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I tried to interview with two different companies in Japan, but they always want use Skype for interviews and refuse use other software/methods (like telephone interview). I do not want use Skype because no internet cafes here have it. This software is spyware; I do not want to create an account. I tell them about other software like Jitsi Meet, but the company replied with:

Dear Applicant, Thank you so much for your mail & advice about using Jitsi meet. But according to our interview procedure we are preferring Skype. Kindly use your Skype to attend the interview with us & Let us know your Skype ID. Your given time 30th October at 17:00 we confirmed your interview according to your suitability. Please make sure us your Skype ID before your interview time. Thank you Best Regards
HR Department b-cause., Inc. Japan

I cancelled the interview because I can't find an internet cafe with Skype.

Does this mean they're not a good company, inflexible and with bad management?

I forgot: the company's job adertisement did not say that the company only uses Skype for interviews.

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    Usually companies decide for one video chat software and configure their clients, firewalls etc for it. An HR employee probably cannot just use a different video chat software. As others pointed out there's also Skype for Web, if you really don't want to install Skype. Nevertheless "Skype is spyware" is unsubstantiated in my opinion. – Simon Nov 1 '18 at 10:20
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    "this software is spyware" - uhh, citation needed. – David K Nov 1 '18 at 15:21
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    @Accumulation: right-click on symbol in task bar, select "close" is hard? – Simon Nov 1 '18 at 15:37
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    No, the fact that HR ignores the request of an applicant who obviously doenst have a clue to install a non-approved Software on their computers (which also are containing data of other applicants) indicates that they are professionals and follow the advice of their IT department. – Sascha Nov 2 '18 at 2:40
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    You structurally refuse to use Skype for an interview with a company that uses Skype as a policy. Does this mean you're not a good candidate, inflexible and with bad attitude? – nl-x Nov 2 '18 at 20:35
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Our company exclusively uses Google hangouts for interviews. We are absolutely a flexible company. However, that is our video chat software so it's what we use.

Another way to look at this question is the employer perspective:

  • There is a candidate that insists we use their own video software for the interview, are they likely to be a high maintenance employee who needs special things?

It also looks like you can use Skype for web, too, so you could do that without installing anything, which seems like it would work for your purposes. Create a throwaway account for the interview, use the online interface, and that's all you'd have to do.

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  • yes you can use skype without installing, you don't even need an account if you don't want one. – Kilisi Oct 31 '18 at 23:52
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    @JoeStrazzere good point, I don't think you can, so a throwaway account would be needed, just takes a few minutes to set up a skype account. I've made several over the years because I don't use skype much and keep forgetting the details. – Kilisi Nov 1 '18 at 0:25
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    @Kilisi one annoying thing about skype is that it seems to require a mobile number these days, makes a throwaway account less "throwaway"ish or harder to come by if you want to use an anonymous number. – Frank Hopkins Nov 1 '18 at 17:01
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    @Kilisi not saying it's impossible, but a phone number is typically associated with more personal data and it's harder to have one phone number for each throwaway account so they are not all linked in the end; so if that is a concern to OP / someone in his shoes, it's more of an issue compared to a software that is happy enough with a mail account. – Frank Hopkins Nov 1 '18 at 21:25
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    Using your real email for things like that is a common cause for getting torrents of spam. Using throwaway accounts for less important things is a good way to protect yourself not just from spam but other tracking etc. And in the age of blatant abuse of personal data by the likes of Facebook and Google, there is no reason to give them data freely to make money from. – Juha Untinen Nov 1 '18 at 23:12
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Is my guess correct?

No.

The requirement to use Skype doesn't imply a bad company, inflexibility, or bad management. It's likely just a nod to the ubiquity of Skype these days.

You can obviously decide not to work there, but you'll be limiting your base of potential employers a lot. Skype is pretty standard fare.

You would be better served to borrow a computer with Skype already installed, assuming you don't already own a computer. Or as @QuaestorLucem wisely suggests, use your smartphone if you own one.

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    Or install Skype in your smartphone. As Joe said, a lot of companies use Skype to conduct remote interviews, so probably you will need it for other interviews. – Quaestor Lucem Nov 1 '18 at 11:53
  • @JoeStrazzere I don't think OP lacks a computer, I guess he just does not want to install Skype as he considers it spyware. – Frank Hopkins Nov 1 '18 at 21:46
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Consider the company's point of view. What if every job candidate had different preferred software? Now they have to install dozens of different software packages and learn to use them. That would be a giant administrative pain.

And think about what it says about you as a potential employee if you refuse to use the company's preferred software. Suppose you get the job. Are you going to refuse to use the company email system and insist on using your own? Are you going to refuse to write company documents in Word and insist on using Open Office? Are you going to refuse to write your programs in C# and insist on using VB? Are you going to demand that they buy you a special chair and use your preferred brand of coffee maker in the break room? Etc.

There are big advantages to a company if everybody is using the same tools. Sure, there are times when there is good reason to break the pattern and do something different. If a company says "We always use Microsoft products. You say that in this case where there are overwhelming advantages to using a non-Microsoft project? No, you don't understand, let me explain again. We always use Microsoft products.", sure, that's foolish and narrow-minded and inflexible.

But it is perfectly reasonable to say, "We conduct all our tele-meetings with Skype so that our people only need to install one telemeeting product on their computers, and anyone who has that software installed can participate in any meeting. We don't doubt that other products may have advantages, but those advantages are not enough to outweigh the convenience of everyone using the same standard product."

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  • Jay - Jitsi require no install software, no account, no ID. But company should tell about Web Skype (I believe they not know it exist) and can have guest/interview account for people use the change pass words after interviews. If they fail try telephone interview, I think every company have telephone and every person know how use telephone. Alway have back up plan. When interview people I use their time and not pay them, I can't expect them have specific stuff (except general stuff like E mail or telephone), they not part of my company, not pay them use some thing convenience for me. – Châu Nov 2 '18 at 0:08
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    Skype is free and can be run from a web site without installing anything. So they're expecting you to have access to a computer and the Internet. If the company insisted that every job applicant install a software product that cost $1000, yeah, that would be a problem. I don't know if they make provision for someone who doesn't own a home computer. Well, you can run Skype from a smart phone -- my wife does that all the time. This doesn't seem like much of an imposition. – Jay Nov 2 '18 at 13:37
  • Note that Skype itself is actually a Microsoft software. They bought the company in 2011. – Volker Siegel Jul 3 '19 at 14:01
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I am actually working in Japan, and I can tell you that I am not surprised by their answer.

It does not tell that it's a bad company, but only a real Japanese company.

At work (and not only) they are totally inflexible with policies and rules, even if that sounds stupid for you. The good point is that nobody will never address you any reproaches for doing stupid things if the policies or the rules enforced it. Another good point is that if the the rule is smart or/and useful, even people that doesn't understand it will stick to it.

If you want to work with Japanese people or in Japan, you should start changing a bit, and accept that sometimes you'll have to do stupid things because your boss or your client told you so.

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"Skype is spyware": Citation needed.

Fact of the matter is, Skype is simply the most stable videoconferencing product out there. I once had an interview with a company who asked me to use a lesser-known one (Zoom or something?), and I spent the first 15 minutes trying to set it up after being told that a Linux client existed when it was highly unstable and wouldn't even load on my computer. Subsequently we tried using Google Hangouts, which connected but the communication was very unstable, so we ended up just using Skype in the end. I passed the interview anyway, but it would have been much smoother on both sides if we had just used Skype to begin with.

As for why no telephone interview, I'm not exactly sure; what I do know is that many Japanese companies have an obsession with video conferencing. Perhaps it's because "we're a tech company we shouldn't use telephones" or something, I don't know. But I've never had a phone interview with a Japanese company. In any case, Skype is much cheaper to use than a long-distance phone call, so that could be a reason too.

Just install Skype and use it. Uninstall it later if you don't like it, or use a throwaway account, or whatever.

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TLDR: It's not indicating bad management, but it might mean they are not a good fit for you.

It's not a bad company. And Skype is not considered spyware. Sadly a decent amount of user tracking and convenience over anonymity / user liberty/ security / data protection is the norm these days.

They have their company solution to do interview (and other calls) and they follow that. I'd find it a bit inflexible to not fall back to a normal telephone conversation, but that they are not too keen on installing other software is totally normal. Some companies where individual employees have a lot of individual responsibility and freedom might accept that, but I would not expect that you can dictate to any company how the interview is done.

Now what does it say about the company? It's probably decently large. The larger a company gets the more it tends to follow policies / company wide solutions to standard problems and adhere to them. There are exceptions where individuals / individual departments have large freedoms, but this seems to be a company that has a tight organisation - at least if the HR department is indicative of the rest of the company.

So while it's not ultimately bad, it might just not be an environment where you would want to work. If you prefer flexibility, individual decisions and or a focus on data protection / user empowerment / open source software, then this could indicate that this is not the right company for you. However, sometimes different departments in the same company are run totally different. While the HR department might have strict rules and use mass market software, other departments might be run different. E.g. in many companies the default operating system is Windows (along with central administration), but people in certain departments are allowed to install their own OS on their work machine and manage their machine themselves (but don't get the same support in maintaining it). Whether this is the case, you won't find out if you don't get an interview.

But if you have enough other options, then this can be a quick filter that sorts out companies you likely don't fit with anyway.

Options to manage the problem as good as possible: As many companies do use Skype for their remote interview calls, you might want to try and get past that step to see if they are generally a bad fit or whether this is the only thing you don't like while minimising the "impact" on you. I'm assuming here that you either don't want to install Skype on your machine, as you consider it spyware, and/or that you don't want to identify yourself towards Microsoft when using Skype.

  • Ask to use normal telephone instead (in this case you tried and did not succeed, but still this, is relatively likely an option,at least compared to suggesting other software based options)
  • Use web-skype, that way you avoid an installation of something you consider spyware, you still require an account though
  • If you feel really paranoid about it, you might also use a Linux distribution on a USB stick to boot into that instead of your normal OS and either install Skype there or use web skype from that system
  • if you want to avoid providing your real phone number when creating a throwaway account, you can try to use an online service that allows you to read sms to mobile numbers provided by them online (google for concrete services); however, those numbers are often black-listed by big companies soon after they go online it seems. So you might have to try a few times till you manage to open an account with one of them. And you run the risk that it is shut-down by Skype should they find out afterwards (no idea what their policy is regarding the usage of such phone numbers). You might want to make sure that is not illegal where you live depending on how harsh your government looks at attempts to stay anonymous.
  • buy a cheap/used phone with a prepaid sim card, install Skype there and use it only for your interviews, then get rid of both (or re-install the system on the phone), same option applies to a laptop
  • ask in an internet cafe if they can install Skype for you; even if they don't have it on there as a default, they might be fine with installing it.

Personal Opinion: To me it's funny that Skype is now adapted all over the place in corporations when it stopped being the leading solution that works without problems cross-platform quite a while ago. Due to that one might see a fixation on Skype as a (tiny) indicator of a company trying to catch up with the times, but still quite a bit behind. But I personally wouldn't use that as a sole discriminator to go ahead or not with an interview process.

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  • This sounds like every Japanese company I've ever heard of. If these are concerns you have in general, then working at a tech company in Japan (aside from Japanese branches of American companies, e.g. Google.jp, Amazon.co.jp, etc) might not be for you. – Ertai87 Nov 1 '18 at 19:58
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I wouldn't consider a company based on their use of Skype, unless it's an actual HR interviews company and does only that.

Keep in mind that Japanese culture tends to be very formal and ritualistic, with all the pros and cons, even in following procedures and rules in ways that you may want to change but will never be able to as much as you try.

Another reason is that their HR department may be using the paid version of Skype for Business that can, among other things, let them record interviews and interact with Calendar applications. If this were the case you do see that asking them to use another service is just something they cannot do since they could be "bound" to be using it. I do not know if they record or not. Generally they should tell you if they do but I know little or nothing about Japanese laws.

And if you worry about using Skype because of "governments" I would simply remind you that if your CV is on the web or LinkedIn there is nothing to worry about an interview where you say what you already said online about you. It's a job interview and when you look for a job you want people to know what you do.

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  • I learn more about from you guy than any place else. I never know business pay Skype version exist, and before ask this question I never know web version exist. If company want force all people use Skype they should tell people this information. I not put CV/resumé in any where on web, never use LinkedIn. Interviews often ask information not in CV/resumé because if information in CV/resumé they can read, no need ask. > "bound" to be using it Another good reason stay away form close source software. :) – Châu Nov 3 '18 at 1:55
  • I'm really glad you could find another possible explanation and learn something new. I don't even know why my answer got downvoted by a few people but in the end it was meant for you and if you got something out of it then it's good for me. Now it's just up to you to decide what to do. Best of luck to you! – Cristian Nov 3 '18 at 21:21
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It’s a red flag only if the company is in the open source software market. Skype is closed source and thus shouldn’t be endorsed if the freedom of using software code is part of company culture. Open source companies always have concerns if they are unable to compile the softwares they use. If you are applying for an open source development position, don’t proceed.

Otherwise it’s not a red flag. Please create s new fake account so nobody will be able to track you down after the interview.

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    For create account require e mail address, I should use what E mail address? – Châu Nov 1 '18 at 3:14
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    @Châu Create a new email address using a new prepaid SIM phone card that you buy by cash. Use that new email address for your Skype. Don't let the government tracks you. – QuantFinance Nov 1 '18 at 3:15
  • Government require ID when buy SIM card. :( – Châu Nov 1 '18 at 3:19
  • @Châu Not all countries require IDs. Try online. Don't let Facebook/Google/US follow you. – QuantFinance Nov 1 '18 at 3:20
  • @Châu why are you hiding so hard????? – bharal Nov 1 '18 at 22:08

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