I'm recently had an interview on Skype where pre-interview the Female Interviewer texted me that she would prefer a Video Call on Skype rather than just audio. I agreed and proceeded with accepting the call as Video Call on Skype.

But Interviewer had their side only Audio. The reason I mentioned the Interviewer's gender is cause I'm from Pakistan and some religious females here avoid showing their face in Public even in professional environment. But it's very rare. So, I thought she might had the same reasons to not do a Video Call but the whole interview I just kept looking at myself in the screen. Which really feels uncomfortable when you know that they are looking at you but you can't see them.

Once more I had an interview with a Male interviewer from Germany although He didn't request the Audio or Video but I accepted the call as Video and He did the Audio Call cause I just wanted to stay on the safe side and not be rude by doing an Audio call where maybe interviewer was expecting a Video Call.

In both instances I wanted to ask the interviewers to do a Video Call on both sides or just the Audio, cause to me this felt rude and uncomfortable. But I didn't ask because I didn't wanted to make an issue out of nothing.

Should I in future ask interviewer to switch to video and how without being rude?

  • 2
    OP, one important point is that it has utterly nothing - no connection at all - to religion or gender. Nothing to do with it.
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 15:32
  • Imagine someone was trying to sell YOU a car. Some salesperson contacts you and is trying to sell YOU something. To take your money. And on the call that person said to YOU: "Hey buddy, turn on your video would you?" What would you think??
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 15:36
  • @Fattie, again, how much is the car? Is it a bargain? ;)
    – user94342
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 15:45

3 Answers 3


Never guess. You can simply verify by saying:

Uh sorry, looks like my Skype isn't working properly, I can't see you.

And they will either turn their camera on or at least explain the reason.

If they insist on a one-sided video call without respectable reason, maybe you should look for some other place TBH. Interviewing is never a one-sided game: while companies are interviewing you as a potential employee, you are also interviewing them as potential employer. Companies that fail to recognize and respect the equal relationship inside an interview have a higher chance to not respect the fair relationship between employer and employee in future.

  • I really appreciate you advice. I'll definatly keep this in mind during my future interactions. Also it's good to know that I wasn't thinking nonsense or being unreasonable expecting equal standing in the interview.
    – Ahmad
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 17:27

You can have a video or audio call, both are fine. I don't personally get what information people think they will glean from staring at your pixellated face. I suppose the idea is to see some nonverbal communication and ability to dress appropriately - but what could be a more foolish way of gauging it than one where you can't even tell if they're wearing pants?

However, barring compelling technical reasons it should be reciprocal. If you are audio only, asking for video is impolite. It makes it seem like you're being watched, not interacted with as a person of equal standing. If the other party asked for video but doesn't have it themselves, I think a polite thing you can say is "Hey, your video isn't working, is there an issue with it?" or "Oh, I wasn't sure if we were doing an audio or video conference, let me turn mine off too."

The reason you suggest, the religious observance, is nonsensical. Firstly this is a case where beliefs are clearly interfering with primary work task (video-interviewing people). It's like hiring a teetotaler to be the chief taster at a distillery. Second, if her objection was that she does not wish to show her face, the logical solution is to wear the same sort of hijab or covering garb as she would in an actual interview.

Of course, as a desperate job seeker, you are at the employer's mercy. If they want you to wear a toga and do a handstand inside your fridge while interviewing, guess you'll just have to do it. Any indignities in the interview process probably do not outweigh the need for a job. But if you must suffer unfair treatment, at least understand that it is unfair, and that you shouldn't have to stand for it. One day you will surely stop being desperate, that's the day to start refusing bogus interview demands.

  • Thanks for you advice. Just a quick note I'm not desperatly looking for job. I was actually thinking of turing them down (The Company which I mentioned in first interview), cause mostly I just didn't like them overall. In the interview I really wanted to say something or just quit, But I didn't want to come off as unprofessional or rude
    – Ahmad
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 17:34

You can definitely ask for video (or for audio only). Be polite, and expect refusal on their side if they are not comfortable with it "Hello, would you like to switch to video? I would be more comfortable doing the interview that way. It is fine if you cannot or do not want to." Or any other viable reason. If they refuse, be ready to talk without seeing them, you can practice this as well by performing mock presentations of your work for example.

Reciprocally, if you feel uncomfortable with video, you can ask if you can do it audio only, but it can already give some ideas to your interviewers, such as you being shy or not comfortable with how you appear in video.

  • I find it really amazing that any supplicant - someone wanting a job or a contract - would say to a person about to give them a job or a contract .... "Hey, turn on your video would you?" It's really just ....... amazing. It's .. absolutely amazing. It's no wonder my little company gets every contract we go for and that i get every job i go for :/
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 15:31
  • 1
    It's more about respect, it goes both way. If the interview says unilaterally "turn on your video", you can ask for equality there. To me, it's a win win situation, it shows that the interviewee has enough courage to actually act, and if there is an issue, interviewers can just refuse. And that would also help seeing how the interviewee cope with refusal. And I am glad you got every contract/job you went for! But this is just one sample among a lot, and I am plenty sure a lot of other person had never much issues to get our jobs/contracts, while having demands to the interviewer side.
    – Ara
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 15:36
  • Again, FYI I find this just literally incomprehensible. I am on a chat with a beloved client right now, and I would no more say "hey Jane - turn on your video" than I would ask a senior, on a bus, to get off their seat so I can sit down. Maybe I'm too formal. Maybe I should go live in Japan. Anyway, I am fascinated to hear others opinions. Cheers and good luck
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 16:07

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