Martin Alsted, Senior Advisor, - Denmark

15/02/2016 10:33

« The French can benefit from a very good and specialized educational system, especially concerning agronomy and food. »


CT : What does a typical recruitment process look like, here in Denmark ?

MA : To recruit a new employee, you need to define the position and the required profile, get in touch with relevant candidates and select the right candidate for the job. In Denmark, recruitment companies have different ways of handling these three steps. It's very common to advertise jobs – more and more via online job portals than printed media. However, much recruitment actually happen via the network of the companies' employees without doing any advertising.

For management and specialist positions, companies often use recruitment agencies like us to find people with certain competencies. In general, recruitment becomes more and more specialized and, as specialists within food recruitment, we normally handle the recruitment process from A to Z in close dialogue with our customers.


Job requirements are normally described quite detailed in Danish job ads. Professional skills and competencies and required or preferred personal characteristics. Candidates are typically being screened on the basis of professional skills and competencies, but the selection of the final candidate often depends on the personality of the candidate. For this purpose, it is very common to use assessment tools – primarily personality profiles but also testing of logical reasoning.

As a recruiter I get my first impression of a candidate by reading their CV and letter of motivation. Next step is meeting the candidate over the phone or face to face. Here the information goes both ways – we discuss both the job and the candidate's profile and motivation. My main focus is all work related aspects, but of course, I try to get a 360 degree impression of the candidate.

Because of legislation against discrimination, I am not allowed to ask about certain things such as age, whether a woman is planning to get pregnant etc., but apart from that, the private situation is also part of the interview.

After my selection of typically 3 to 4 candidates, there is a first presentation of them to the hiring company. This would normally be an interview with the hiring manager, an HR representative and I. Next step for 1 to 2 candidates would then be personality profile and perhaps testing and then a second interview at the company, perhaps including the manager's manager. As a final step, I take references on the final candidate, and when these support a positive impression, it's time for the company to offer the candidate a contract. The whole process usually takes 8 to 10 weeks, and after then, it will typically take further a month or so before a candidate is able to start after giving notice to the company that he or she is leaving. I keep in contact with both candidate and employee after the start to ensure that expectations from both sides are met and that perhaps unforeseen problems are dealt with.

CT : How much do you use the social networks ?

MA : This is a real tool for us. As a recruiter with many years in the food sector, my social network includes a very high number of food professionals, who know someone who know someone - in the food business.

No matter the technological development, your ability to find the right candidate still depends on how well you develop your own network.

CT : What is your experience of French candidates  ?

My experience of recruiting French candidates is actually quite positive. They spoke surprisingly good English – despite what you normally hear. They were experienced people, very easy to communicate with and I generally had a very good impression. I think the French benefit from a very good and specialized educational system, especially concerning agronomy and food.

Next time, Martin Alsted will talk about working in Denmark.

Martin Alsted has been interviewed by Christelle Thouvenin