The interview process can be nerve-wracking. To secure a job in this competitive market, you must be as prepared as possible.
One of the things you must prepare for is the phone or Skype interview, as it’s becoming more and more of a traditional approach for job hunting— especially these days.
But the question is, who calls who for this interview? Does the company contact you, or should you reach out to them?
Here are experts’ insights:
General Manager, Lock Search Group
It is expected that the interviewer/company will call the interviewee
In most cases, it is expected that the interviewer/company will call the interviewee. The interviewee is expected to be available on the agreed-upon time and should be adequately prepared to answer common virtual interview questions while practicing good video or voice call etiquette.
Personally, when I schedule a Skype interview, I send the candidate a request to connect at least 15 minutes ahead of time, and when that time comes, I will initiate the call.
For phone interviews, I usually send a quick text a few minutes before the interview letting the candidate know that I will be calling them at the scheduled time. It would be something as simple as:
“Hey Jane, just a heads up that I will be calling you for our interview at 3 pm as scheduled. Speak soon.”
At the time of the interview, you can send a brief message letting the interviewer that you’re ready for the call, or you are available. Simply say, “Hi John, I am ready when you are.”
If there is no sign of the interviewer calling 5-10 minutes after the scheduled time, it is OK to reach out with a polite message about their availability. You might say, “We have an interview scheduled around this time. Are you available?”
Ideally, the interviewer should be able to get back to you at this point. If still no response, I would advise against calling the interviewer multiple times or bombarding them with messages. Give them up to 12 hours before following up.
Former Commissioned Member of the Texas State Council on Sex Offender Treatment | Lawyer, Gutheinz Law Firm, LLP
For job interviews, the potential employer will always establish the ground rules
There is an etiquette for who calls who for a phone or Skype interview, and it is important. For job interviews, the potential employer will always establish the ground rules. They may want the applicant to call in at a certain time or state when the employer will call or Skype, the applicant.
As an employer, I have always told the applicant when and how I would contact them, and if the applicant is unavailable at the agreed-upon time, I move on to the next candidate. It may sound cold, but it is a great screening tool.
In a professional relationship between, in my case, attorney and client, as an attorney, I will always be accommodating to my client but will still establish the ground rules as to who will contact who and when and how. It is simply more efficient to do it this way.
When I am in a subordinate role, such as an attorney in the courtroom appearing via Zoom or Skype, I am always communicating in the fashion established by the court. Judges set the rules, and lawyers follow them. I will typically be given a link to a Courtroom and told when to log in. If I fail to do so, my client’s case may suffer.
When selling something or needing information from a party, the buyer or source has the power to dictate who calls who, when, and how, namely by phone or Skype.
As an attorney, I may offer suggestions, but if I want the information sought, I will abide by how the source wants to communicate. This frequently happens with potential witnesses where I may want to meet them in person or over Skype and must, absent a subpoena, be accommodating to my witness.
Matthew Sanchez, CFP
Personal Finance Expert | Private Wealth Advisor, Biechele Royce Advisors
Today’s business world is run by video or phone meetings. With the convenience of technology comes a new way to get insight into the people you do business with – namely, their leadership and time management skills (or lack thereof).
The person who is the interviewer/seller should always make the call
For them, it’s their opportunity to demonstrate leadership. E.g., If you’re the sales or the service provider, you want to let that client know when they’ll hear from you next.
- Is this person prompt?
- Do they follow through on what they say?
- How does that person treat their clients?
- How does that person carry themselves?
As the person being interviewed, offer to have the interviewer call you. It’s your opportunity to observe the interviewer:
- How does your counterpart carry themselves?
- Are they punctual and professional?
- Are you a priority to them?
Nothing is a bigger turn-off than someone arriving a few minutes late. Equally, your punctuality tells others how you view yourself or what you think of them.
A few minutes late, maybe a one-off. If it’s every time – that’s a problem. No one cares about the excuses why you’re late, and if it’s because the previous meeting ran long – it telegraphs that you’re not their priority and/or they don’t have good time management skills.
Same if your meetings chronically run long – either cut out the fluff, schedule your meetings for the proper length of time, or be willing to schedule a follow-up conversation when there’s 5 minutes left in the meeting.
Being in meetings every day – it’s easy to see who takes their time seriously and who doesn’t. It’s refreshing to have someone on the same page as you who shows up on time and can end on time – it shows they value your time and theirs.
Ron Auerbach, MBA
Human Resources Expert | Author, “Think Like an Interviewer: Your Job Hunting Guide to Success”
It would be the interviewer or a company representative who calls you
When it comes to a prospective employer already having set up a phone interview, it would be the interviewer or a company representative who calls you.
So as a job candidate, you’d wait until you hear from them at whatever time they said the interview is to take place. It’s possible they might call ahead of time, right on schedule, or be late for whatever reason.
But with a video interview that’s done using services like Skype or Zoom, you’d have a link to use that will grant you access to the interview. It’s perfectly normal for the applicant to log in before or after the interviewer shows up.
So if your call is set at 8:30 AM and you’re logged in by this time, the interviewer may already be waiting for you on the call. Then again, you might be alone for a bit until the interviewer logs in.
So just like a phone interview, an interviewer on a video conferencing interview call may be early, right on time, or running late.
Head of PR and Marketing, Concord
Tradition dictates the interviewer should call
It is the responsibility of the employer to call the job applicant for the simple reason that you—the candidate who has applied for the position—have no way of knowing whether or not the person conducting the interview is running behind or will be on time.
It is an unspoken right of the person doing the hiring to be late for these meetings, but professionalism still dictates that an interviewer should give the interviewee a heads up.
When it makes sense for the applicant to call
Suppose the interview request comes as the result of the formal application process (i.e., through a job board or a listing on a company’s career page). In that case, it is generally accepted that the employer calls.
If, however, the interview is informal or was set up through networking and you, as the applicant, took the initiative to arrange it, it could be expected that you will take the lead.
Real Estate Broker | CEO, ISoldMyHouse
Interviews are typically conducted by the interviewer’s pace and availability
Interviews, whether done virtually or not, are typically conducted by the interviewer’s pace and availability. Being headhunted and sought out is no exception as recruitment processes are regulated by hiring committees which warrant an organized schedule to ensure gaps and lapses are avoided.
It’s less than a rarity to hear of a company that lets the interviewee set a date and time for his/her interview. Furthermore, it’s simply odd for them to expect candidates to call them once they’re ready for an interview.
As a candidate, the only acceptable practice in following up on your application status is through email. You may send a formal yet professional message and ask about your next interview and even detail your available schedule to give the recruiters more room to work.
Not only does it come off intrusive for you to assume you’ll need to call the company to remind them that you are on standby for the next interview, but it also shows desperation and restless eagerness, which can be a turn-off.
It’s critical for job hunters to develop a sixth sense whenever a recruiter says, “Let’s speak soon,” since this does not necessarily translate to “I’ll inform you of our next interview schedule later.”
The person conducting the interview will always be the one to call the candidate
As a recruiting firm, we are scheduling interviews between our clients and the candidates we have identified for them to interview.
From our experience, the person conducting the interview will always be the one to call the candidate during their set interview time. It really boils down to being an authoritative measure.
The interviewer agreed to and initiated the decision to speak to the candidate, so they are going to be the ones to make the call.
If the interviewer is running behind and has to call later than the proposed time, that is acceptable as long as they let the candidate know.
Director of Operations, MyCorporation
The best etiquette is for the HR professional to call the applicant
This is a good question and an important aspect of the interview process to address early on to ensure one party isn’t playing phone tag with the other.
In my opinion, the best etiquette is for the HR professional to call the applicant.
- Be clear about the day and time you plan to call as well as the time zone, if necessary.
- Make sure you have the proper phone number to contact.
- It’s also a good idea to send out a Google Calendar invite to the applicant as well.
Accepting this invitation will ensure the meeting is on both calendars and helps to keep the phone interview top of mind for each person.
HR Business Partner, Resume-Now
It’s the HR representative that should provide the candidate with a contact information
Generally speaking, it is the HR representative that should provide the candidate with a phone number or video conference room dial-in information.
This makes it easier for everyone as this way, the recruiter can keep track of the conversations and have consistent call-in information they can reuse. Meanwhile, the candidate avoids any confusion and has all the logistical information already provided for them.
Once the above has been established, both parties can call-in whenever they are ready to do so (as long as it is on or before the scheduled interview).
Thus, it’s no longer necessary to call the person per se as most of the tools for virtual interviews simply let you join a virtual room and wait for the other attendee(s) to arrive.
Founder & CEO, Wethrift
It all boils down to etiquette
Unfortunately, there is no universally applicable rule on who should call during Skype meetings. Speaking from experience, it all boils down to etiquette.
For instance, let’s say you’re applying for a job at a fully remote company, and you have an interview scheduled today. The first thing you should do is show up on time. Make sure that you are physically and mentally prepared at least 10 minutes before the meeting.
Second, let your interviewer know that you’re ready. Suddenly calling them, even if it is past the agreed meeting time, will make you look cocky. Opt to message them instead.
A simple “Hey! I’m ready for the call when you are.” would suffice.
Finally, wait for their response. In most cases, your interviewers would be the ones to initiate the call. Unless otherwise stated, of course.
Founder and CEO, Yore Oyster
The interviewer should call the interviewee
The person seeking a job begins by requesting an initial phone or Skype interview from employers of interest. Interviewers usually recommend a specific time for the conversation to occur and ask the applicant if they are available before proceeding.
Once the moment of the interview comes, it’s usually expected that the interviewer will call the interviewee. At least, that’s how it goes when I interview new applicants.
From my perspective, the interviewee is the one that’s in the position where they have set up free time intentionally to have the interview, whether they have a job or not.
From the other side of the pond, however, interviewers can be busy finishing other interviews or catching up with something at work, hence why the interviewer should have the final call as to who should call the other person.
CEO, Best Value Schools
It’s the candidate’s responsibility to call the hiring manager/interviewer
For a phone or Skype interview, it’s the candidate’s responsibility to call the hiring manager/interviewer.
There are a couple of reasons for this:
- One, it shows that the candidate is able to take responsibility for being on time and initiating the call
- Two, the hiring manager is likely far busier and, therefore, it’s easier for them to lose track of time.
When the candidate takes the initiative to start the call, it shows that they have good time management skills and that they pay attention to details. Whether or not it’s been specified that they should be the one to call, it paints them in a good light.
If the candidate’s initial call or Skype session goes unanswered, they should call again within a few minutes. It’s quite possible that a previous interview or meeting went a few minutes over the scheduled time. Call or Skype in again at least twice to ensure that you connect.
Founder & CEO, SignWell
The interviewer should be the one calling the job applicant every single time
The onus is more on the interviewer to be ready for the interview at a fixed time.
There could be applicants who don’t respect time. They might drop in late or never appear at all. This can be used to assess their possibilities of landing the job. But an interviewer who doesn’t respect time is bad branding for the company.
In Skype and Zoom, it’s the meeting host who has privileges like meeting recording, etc.
So the interviewer must make use of this privilege to document the meeting. A recorded version is always helpful in having another pair of eyeballs assess the applicant.
It’s the candidate’s responsibility to make the call or start the Skype session
A big factor in who calls who in an interview is the level of seniority of the person interviewing and the position that they’re interviewing for.
For the majority of job interviews, it’s the candidate’s responsibility to make the call or start the Skype session. Think of it as showing up to the interview in person. It’s the candidate’s responsibility to go to the hiring manager’s location and show up on time.
A phone call or Skype session follows the same premise.
The exception comes with executive and senior management roles. In these cases, who calls who is usually determined by the hiring manager’s preferences and also the number of people the candidate will be meeting with.
If there will be multiple people from the hiring side attending the interview, it’s very likely that they’ll be the ones initiating the call to ensure that it doesn’t start until everyone is there.
There are no hard rules for this. In my experience as a recruiter, job seekers are more often than not the ones calling for phone and Skype interviews.
That said, if the job seeker is well-qualified and it’s an in-demand position, employers will often reach out to candidates, especially if they’re looking to fill a position quickly or if they’re trying to learn more about a candidate’s interest in the position.
It’s also important to note that a phone or Skype interview is one step in the interview process, not a job offer.
Who has the power?
The person who is called for the interview holds the power, not the person who is calling.
If the person being called does not express confidence in his ability to do the job, the employer will lose interest. So if the person calls and says something like, “I’m going to be interviewing for a job in your company. I would like a chance to talk to you about it.” The person being called will be interested in this.
However, if the person being called says something like, “I know you’re busy, but can we set up a time to meet for 10 minutes? I just want to find out if there’s even a chance of getting an interview.”
The person being called will be thinking, “What is this person’s level of confidence?” and the person who is calling will lose out on the job.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some tips for a successful phone or Skype interview?
Be on time. Treat a phone or Skype interview the same way you would a face-to-face interview, and make sure you can start on time.
Speak clearly and slowly. Ensure the person you are talking to can understand you well by speaking slowly and enunciating your words clearly.
Maintain eye contact. During a Skype interview, look directly into the camera and maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
Listen carefully. Pay close attention to the interviewer’s questions and listen carefully before answering.
Follow up afterward. After the interview, send the interviewer a thank-you email expressing your gratitude and reiterating your interest in the position.
How should I prepare for a phone or Skype interview?
Test your equipment in advance: Make sure your phone or computer is working properly, and test your Internet connection and microphone or headset.
Choose a quiet place: Find a quiet place where you’ll not be disturbed during the interview.
Dress professionally: Even though the interviewer won’t see your entire outfit, dressing professionally can make you feel more confident and prepared.
Have your resume and other documents ready: Keep a copy of your resume, cover letter, and other relevant documents ready in case you need to refer to them during the interview.
Practice your answers: Prepare answers to frequently asked questions and practice speaking clearly and confidently.
How long does a typical phone or Skype interview last?
The length of a phone or Skype interview can vary depending on the company and the position, but typically it lasts between 15 and 45 minutes.
Some interviews are shorter and only last 10-15 minutes as a preliminary screening, while others are longer and more detailed and can last up to an hour or more.
It’s important to note that the length of the interview doesn’t necessarily reflect the interest or consideration of the interviewer.
Shorter interviews can be used to quickly assess basic qualifications and aptitude, while more extended interviews can delve deeper into an applicant’s experience and qualifications.
Regardless of the length of the interview, you must prepare well and make the most of the time given.
What are some common mistakes to avoid in a phone or Skype interview?
Avoid interrupting the interviewer: Wait for the interviewer to finish speaking before responding, and don’t interrupt them.
Don’t multitask: Avoid multitasking during the interview, such as checking your phone or surfing the web, as this can distract you and make you appear disinterested.
Don’t be too casual: Even if you’re in a comfortable environment during a phone or Skype interview, you must display a professional demeanor.
Don’t talk too fast: Speak at a moderate pace and avoid speaking too quickly, as this can make it difficult for the interviewer to understand you.
Don’t forget to follow up: After the interview, send a thank you email or note to the interviewer to show your appreciation and reiterate your interest in the position.
How to greet an interviewer on Skype?
Greeting the interviewer on Skype is similar to greeting them in person. Start the call with a friendly “hello” and introduce yourself by name and position.
If your interviewer is unfamiliar to you, it would also be appropriate to thank them for taking the time to talk with you. Also, it can be helpful to ask how the other person is doing before you get into the deeper topics of the conversation.
“Good morning/afternoon! My name is [your name], and I am applying for [position]. It’s a pleasure to meet you. How are you today?”
“Hello. My name is [your name], and I am here to talk about the [position] job. It’s a pleasure to meet you virtually. Is there anything I can help you with before we get started?”
“Good day! My name is [your name], and I am interested in the [position]. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. What would you like to know about me?”
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