February 23, 2011

Using Skype to Conduct Interviews

As part of our Skype initiative we are trying to increase usage beyond that between co-workers, and use Skype to connect with contractors, business partners and other company stakeholders.

To try to expand our usage of Skype, I conducted 12 interviews with potential contractors via Skype. Many of the interviewees mentioned it was their first experience with Skype, so unfamiliarity with the program may have led to the difficulties some experienced with transmitting video. Of the 12 people, 8 were able to successfully use video for the full interview.

 Each interview lasted 15-20 minutes, and I experienced few technical issues. The majority of the calls went smoothly, with no interruptions. All communication before the interview, including the set-up for the video call, was done over email. So the interview was the first time I had a chance to actually speak with the applicants.

Since interviewing, most of the communication with the contractors has been done through email. I have made myself available via Skype and welcome video calls. Due to the nature of the work email is the easiest way for work to be assigned and submitted.

 I have noticed a difference in communication with those who I was able to connect with over video compared to those who could only make voice calls. Communication with the video-callers seems more personal, even over email. Being able to put a face to a name makes a difference, and I feel as though I have “met” those contractors, even if it was through my computer screen. 

I think using Skype to interview contractors was a great way to bring the conversation to a more “human” level. I don’t think anybody would argue email is going to be replaced with video calls; email is often one of the most convenient ways to communicate for business. The problem is that a degree of familiarity is lost when we only rely on email and instant messaging for communication.

When developing business relationships with people you can’t see on a regular basis it is nice to have a way to talk “face-to-face,” especially one so easily incorporated into your daily work flow.  Instead of scheduling meetings and having to leave the office, I can remain at my desk and start a video call with a couple of clicks.

Have you ever had an interview over Skype? Share your experiences – whether you were the applicant or interviewer!

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