I have been contacted by the search committee of a Swedish institute to whose (STEM-based) tenure-track position I had applied almost 8 months ago. They informed me that I will have an interview over 30 days after their invitation email. I found that a bit strange because, at least to my experience, search committees often don't postpone interviews more than 10 days from their invitation email's date. I then informed my supervisor and a friend of mine, who is a rookie assistant professor in another Swedish institute, to see whether I can get some useful information about the interview process.
My friend told me that job advertisements in Swedish academia are only pretexts for legalization of recruiting internal applicants. He said, most of the times, an internal applicant has already secured a big chunk of funding/grant, and the affiliating university would like to hire them. But since they can't do it directly, they open a position, and regardless of the other applicants who may apply and their merits, they finally pick the intended person. My friend had already done his Ph.D. in Sweden, and he told me he had 3 interviews with different departments of that university all of which ended up with nothing better than rejection. When I told him about how far the interview date is from the date they invited me, he speculated that "their internal favorite applicant" may be waiting for the finalization of his grant, so the interviews are postponed so that the committee's rationale to pick him will be available. My friend advised me to check the list of the postdoc fellows of the university, especially those who are under the professor who is the position's contact, to see whether there is anyone in the field related to the position. If so, in his estimation, I (just like any other external applicant) may have no chance. (I did what he recommended without finding any good match between the current postdoc fellows there and the position's research topic)
After I informed my supervisor about the invitation, he said he has a friend in the medical department of that university. So, he contacted that person asking whether he has any access to my application and the current opinion of external experts about it. That guy fairly reiterated my friend's claim about the internal recruitment of rookies in Swedish system, and he (mistakenly) even claimed that I am invited to an interview for a senior postdoc position rather than an assistant professorship one! (Despite the clear assistant professorship nature of the job application, I contacted the coordinator of the position, and he just confirmed that this is indeed an assistant professorship position.)
Now I am thinking whether or not what these two (independent) sources claim are really true. To be honest, one may rule out their opinions for some reasons. For example, I felt my friend was a bit salty because of his rejections, and that medical faculty member's experience might only be the case in their department, as he wrongly thought this position cannot be an assistant professorship position. However, its seems that (at least some degrees of) nepotism in Swedish universities to prefer internal applicants is a well-known fact, as one may read in various reports such as here, here, here, etc.
Is there anyone from the Swedish system (or experienced in this topic) who can shed some light on whether or not tenure-track positions in Sweden exclusively assigned to internal fellows?
In the final ranking, I placed second right behind the internal applicant who is a postdoc in that department within the last five years. The only negative comment of the experts of the committee about my case (according to the public protocol of the committee shared by the department) was that I have not yet finished my first postdoc.