates for our clients. Since I see a lot of companies that struggle with Nordic employee acquisition and retention have I therefore put together these small but very useful reflection points to take in consideration regarding the hiring process of Nordic staff.
- Is the job ad just a bullet list with words that does not have any substance without a context such as “team player” or “collaborative”? It looks fancy but what does it really give you? Nordic speakers don’t fancy that, it gives a sloppy impression.
- Are you looking for a unicorn? Many have aggressive requirements no one really can live up to.
- Do you know how your recruitment partners treat your candidates? It’s a good chance that they don’t get back to candidates with feedback and leave them in the loop. This is very bad and hurts your employer branding more than you can imagine. Treat a candidate badly and you will for sure have your company dragged in the dirt. Remember that it’s mainly your company that will take the hit and not the recruitment agency.
- Do you have a very formal hierarchy and different small incitements (organisational psychologists call these artefacts) that indicate different levels in the organization? Apart from titles these can be about how desks are placed, different floors in the building indicating how important the people there are and so on. This is quite un-Nordic and may intimidate candidates, be careful on how you initially present this.
- One should be aware that even if its very nice and convenient to find Nordic candidates that are already located in your country let me raise a warning flag. There is often a reason the person isn’t employed yet and people that randomly move to foreign countries without a proper plan are, well you can guess that these are not necessarily the employees you want.
- Do tests! Qualified tests give you a hunch and make you do a better hiring decision. Lookout for lousy tests though, consult a specialist on which tests to use.
- Are you taking references? Aim to call up to 3 references in person. Don’t accept formal letters of recommendation, these are vague and Scandinavians are expecting that you will call their former employers.
- Are you not paying for flights and starting accommodation? You should start doing that right away then, its industry standard and candidates will get an cheap impression of your company if not.
- Finally, do your employment contract look more like a threatening ransom note then a collaborate agreement? I’ve seen candidates walk out on offers just because the contract was too hostile.
If you take these in consideration the next time you are about to board a Nordic employee you probably have a better chance of making a good hiring decision and this naturally also inflicts the validity of the process. As you might know you also have to get these people to stay, which is another chapter.
If you are looking for Nordic staff or advise on how to handle these, feel free to contact us. This is what we do.
Carl-Henrik Larneryd is the director of the HR agency Scandistaff that is located in Malta and that focuses on Nordic staff for the gaming industry. Carl-Henrik has a degree in organizational psychology with a speciality in trait testing.