How to do a job interview via Skype

In the good old days, there was the phone interview and then the face to face interview. Now, for a lot of jobs, there’s an added middle step — the Skype interview. These are especially popular for jobs that aren’t just around the corner. Before a company is willing to pay to fly you out, they want to talk face to face, and this is the way to do it.

All the regular interview rule apply — speak slowly and clearly, focus on your accomplishments, don’t bad mouth your former employers, and wear proper interview clothing. Don’t be tempted to wear jeans and a t-shirt because it’s “just” a Skpe interview. (And even though it may be tempting to put on a button down shirt and tie on not bother with nice pants, you could get caught and wind up looking foolish, so dress properly from head to toe.)
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12 thoughts on “How to do a job interview via Skype

  1. I definitely agree on the dressing properly. I recently heard a story from one recruiter who said that there had been audio difficulties, so they called the candidate. Said candidate promptly got up to go get his cell phone across the room, crossing in front of the camera. That’s right, no pants.

    Here’s another faux pas: Candidates who TYPE (because they’re googling answers) during the interview. We can hear you clacking away on the keyboard. You’re distracted, the interviewer’s distracted–not a good thing. This was from a PhD applying for a tenure track position.

    Finally, there are the people who don’t know where to look, particularly when it’s a group Skype interview. This one is really hard, because we’ve all been taught to shift our eyes to other people in the room during group interview situations to include them in our answer. The temptation in video interviews is to do this so you can get their body language while you’re answering, just as you would in person.

    I submit this is distracting at best and makes you look shifty at worst. Therefore, I encourage interviewees to look DIRECTLY at the camera while answering the question. You’ll seem like you’re looking at EVERYONE that way.

    Curious to hear what EHRL and others think about this advice.

    1. I’m laughing at the guy with no pants. Oops!

      I like your advice. I didn’t think about not typing, because I type when I skype, but that’s because I’m interviewing people, not being interviewed. However, I also wear a headset so that (hopefully) they can’t hear the typing.

        1. I’ll second that – I do training via Live Meeting, WebEx, etc. and have to remind everyone before every distance class to please mute their end because of typing and other noises.

          Of course, I also have to remind people to unmute when I ask a question and no one answers!

          1. Curses! Well, since the people I’m interviewing want me to interview them so that they can get their company’s names out there, they will have to suffer!

            But I promise not to type if someone is interviewing me for a job. Or for anything.

  2. What do you think about the HR and hiring managers who don’t put up their video, while the candidate does? I’ve been in this situation a couple times. As a candidate, I find it quite frustrating that I cannot see the people with whom I am conversing. Isn’t 2-way video the whole point of Skype?
    Is this just all part of the one-way ‘we’re here to judge you and we don’t care about your needs’ attitude that employers love to portray?

    1. I think that’s totally lame and it becomes more of an interrogation than a job interview, which should be a two way discussion.

      1. The reason I didn’t have my video on when I was interviewing candidates in the Middle East was because I was calling them at 7:00 a.m. my time and I was unshowered and in my bathrobe.

  3. Skype interviews have both their pros and cons , however there’s no doubt that they are here to stay. From the point of view of a candidate it should be easier to go through an interview if they don’t even have to leave their home, but it looks like it causes more hassle than expected. I think video interviews are only difficult for those who don’t know how to behave during a regular interview, for the rest it should be ok.

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