As part of your recruitment process a phone, or a Skype interview (or video interview), can help you screen out candidates so you only meet the best ones face to face, and  save time. This technique is good, but may need some thinking out beforehand. Here are 7 Skype interview tips to help you to find better candidates.

Skype interviewing tips

Why would you bother with a video interview?

There’s a time saving element of screening out people you don’t want to interview face to face, and it can help see your candidates in a different light. Video technology is increasing; today the only way your clients might “meet” your team members is probably on the phone; but video calls are becoming more common. Understanding how they cope with a Skype interview, may give you some sensible insights.

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7 Skype interview tips for successful recruiting

You’re probably using your Skype interviews as a screening tactic; that means you only have to meet the best people face to face. Check them out, ask a few interview questions to get some basic information and sell the next stage in your recruitment process, set a time limit – 15 minutes? Plan it, tell the candidate and then manage the video interview to stay to time.

  1. Sort out your technology. You’re likely to be interviewing from your office, so your technology should work as normal. However, if you were planning to work from home, or somewhere else, test it first! Relying on good broadband is OK, if you have it, and if it stays for the session. You may want to have a backup plan, 4G on your iPad? Also make sure your Skype app, microphone and camera are all working, obvious maybe, but a good way to look unprofessional. A video interview where the interviewer looks blurry or pixelated isn’t good
  2. Choose a good location. The obvious things here are being interrupted or get distracted. Give yourself a separate room to yourself for the duration of the interview, removing the background noise. Now think about the camera, if you are between the camera and window (or strong light) you will appear in shadow. What else is in view? A messy desk really gets noticed on a video camera, so check your background!
  3. How will you dress? If you dress up for face to face interviews, you should for this too (at least above the waist). Of course, it’s important your dress style reflects the culture of your firm and that you help the candidate fit into that.
  4. What will you do if the IT fails? Thinking in advance, and telling the candidate in advance, what the plan is if something goes wrong makes sense. If you suspect the connection failed, or there is a long delay, check they can still hear you. If there is a technology problem, it’s best to deal with it early, rather than struggling through the whole video interview. Often all you need to do is restart the call.
  5. Don’t forget your normal preparation. It’s easy to forget all the normal things (preparing questions, scripts, etc.) when you’re concentrating on a different delivery method. How will you open (and close) the call, what are the things you want to find out, what are the next steps afterwards?
  6. Things you might need. Get things nearby before you start, glass of water, paper, pen etc. You’re your phone nearby, in case you need to call them (technology fault), but leave it on silent. One other thing I’ve learnt by experience is that being on video often leaves me unable to answer the call of nature, unless I prepared earlier.
  7. Smile. We all react well when people look genuinely happy to speak to us. If anything, you need to work even harder at this for a video interview. Being polite, courteous, and presenting a friendly face are part of your firm’s marketing.

As with all interviews

  1. Before you start, have a plan. How will you take notes and record the results?
  2. What results do you want, what’s good, bad, and unacceptable?
  3. How will you tell them the next steps, or that they’re been rejected?
  4. What are the main bits of information you want to tell them?

Screening candidates using Skype can give good results and save time. What are your experiences of video interviews?

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Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access

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