Skype interview questions

Do you Skype to interview candidates as part of your hiring process? These examples of Skype interview questions will help you screen candidates to determine who to invite to an in-person interview.

Skype interview candidates

What to ask candidates in a Skype interview

Skype is an effective interviewing tool for recruiters and candidates, especially during initial hiring stages. Skype interviews help recruiters:

  • Evaluate verbal communication skills
  • Screen for deal-breakers, like salary and availability
  • Clarify details of resumes
  • Test role-required speaking skills (e.g. abilities to speak foreign languages, help customers solve problems or deliver sales pitches)
  • Interview candidates in remote locations
  • Organize interviews for distributed teams

During Skype or video interviews, introduce yourself to break the ice. Then, share some information about the job (e.g. work schedule, key tasks and benefits) to gauge candidates’ interest. Use this call to decide whether to move the candidate to the next phase.

For distributed teams, Skype calls are useful for second and even third-round interviews. In this case, treat the Skype interview as an in-person one. Delve deeper with your candidates by asking them behavioral and situational questions.

Here are some sample interview questions to ask candidates during a Skype interview:

Example Skype interview questions to ask candidates

  • From your studies and work experience so far, who or what mostly inspired you to pursue this career?
  • In your opinion, what constitutes a healthy work environment?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • When is the earliest you can start?
  • What attracted you to the job ad? Why did you decide to apply?
  • Did you hear about our company before applying? What information intrigued you? What would you like to learn more about?

Tips to conduct an effective Skype interview

  • Send candidates a video interview invitation email to schedule the day and time that your call will take place. Make sure to use the correct time zones, in case you’re in different locations. Include estimated duration, the name and job title of the interviewer and your Skype account name. Add candidate’s Skype account to your contacts prior to the interview, to make sure you’re contacting the right person.
  • Before the interview, conduct a sound check to ensure your equipment operates properly. Also, choose a quiet corner in the office or a private room, so that both you and the candidate are not distracted by background noises or people.
  • It’s challenging to maintain eye contact through a computer screen, but it can be done. Try to focus on the camera instead of your screen. If you want to take notes, make them brief. If you spend most of the interview not looking at your candidates, they might feel uncomfortable, which could unfairly impact their interview.
  • Prepare your questions beforehand, but don’t hesitate to go “off-script” and elaborate on something that draws your attention. Make sure, though, that you and the candidates cover all essential information both parties need to know at this point in the hiring process.
  • In case you need to record a Skype call (e.g. for members of the hiring team) make sure you obtain candidates’ permission first. It’s best to inform them via email and get written consent for the recording, to avoid legal consequences.

Red flags

  • Ghosting or being late. If the candidate doesn’t login on time for your scheduled appointment and/or doesn’t answer your Skype call (without giving you prior notice), that’s an indicator they’re not interested in the position and might be unreliable in the future.
  • External noises or bad signal. Just like the recruiter, candidates should prepare for the interview. Bad signals, noises and distractions are off-putting. If the candidate faces some temporary issues (e.g. with their Internet connection) they could suggest an alternative, like rescheduling or interviewing via another app, like Google Hangouts.
  • Being too casual. A Skype interview for a job isn’t like a Skype call with friends. Casual expressions like “Hey”, “Huh?” and “Say again?” indicate that candidates don’t take this interview seriously.
  • Negative body language. You can read candidates’ facial expressions even through your computer screen. While it’s normal to be slightly reserved at first, nervousness and poor communication skills are red flags, particularly for roles that require social interaction.
  • Unprofessional dress code and/or environment. Skype interviews simulate in-person interviews. Candidates might be at home during the call, but their clothing shouldn’t reflect that. Casual clothes and interviewing while sitting on a bed instead of a desk indicate a lack of professionalism.
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