101 For Conducting Skype Interviews

One phrase that all recruiters and HR professionals unanimously hate is “No Show” particularly when it is for interviews. Given the work pressure and mounting stress levels, many candidates find it difficult to get away during the week days to attend interviews. Consequently “No Show” is becoming rampant particularly in IT & ITES companies. One of the ways to overcome this problem is to conduct telephonic and video interviews for outstation or even for local candidates. Skype or Google hangout can help you secure at least 70 to 75% of the information you would normally get in a face to face interview. Additionally video calls will help cut costs, improve efficiency, turnaround time of hiring and more importantly help recruit the right person on time. Although the basic rules of interviewing remain the same, as a facilitator you need to plan for the video call little more than your regular interview. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind –

Check and Recheck your technical settings
Even before you connect to the candidate, it helps to ensure all the technical settings are in order. Nothing can be more frustrating than having to reconnect number of times during the interview due to poor audio, image or connectivity. Whichever technology you choose, do be familiar with it in advance and know how to use it efficiently. Fumbling and tinkering around during the interview reflects a lack of preparedness and professionalism and interrupts exchange of information.

Set the tone of the interview
As an interviewer your role is certainly easier than appearing for the interview. Nevertheless, your preparation is no less as you will be seen as the face of your company. Essentially it’s an interview like any other so as a facilitator – do set the tone through a formal exchange of greetings, make the candidate comfortable through icebreakers and explain the interview format to the candidate. Sounds easy but if not done well, it can create a poor image of your company and impact the decision made by your candidate. Another important tip during a video call is to give enough time to the participant to respond as sometimes there is a lag and it takes longer for him or her to understand the question.

• As the facilitator, do introduce the team who is interviewing the candidate before you begin.
• It’s good to speak slowly and in a slightly higher pitch during Skype interviews. Do check with the candidate if you are audible and comprehensible to him or her.
• It helps if you are organized and have the resume, questions and notes at hand before the interview.
• No matter how much you prepare, there is always a possibility that something will go wrong. Do inform the candidate at the start of the interview, who will call back in case the call gets disconnected.
• Do inform the duration of the interview to the candidate in advance.
• Allow the candidate some time to ask questions at the end of the interview.
• Do thank the candidate and inform him or her of the way forward.

Consider the Background
It’s always a good idea to arrange for a quiet room for the interview. It allows the interviewer to remain focused on the interview, make relevant notes and engage the candidate’s attention in the best possible way. People moving about in the background and noisy environment can be distracting for both – the interviewer and the candidate. Since it’s a video call – it’s also very important that the room be well lit. Just like you want to see the candidate clearly, so does he.

Professional appearance
Although many companies are moving towards casual dressing, dressing formally for interviews creates a professional impression. It reflects your organization’s seriousness towards the position and person. Basically as in any interview – you are creating a brand image for your organization, so it’s worth the effort – even if you will only be seen partially. 
What to look out for:

Account names:
As an interviewer you are keen to learn as much as possible about the candidate. For video call through Skype or google hangout or any other technology, do check the account names. Account names often reflect shades of personality otherwise not visible. You can always ask more about the name during the interview but sometimes it can sound off alarms if it is extreme like “I HATE***”. Likewise your company account should reflect the seriousness of your role and position.

Many candidates give Skype interviews from home. A quick glance at the background –pictures, decor, room, posters etc will give you an insight into the person you are talking to.

Time zones
Getting the time zone wrong is very easy so it makes sense to verify in advance working or daylight hours from the candidate to avoid any possible problems.

Last but not the least, there are options to record the interview on Skype using plugins like Vodburner which will make your life easier. You can simply forward the interview to your counterparts in any part of the world if needed for assessment and get your hiring on track. Skype also offers some support on recording options on their site.

Do share your experiences on Skype interviews in the space below. We would love to know more about it.

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