How to be Interviewed on Skype & Phone

By 2 October 2014 No Comments


Many Candidates who are apparently competent and skilled, present themselves very badly on Skype and international telephone calls. Please also read, “How to Prepare for Interview”.


  • Poor phone and Skype connections causing interruptions.
  • Poor interview skills on the side of candidates.
  • Too many interviewers and poor discipline.
  • Lack of understanding of conference call protocols and anxiety about ‘phones and the high cost of calls.’
  • English as a second (or third or fourth) language for the candidates.
  • Different cultural understanding of the recruitment process. Many candidates are used to ‘who you know’ recruitment and have very little formal interview practice.
  • Cultural differences about talking to strangers without proper introductions and extended social niceties. Lack of an introduction phase can seem extremely rude in many cultures.
  • Lack of privacy (at home or work) to take the call.


  • Accept that there may be cultural differences between you and your interviewer(s). It is not so important, in the West / North to have a long introduction. Lack of proper introductions does not indicate that people are rude or don’t want to hear from you. However, the interviewers should all tell you who they are, by name and role. If they don’t, it is OK to ask, “Who am I talking to, please?”
  • Make sure that you have are somewhere that is comfortable and that you won’t be disturbed. I have refused to interview a candidate who was driving across Kampala (“It’s OK, I am on hands-free!!”)
  • Thank them for interviewing you at the end of the interview.
  • If you don’t understand a question or what sort of answer they want, it is fine to ask.
  • Check your understanding if you are unsure: “Do you mean…?”. This will help you to tune in to interviewer expectations which will relax the tight interview structure.
  • Use Headphones and don’t shuffle papers or eat, etc..


  • Prepare well and, if the interview is not in your first language, read a couple of relevant articles – in the language – out loud to refresh your memory on the jargon, etc.
  • Practice interview techniques with a friend.
  • Identify causes of problems early on and be aware that some questions may be ambiguous or vague. If in doubt – ask.
  • Remember that the interviewers may also be nervous.