Why is it some employers want to do video calls, such as Skype, for interviews instead of just a phone call? The only reason I can think of is so they know how you look, but what difference does that make?


Lots of reasons. First, they want to make sure you aren't cheating on the questions by having someone else feeding you the answers or looking them up on Google.

They want to see your body language to assess your reactions to the questions beyond just your words.

There are some unethical people who do the phone interviews and then are not the people who show up when they get hired. So they want to see you to see if you are actually thhe person they hired when you get there. This is especially true if the hiring offical has been burned in the past by having a very knowldgeable phone interview result in a totally incompetent person showing up for work.

And depending on the job, appearance might be important as you might have customer contact and they want to ensure you are someone they would want to see as the face of the company.

Will some people be assessing you on irrelvant factors like race or weight? Yes. But those same type of people may be assessing you on other irrelvant factors on a phone call like your name or your accent.

  • 2
    +1. Part of seeing body language is also being able to see the non-verbal cues that say "I'm done with my answer" vs. "I'm pausing before I continue my answer". A phone call between people that have no prior context often leads to either awkward pauses or people unintentionally interrupting each other. That's less of a problem when there is video to go along with the audio. – Justin Cave Aug 7 '14 at 21:28
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    Also to add, it makes it easier to understand the interviewee especially when the language of the interview is not their first language. – Hamatti Aug 7 '14 at 23:08
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    Don't forget screen-sharing (which most video-calling programs will do). Particularly for technical/coding interviews an interviewer may want to observe in realtime as you write code. – aroth Aug 8 '14 at 3:23
  • I think the interview is kind of like a first date. Would you want to date someone who you just phoned with? If you have a video conference you would feel more confident in what to expect dating that person. It's the same letting you in to the company as getting into a relationship. The suggestions here about cheating and whatnot are only marginally relevant like 1% important – Brandin Aug 8 '14 at 17:45
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    This question is part of this week's Broken Windows For Review on meta. – jmort253 Oct 20 '14 at 2:01

Why is it some employers want to do video calls, such as Skype, for interviews instead of just a phone call?

Body language.

You've probably noticed that you have more information conveyed to you when you talk to someone in person, rather than on the phone.

The look on their face, the tilt of their head, the shaking or nodding their head - these all indicate what the person is thinking as much as their words do.

This is what employers are trying to gain (at least to some extent) by using video rather than just phone calls.

  • Yes. In my experience, employers who use Skype for interviews are doing it because you're not local -- they would rather have an in-person interview, but this is the best they can do and it's way better than voice-only. (In my recent job change, I had a Skype interview with the hiring manager first and then they flew me in to interview with the rest of the team. I got the impression that's pretty common.) – Monica Cellio Aug 8 '14 at 22:55

Video calls give them a better look at you in a number of different ways. The audio quality is clearer than phones provide. They can check that you're able to dress properly and groom yourself. They can see your body language, and you can see theirs.

On the whole, video calls provide a much better experience and clearer communication between both parties. If both parties have computers with webcams and microphones, why wouldn't they want to use them for something as important as a job interview?

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    "The audio quality is clearer than phones provide" - doesn't match my experience with any video call I've ever been part of. – Carson63000 Aug 8 '14 at 2:10

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