BCG’s Strategy for Sweden

BCG (Boston Consulting Group) held a seminar at the Stockholm School of Economics on their National Strategy for Sweden report. The seminar was held yesterday (25th November) and the recording was uploaded to Youtube just afterwards. The first half of the seminar consists of Johan Öberg, BCG Managing Partner) presenting their report and the second half is a panel discussing the report and issues surrounding it.  The panel  includes Laurent Leksell (Chairman of Elekta), Gustav Radell (Country Marketing Manager, Google), Ulrika Steg (Head of Mobility Services Sweden, TeliaSonera) and Johan Öberg. A reasonably diverse panel with high focus on technology and innovation.

The video is well worth a watch, I have embedded it below, start at 11 minutes into the presentation when Öberg starts talking about Sweden’s specific situation.

Big props to BCG for publishing the video and hosting the seminar. The seminar was (apparently) broadcast live and they encouraged the use of Twitter to ask questions via the hashtag #BCGSFS and discuss the seminar. Very social, as one expects it to be done these days. 🙂

I think Sweden will face some very tough decisions in the future and if we are not acting pro actively it will be hard to maintain the lifestyle we have today.


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Reddit & Hacker News: The New, Social, Recruitment Tools?

Can Reddit, Hacker News and the likes become the new social recruitment tools for modern companies?

Recruiting staff is hard

Recruiting staff is never easy, especially for new startups. Hiring the wrong person can turn out to be a very expensive affair, especially if your budget is limited to start with. Another problem that companies face is that there is a lack of suitable employees. In Silicon Valley the salary for a relatively green CS graduate can exceed $100,000 per year. I get that it is expensive to live in that area but such high wages shows that the companies have trouble finding the right people to hire.

Skilled software engineers can often times pick and choose what companies they want to work at and the companies have to brand themselves as attractive employers. Easier said than done. However, over the past few years I’ve seen an increase in ‘alternative’ recruitment avenues.


Reddit has a multitude of niche subreddits, communities with a special theme – everything from cat pictures to country specific communities and information security. The latter is the interest in this case.

/r/netsec is a “A community for technical news and discussion of information security and closely related topics.”. It is a rather specialized niche with a very specific set of competencies. Information Security is hard. Very hard. Think of all the leaked databases with usernames and passwords you’ve seen. Finding employees is therefore bound to be troublesome.

Every quarter /r/netsec moderators create an Information Security Hiring Thread. It can look something like this:

/r/netsec Recruitment Thread

/r/netsec Recruitment Thread, Q4 (Click on the image for large size)

The ability to list positions for these, often times smaller companies, can be invaluable. It is a niche industry so the traditional recruitment sites (Monster and so forth) may not provide many leads. It is also more personalized as users who are interested can reply to the post and ask questions. The following is a post from iSEC partners in the hiring thread:

iSEC Partners in /r/netsec

iSEC Partners in /r/netsec (Click on the image for large size)

Another example of recruitment via Reddit comes from /r/consulting. Yesterday I noticed a thread there: I want to hook up Redditors with entry level consulting jobs.

 My Project Management Consulting company is hiring for entry level associates. You need not have experience, and you’d get promoted up starting after the first year.

I remember being a job hunter in this subreddit and wanting to find places that would take my application. I didn’t want to forget where I came from and hope someone here finds this helpful.

If this is of interest to you, message me. We’ll talk and then I’ll hand walk your resume into HR.
*some prerequisites apply

This is an example of helping the community out, a lot of people are looking to enter consulting and it is never fun or easy to go to all those interviews (with hilariously fun cases…). Consulting is also a special case in that the large consultancies (McKinsey, BGC, et al.) tend to vacuum up a lot of the talent. Definitely troublesome for smaller firms. By generating good will the company can be sure to get some potential employees who otherwise wouldn’t have applied.

Hacker News

Hacker News is the community around the startup incubator Y Combinator (wiki). Hacker News works in roughly the same was as a subreddit. Each month there is a ‘Who is hiring’ thread. The one posted for November currently has 400 comments, with most being companies advertising positions.

Hacker News: Who Is Hiring

Hacker News: Who Is Hiring (Click on the image for large size)

The companies advertising are everything from big multinationals to small startups. The companies are mostly located on the west coast of USA. It is a bit unfortunate that the European startups have not taken advantage of communities like Hacker News to the same extent as their American counterparts.

Below is a post from an employee at Bloomberg, it is currently the most upvoted comment in that thread. He describes in-depth what they do and in a very personal way attempts to woo potential employees. He’s asked several questions the thread and does his best to answer them. Very good attitude to recruitment and really helps branding Bloomberg as an exciting place to work.

Who Is Hiring: Bloomberg

Who Is Hiring: Bloomberg (Click on the image for larger size)

So what lessons can be learned from this? Look beyond the conventional job boards and try to recruit from other sources. It is not guaranteed to work but if nothing else, you get a chance to build up some good will with the community.

I think this type of recruitment activities will become increasingly important for companies. Dealing with faceless HR departments without any personal connections may become a thing of the past. The unrealistic job requirements listed by HR should become a thing of the past. Let’s not kid ourselves, most companies don’t need rockstars for most of their positions.

Honorary mention: Twitter

These communities are rather niched and therefore you might not find the type of employees you need so, in some cases, Twitter is a better choice. You can do like MTGx (See previous mentions: 1 2) and simply spread the word of your CMO position via Twitter. Any self-respecting (digital) marketeer will have a Twitter account these days.

That previous sentence is validated by first line of the need to have section in their job listing:

You are an active member of the online world – not just a spectator or a fan. If you don’t have a Twitter account and don’t spend an excessive amount of your personal time online, you are not for this job

Are these the recruitment tools for the future? I don’t know, maybe. They are a nice complement to other things and adds human aspect to the whole job seeking/employee hunting process.

[ShamelessSelfPromotion] Got any tips for jobs in the Stockholm Region, throw me an email at Patrik[at] or on LinkedIn.  [/ShamelessSelfPromotion]


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Social Media Recruiting Done Right: Spotify Jobs

Many companies don’t know how to handle social media, especially not when it comes to recruitment, but Spotify does. The Swedish music streaming service hosted a Q&A session on their @SpotifyJobs twitter account yesterday where they answered questions and showed the competition how to carry out a successful social media strategy.


@spotifyjobs – Join the band!

Keeping a separate account for job recruitment makes sense as the general public is not going to be interested in a jobs Q&A. Having a dedicated job recruitment twitter account allows for direct and focused communication with potential recruits. The Twitter account allows Spotify to both broadcast their message, in this case job openings, and interaction with the followers, many whom no doubt wish to become future Spotify employees.

@Spotifyjobs Q&A Annoucement

@Spotifyjobs Q&A Annoucement

Announcing the Q&A session on the main @Spotify account is likely to drive more traffic to the Q&A as the main account has over 400,000 followers on Twitter. I also found the Q&A session via the main account, even though I missed the actual Q&A as I saw it too late, due to a university deadline. Needles to say I tweeted them and lo and behold, a reply! Proper social media management! Always make sure to reply to tweets as it makes the users feel special, everyone loves attention!

@Spotifyjobs reply

@Spotifyjobs replies to my tweet.

As you can see it is an informative and personalized reply, the 140 characters lends itself to short, informative replies. The personalization of the tweet shows that it isn’t just copy-pasted or an automated replies, which is something I and many others dislike. The guys in charge of the social media efforts over at Spotify know what they are doing.

@Spotifyjobs answers questions

@Spotifyjobs answers questions

@Sashank_NYC asks quite broad question and @Spotifyjobs replies encouragingly but vaguely, it is clear that the manager wants the potential hires to actively look around the jobs page. If nothing else it is a great way to weed out the lazy potential hires. Spotify is bound to be swamped with job applications and if there are many too that aren’t qualified. That is time wasted for everyone.

@Spotifyjobs answers questions again

@Spotifyjobs answers questions again

An excellent, yet short answer that left @StephieBee in, what appears to be, a rather happy mood. The answer brings some hope for the user if nothing else. I wish her the best of luck in applying for a job at Spotify.

@Spotifyjobs answers questions

@Spotifyjobs answers questions

@Gogzs gets a personalized reply that is sure to make him happy! From what I’ve heard there is a shortage of software engineers in Stockholm right now so it makes sense for a company like Spotify to recruit outside Sweden. Since the product is in English and they deal with such an international product as music it make sense to keep the “official language” English.

These are just some examples of the Q&A tweets but they do illustrate how a corporation, who currently has 90 vacancies advertised on their site, should use social media to their advantage. Twitter is the best choice for interactions such as these as it requires little effort for everyone involved. The users feel a lot less commitment when tweeting or following an account on Twitter than they do liking a page on Facebook. It is also easier to manage a Twitter account as messages are short, clear and easier to get an overview of than Facebook posts.

I believe Spotify’s social media efforts within recruiting can be seen as best practice. Other companies would benefit from following their example. It does require that they have an established social media presence already as it would be hard to generate enough traffic and questions without it. And for the love of god, have someone who has actual knowledge answer the questions and manage the account. Don’t make the newly hired intern who knows nothing about the company or social media do it. Spotify had their global recruiting manager conduct the Q&A session, excellent choice and I can only tip my hat and say: Well done Jenny!


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