I have just switched my job in Jan 2011 in Norway. This experience which is very fresh in my head which I will describe here.
Big firms in Norway hire head hunters and outsource their recruitment process and try to recruit best candidates in the market.While small firms who can't afford headhunters execute hiring process by themselves.
You can directly apply to jobs online on the company websites or through head hunting firms. But don't try to apply same job by yourself as well as through headhunter.
Most famous Job Site in Norway is finn.no. You can create your own profile on the website and expose it to the recruiters also start applying for jobs online. There is possibility of setting your own agent on finn.no which could send you automatically jobs when they published on website which match your search criteria.
Each job specification on finn.no is mostly given in very details and unfortunately in norwegian. So you need to use google translator to translate the job description in to english. Companies having their internal business language as English publish their job requirement in english to appeal wide range of people. The job description also contains the contact person for the job.Feel free to contact this person. They would be very nice to entertain you. You can ask them questions regarding job descriptions and things if not clear to you about job.
Almost all Norwegian employers are looking for their employees from different backgrounds like culture and ethnicity.
As mentioned above there are some companies in Norway who has business language as English.Mostly are MNCs which are doing business abroad as well as in Norway. Lots of consulting companies do business both in english and norwegian.
Mostly all Norwegians know English very well and they are very cooperative ,have very good work ethics ,good team players as well as down to earth people. Mostly workplace are very mature because avg. age of the people is around 35.
You need to give a 3 months’ notice to your current employer. This is common in all Norway. But you can have different arrangement with your current employer.It depends.
CV and Covering Letter
You need prepare a CV and covering letter.
Covering letter consists of
1. Your brief experience summery
2. Your motivation for applying the job.
3. Why you are suitable for this job.
4. Your proficiency about Norwegian language. I would emphasize the you must learn Norwegian language if you want to work in Norway. No escape from this rule :)
CV must contain:
1. Descrption about skills
2. Your experience
3 Your birth date
5 Contact details and mobile number
6. Work permit status if any
General Interview procedure
1. Personal Interview (Mostly with headhunter).
He tries to gauge your personality and personal questions, family related questions, salary expectations and he tries if you fit in the position as well as culture of the company.
2. If headhunter likes you he recommends your CV to the employer. Then employer shortlists the CVs
3. The headhunter arranges your interview with head of the department of your prospected employer.
3. Then interview happens either technical (for techies) or related your domain.
4. If you pass all these interviews then head hunter asks for references. These references could be from your current employer or previous employer in Norway.
5. There is a possibility that you can have another interview with headhunter or department head. This could be a final interview wherepossibility that you negotiate salary exists. In parallel reference checks are done by headhunter or department head.
Keep ready two references mostly from your current or previous job. Once your prospect employer asks for reference there is certainty that you will get a job. References are mostly expected to be your Norwegian colleagues.
Being social with Norwegians helps very much to get references as well as to find jobs. What I understand from the process that reference check is taken very seriously.
Headhunters call the references and try to do a background check on you. They ask lots of questions regarding your work ethics, you style at work, and personality etc and they try to cross check this with what you said in the interview. So it’s better not to hide anything....
Dress code is formal during the interview and you can prefer English if you don't know Norwegian. You can mention that in your covering letter.
If there is multiple job interview processes are going on with different companies you can say so. You can also ask them to take a decision as early as possible.
Better policy is to be honest in the interview. You are not expected to know all the things in your domain. You need to confidentin the interview. If you don't understand any question then you can ask him to repeat.
Learning Norwegian is very important in Norway because that shows that you are interested in getting accustomed to Norwegian culture. There are lots of Norwegian language courses available in Oslo. That’s a best start to learn Norwegian. On top of that it’s a onetime investment. Once you know language you know it for lifetime.
Best of luck for your next job hunting in Norway......