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Doctoral student employment

Guide for recruiting manager and supervisor when recruiting doctoral student. KTH’s ambition is to be an internationally-recognised technical university. In addition to complying with the legislation and regulations that apply to us as a public authority employer, it is important that our recruitment activities are strategic, structured and far-sighted.

KTH:s recuitment procedure is based on competence-based recruitment  Gender equality, diversity and zero tolerance against discrimination and harassment are important aspects of KTH's work with quality as well as core values in our organization and shall be taken into account in all parts of the recruitment process.

1. Prior to recruitment

Prior to commencing recruitment, the recruiting manager should examine the position and requirements.

Consider the following:

  • What are the organisation’s needs?
  • Are there acceptable study conditions for the education, for example. desks and other equipment needed?
  • What are the goals of the doctoral education/employment?
  • What areas of responsibility and tasks will the job involve (including departmental duties)?
  • What demands will be placed on the employee with regards to experience, knowledge and personal qualities?
  • What is the current group composition? Do you wish to change this?
  • How will the position be financed?
  • Is the recruitment decision supported by the head of school/head of department?
  • Gender equality, diversity and conflicts of interest must be considered throughout the recruitment process.

Recruitment group

A recruitment group is assembled. The group may, for example, consist of the head of department, supervisor and HR administrator. The gender equality perspective must be considered when assembling the group. Note that only a couple of recruitment group members will be present at recruitment interviews. The group is responsible for the entire recruitment process.

2. Recruitment profile Start of the recruitment process

The recruitment profile will form the basis for the entire competence-based recruitment process and must be designed with the necessary care and attention.
Anställningsprofil doktorand swe-eng 240410.docx (docx 69 kB)

The recruitment profile describes the project that the doctoral student will participate in. It states any special entry requirements for the doctoral education, meritorious knowledge and experience, as well as specific qualities that is assessed when examining eligible candidates’ ability to benefit from studies at doctoral level.

According to KTH’s admission regulation, it is the candidate’s maturity, judgement and capacity for independent critical analysis, that should be assess when examining the candidates’ ability to benefit from studies at doctoral level. In order to enable recruiting managers to evaluate the eligible candidates' in an equivalent and safe manner, KTH uses the competence-based recruitment method. This means that in the recruitment profile enter the personal qualities required to succeed in the role of a docotral student and also be able to benefit from studies at doctoral level. According to the competency-based recuitment methodology and which personal characteristics are best in line with what is prescribed in KTH's admission order it is recommended that you use these personal characteristics:

  • Autonomous
  • Ability to co-operate
  • Personal maturity
  • Problem solving analytical ability

These personal qualities (with the exception of problem solving analytical abilities) are most easily evaluated through interviews. If there is a requirement to change/add personal qualities, it is recommended that you contact HR at your school.

Any special entry requirements will be shown in the study plan for individual third-cycle subject (during revision).

Language requirements

Recruitment profiles and advertisements must be available in Swedish. If you wish to advertise in English, the recruitment profile must also be translated.

3. Advertisements

HR at the school will prepare the recruitment ad based on the recruitment profile and send the draft advertisement to the recruiting manager for approval.

Doctoral positions are announced simultaneously nine times a year. The application period is at least 10 days, although an application period of at least three weeks is recommended, with the final day for applications falling on a weekday. If the application period is to be extended, the HR administrator must be informed no later than three working days prior to the original final date for applications.

About announcements and exceptions to the requirement to announce vacancies

4. Selection

The selection process will begin after the application period has closed. Selection is managed in the recruitment system, where the recruiting manager and any other staff who need to do so are granted permission to read applications.

Initially, applications are reviewed based on general and special entry requirements. Thereafter, personal qualities and meritorious knowledge and experience as specified in the announcement are assessed. Qualities and experience should be prioritised in advance. No additional criteria may be added after the event.

HR at the school is available to support the selection process.

When the selection process is complete, interesting candidates should be followed up in a brief telephone conversation to investigate and ensure their suitability/availability for a personal interview. Gender equality, diversity and conflicts of interest must be considered throughout the recruitment process.

Open/download - selection guide when recruiting doctoral students (docx 60 kB)

Guide: ranking the candidates in the recruitment system Varbi (docx 135 kB)

5. Interview

Each candidate’s personal qualities, meritorious knowledge and experience and suitability will be assessed during the interview. It is recommended that 3-6 candidates be invited to attend an interview. If a candidate is not from the Stockholm region, the interview may be conducted via Skype/video conferencing, before the candidate is invited to a possible second interview in person.

During the interview:

  • Use the interview template
  • Create the same conditions for all candidates.

There is an interview guide for download via the recruitment system or a scaled version here below, which can be used for support during the interview. Contact HR at your school for tips and support prior to interviews.

Guide - How to download intervju guide in the recruitment system (docx 76 kB)


Öppna/ladda ner Intervjuguide_doktorand_SVE (docx 25 kB)

Intervjufrågor för alla kompetenser SVE (docx 52 kB)


Open/download Interview_template_ENG (docx 24 kB)

Questions for all personal qualities (docx 30 kB)

Compile and rank

After completing each interview, it is a good idea to compile the information obtained and begin to rank the candidates based on the qualities and experience specified in the announcement. The template for compilation and ranking of top candidates, can be used:

Open/download template for compilation and ranking of top candidates (docx 29 kB)

Work samples and testing

In pursuit of the perfect candidate, interviews can be supplemented with additional information, such as work samples and psychometric testing. This may offer valuable insights into the candidate and ensure that the correct competence and candidate find their way to the right place.

Link to further information on work samples and testing on KTH’s intranet.

6. References

References should be obtained for the selected top candidate. References validate that the referee’s view of the candidate coincide with the candidates presentation of themselves at the interview. Obtain 1-3 references and use the reference template. If HR has participated in interviews, they may assist in obtaining references. Otherwise, they always remain available for consultation and support prior to obtaining references.

Open/download reference template (docx 58 kB)

7. Motivate the top candidate

When all top candidates are interviewed, it is time for the recruitment group to decide on the final candidate who will be conditionally offered the doctoral position. The template for compiling and ranking of top candidates is available to support this process. This template is submitted to HR together with the decision on who is to be conditionally offered the position(s).

Open/download the template for compilation and ranking of top candidates (docx 29 kB)

8. Conditional offers

The successful candidate will be conditionally offered the doctoral position. This means that the position is offered on condition that the candidate is admitted to the doctoral study programme. This decision is communicated to HR with the desired start date and template for compiling, ranking and motivating the selection of the top candidate(s) attached.

Contact unsuccessful candidates

The candidates that have been personally interviewed but which have not moved forward in the process should be contacted in person by the recruitment manager.

HR sends a message through the recruitment system to those applicants who you have not selected for further consideration.

Admission to doctoral study programme

Information about the process of admission to doctoral study programme, in Swedish.