Skype Interview: Tips from Recruiters or How to Nail the Screen Test?

Let’s be honest, pondering about Skype interview is already an old hat.

The Internet is awash with recommendations on the topic: find a quiet place, set up the mic and – no kidding! – do not forget to put on trousers.

Over the past 8 years we have interviewed hundreds of candidates.

During an interview you can meet a cussing brainiac fooling around with a cigarette on camera as well as a verbally-adept mediocre executive exhibiting manners of a Cheshire cat.

Today recruiters know what questions to ask. Applicants know how to answer these very questions. The aim of an applicant is to present (pitch) oneself. The aim of a recruiter is not to be professionally short-sighted and tell a genius from a Cheshire cat.

On this point Skype interview is not that different from a real interview. However, a number of peculiarities can play both in favor and against each party.

Why choose skype? Benefitsa of a virtual interview.

  • It’s convenient. Skype interview can save you time and money. For example, you don’t even have to get up from the couch to access a candidate from Honduras. In turn, a candidate from Honduras doesn’t have to cough up money on a ticket.
  • It’s easy to share data, be it a reference letter or links to Internet projects.
  • Communication in Skype is always brisker and more effective than a traditional telephone conversation.

What are the downsides?

  • Highly sensitive recruiters say they feel a significant difference between a video image and a real person. Therefore, even if your equipment is good, Skype is somewhat inferior to a personal meeting.
  • Low-quality equipment can also flub up the process. Interruption, bad video, interference and slow Internet can “crumble” the conversation.

Preparing for a skype interview with an employer first impression

Your behavior on camera is akin to a handshake. This can lead to development of a special bond during the conversation or opposite. Therefore, avoid fussing around and be yourself.

Believe it or not, the light and a three days’ stubble on your face are not that crucial. A skilled manager doesn’t care a button about your appearance. The only thing that matters is your talent.

* There were cases when a candidate presented themselves in front of the camera with a naked torso. And, in one instance, a recruiter could hardly discern the interlocutor in the puffs of nicotine smoke.

The devil is in the detail

Have you ever happened to add a smart alias such as pussy_cat, bunny_wabbit or bitchy666 to your contact list? We surely did. So the conclusion is: it is advisable to choose an adequate name for your Skype account.

By the way, if you agreed to go on air at a certain time – keep your word. Out of schedule and running late? Always inform your interlocutor about that. It’s a bummer when you show up 20 minutes late and act as sound as a bell.

The equipment

There is an unwritten law: anything that can break will break at the most inopportune moment. Always double-check the props and have a plan B.

A few more tips:

  • A neat microphone-enabled headset is always better than a large headphones or laptop speakers. Big headphones might make you look like an alien or a radio presenter. The latter only leads to bad connection.

If your Skype interview is in English, pay a particular attention to your sound settings.  It directly depends on whether you can hear the interlocutor and grasp what you are talking about or not.

  • By the way, you can check your own voice by adding echo123 to your contact list. It’s a Skype service that tests the quality of your microphone. Just dial and presto!
  • Turn off all devices and programs running in the background. They slow down the Internet and make various distracting sounds.
  • Check the availability and speed of your Internet (you know why).

Also, it might be good to exchange phone numbers in the event of a broken connection or other unforeseen circumstances.

Tips for employer. How to spot a good candidate.

How often have you met experienced professionals who forget that there are persons behind “staff” and “candidates”?

The golden rule is: a good recruiter always, ALWAYS (!!) learns as much as possible about the person they are about to interview.

(and a seasoned recruiter will also be able to part with the candidate in the status of close acquaintances, even if they didn’t agree on cooperation)

Where to look for info? All sorts of social media will help us, dear friends.

  • It’s better to agree in advance whether the interview will be conducted in video or a voice mode. And if you ask your interlocutor to turn on the video, be ready to show yourself as well.
  • You can also specify your transparency level in Skype and whether the candidate can ask additional questions about the working conditions after the interview.
  • Discuss when a candidate should expect a response about the outcome of the interview and always report the result. Even if it’s negative.
  • Make sure that everything works perfectly on your side.
  • If you want to record your Skype interview, you can use MX Skype program. You can easily download it at

Excitement should also be taken into consideration. Sometimes even a good specialist gets confused and blushes like a child.

Do not reject those who seemed “tight / arrogant / impolite” right away. Otherwise, you risk missing hidden talents through subjective lens.

Fundamental commandments

Applies to both parties:

  • Thou shalt honor thy interlocutor as thyself. Not necessarily love, but respect, don’t interrupt and listen to the end.
  • Thou shalt not waste time – neither thy, nor that of others.
  • Thou shalt not waste the air time. Stick to the point.
  • Thou shalt not be rude and demonstrate thy naked body on camera.
  • Thou shalt not indulge in foul language
  • Thou shalt aim for technical excellence. Use a good camera and make sure everything has been up and running before starting a dialog.

Skype is an excellent communication tool between an employer and an applicant.

And our message is unambiguous: when hiring someone, professional qualities should always remain of high priority.

Therefore, neither the light, nor the color (of the tie / face / curtains in the background), nor wandering cats / roommates / whoever accidentally caught on camera, affect the outcome of a virtual interview.

We are committed to professional communication standards in Skype. Let’s foster professionalism and inner Zen, and forget about showing off in front of a webcam.

May the good connection be with us!