A company is only as good as its people Interview with Lena Eliasson

Lena Eliasson is an engineer by education with over 20 years’ experience within talent management. She currently holds the position of Senior Vice President and Head of Group Human Resources at Saab AB, which has close to 15,000 employees worldwide. We sat down to speak with her about the growing demand for attracting the right talent, how to retain it and getting through the first hurdle to any job - the interview experience.

For Lena, a company is only as good as its people.  

"Over the years I’ve realised how important the employees are, for a company
to deliver results; it’s extremely important to attract, recruit and develop our people".

No matter the talent, experienced or entry level, Lena believes Saab as a company has a great deal to offer.

“What makes me happy is Saab has it all: cutting-edge technology, international, with plans to expand - we have these ‘spices’ - and we are a solid company with a long history of delivering results. There is a lot of opportunity at the moment within the company to grow in your position, as the company develops and advances into new areas. This gives people the chance to explore new areas and develop”.

For Saab a lot of focus is placed on attracting people who will contribute to that ‘thinking edge’. We asked Lena what she looks for in candidates.

“We are looking for skilled people who can deliver results, with the right behavior; it is important to look at what the candidate can do, and also how they do it. There is no point in receiving a result if you don’t achieve it in the right way. Also someone who is team orientated, who has the ability to not just see your own company or their own task, someone with the ability to see the bigger picture and who is open to learning new things”.

A changing talent landscape

How do we stay ahead of the curve?

“As society changes we must be keen to learn new things and to adapt. In order to do this, building the employer brand is important. People want to work for a company they can be proud of, they want to work at a place they can develop, contribute to, and make a meaningful contribution to society. A company’s values, behavior and ethics need to be in-line with the employees’.  At Saab, we have this; I know so because we work to fulfill it each and every day”.

How do we connect with future talent?

“In order to connect with future talent, we need to put ourselves out in the job market, be it at universities, schools, hosting summer interns, or providing job placements. Social media is ever more important to connect with talent. It’s less about printing ads in newspapers and more about digital media, more people are applying on the web, and as a result, we are seeing that a company’s reputation is determined by the employees themselves. For us, our people and their experience working with us, is what matters most. We see word of mouth and recommendation as central to recruitment.”

The interview

For many, the interview can be an intimidating experience, however, an important hurdle to any role no matter what stage you are at in your career. We asked Lena what tips she would give those going into an interview.

“An interview can be such an interesting experience, I feel blessed to have this job to get to speak to and understand so many interesting people”.

“You need to be true to yourself, because a good interviewer will notice. Show them your achievements, your experience, and be honest. The more interviews you do the better, each time you learn, and the better you will get. It gets easier with practice. Read the interviewer, they are so keen to hint to you the things they would like you to talk about. You need to listen to the interviewer and be observant to what’s going on in the room.  Finally, let your personality shine through”.