Calling All Vikings Overseas

Two Swedish women, Linda Bjornered and Gunilla Orwen, have established their own online recruitment company at in Kuala Lumpur with a special focus on assisting Scandinavian job seekers and Scandinavian related companies matching up.
“We have established a platform where you can combine the needs of the companies to recruit staff directly on location with the need of the individual to find a position relevant to their capabilities and background,” explains Linda Bjornered. 
The two Swedish owners are building on their mutual experience as expatriates in Southeast Asia and – in the case of Gunilla Orwen – her 25 years of experience as a recruitment psychologist back in Sweden.   
Both of them came to Malaysia, where they now live in Kuala Lumpur, not on any assignment from a big Swedish company but on their own initiative.
Their services will cater for instance to spouses to make their skills visible, and assist the corporate world in finding potentials in a certain geographical area and that fits specific needs.
“For any company, it is important to be able to find those persons who actually can enter into a job position rapidly,” Gunilla explains.  
“The job is to find such a person with the right experience who does not require a long time to adapt to the new job situation. If you have been to a certain place before and return there, you’ll be able to start performing much faster,” Gunilla adds.

How are they different?
There are a large number of recruiters, job sites etc. but very few caters effectively to the needs of people living outside their home country when it comes to the career and job positions, or corporations’ recruitment, Linda and Gunilla says.
The main difference with Vikings Overseas is its unique method to have a database of assessed candidates, which will allow the recruiter to find the ideal match.  
Those joining the database get an accurate and professional analysis of their own actual potential. This profile, describing strengths and weaknesses in regards of a person’s performance, will be matched with the employer’s desired profile for a specific search.    
Thus expatriates and human resources staff/employers get the opportunity to have a new recruiting experience which can solve the often inefficient and slow process of recruiting where advertisers are inundated with applications, often from unqualified candidates, when the matching is not good.   
For the expatriate community Vikings Overseas also opens up a new window of opportunity for what is to become a large pool of individuals and companies to find each other and communicate.    
“To have this kind of contact is rare in a recruitment process unless you reach the final stage. And looking at all the job portals, the problem with those is that there are so many and they often look quite the same. Especially if looking for somebody younger, where the job does not require specialist competence, employers can get thousands of applications,” says Gunilla.

Attitude analysis
The attitude analysis is a key component.   
“Here we can tell by percentage how any person matches with the criteria. Then we can match, and it’s not only about competence, but also the personal profile. So that is the unique part with this.”   
“We’re 100 per cent unique on combining jobs and job seekers with this kind of assessment, though it’s based on old method among recruiters.”   
“Companies will know that those who have submitted as job seekers go through the job attitude test. They’ll know they’re expats and in what countries they have worked. So, from a company’s point of view you enter directly and have access to persons only with international experience, in addition to that they are analyzed,” says Linda.    
“What mainly makes the difference is their attitude and in what way they can play a role within a company.” 
“Most expatriates have more or less the same education background but it’s the attitude which controls 80 per cent of your performance. That, combined with the experience you have constitutes the basis for if you will succeed on a job, based on that one can take the best plums.”

Jobseekers anonymous
Among job seekers, it is appreciated, that they can stay anonymous within this system until they’re called for an interview, Linda mentions.   
Typical customers are for example medium sized companies with the need to have a manager of a certain nationality for its subsidiary abroad, where Vikings Overseas can replace the head hunter to cut costs and more effectively assist in finding someone suitable on location instead. Such companies will be able to enter a database and find people who already are on or plan to go to a place and what those can contribute.

Increasingly needed
The need for a platform like Vikings Overseas where qualified candidates, including passive job seekers with the right experience, and employers can find each other is probably increasing.   
Both Gunilla and Linda share the notion that increasingly there are expatriates out there who either does not want or simply cannot return to their home country as they have established a family overseas, especially now when many people lose their job overseas. Many more are married abroad than say ten years ago, says Gunilla.  
Also, people are increasingly being sent out on short-term projects for say eight months up to a year.   
“There are many persons who have been out on various positions who might want to return to certain places and want to be able to choose themselves. Many are out there with a network they want to share, though they are perhaps entering semi-retirement. Also among the younger ones there are those who want to go abroad and climb on the career ladder, wanting to do that on another place than in for instance Sweden,” she believes.   
Another category is those following their spouse on assignment abroad; many with a lot of experience and with good education who wants to work   
“That’s a large group that could be utilized by the companies, without having to pay them a full expat salary,” believes Linda.  

Bad timing
Linda and Gunilla admit that the timing could have been better, but after one and a half years of preparations they didn’t see why they should wait.   
In fact it gives them a chance to focus more on finding and processing qualified expatriates, including passive job seekers – currently at a discounted price. This process starts when people sign up at the website    
“When the job trend turns around we will have a ringside seat and be able to reach out to the companies, because they think this is a fantastic idea,” says Linda.   
In order to reach out to expatriates they turn to networks such as SWEA, rotary clubs and chambers of commerce etc. all over the world.    
“We try to activate the database in all ways possible since the interest from the corporate world can only increase,” says Gunilla:   
“We talked to a number of subsidiary managers over here in Asia, and the good thing is they all view this as very positive, and many say that this is exactly what they need,” adds Linda.

About Joakim Persson

Freelance business and lifestyle photojournalist

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