It’s all relative

“What’s even worse than having to do a phone interview?” I asked my colleague the other day, as we passed in the corridor whilst doing the annual round of student recruitment interviews.

“Having to do a phone interview via Skype?” he proffered, quick as a flash and stealing my thunder with a much better answer than the one I had been about to give about not being able to do a phone interview because the candidate had put the wrong contact number on their application form.

“Jeez, never even considered having to interview by Skype”, I said with horror.

The thought of the candidate being able to watch me writhe like a worm that’s been chopped in two, as I strained to decipher broken English via an echoey satellite connection, was traumatic. Throw in the unedifying spectacle of fiddling with squealing hearing aids as well, and it made such an inhumane test of endurance for both parties, that I wondered if I could sell the idea to Channel 5 for a reality TV show.

When I did finally manage to make contact with my elusive phone interview candidate on the other side of the world, just seconds before a pneumatic drill started up outside the open window, I simply stuck a finger in the non-phone ear and reminded myself it could be a whole lot worse if Skype was involved.

4 Responses to “It’s all relative”

  1. 1 Francis March 19, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Actually Moira I have found it easier to talk on Skype than on any other phone provided the internet connection is good.

    • 2 moiradancer March 22, 2013 at 11:39 am

      the good internet connection bit proved slightly tricky when we did a trial run a while back, but maybe I should have another go while the students and their bandwidth gobbling smart phones are on holiday!

  2. 3 Tina C. March 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Yes! Modern technology is wonderful at inventing new means of confusion and embarrassment oops I mean communication. Skype is really popular here in Italy. At home I get out of it because I live in small village up in the mountains and I tell everyone the Internet connection isn’t fast enough for Skype. This is a lie, but a very convincing one which gets me off the hook and even some commiseration (although since when I’m on the phone I do lots of other things I can’t imagine why anyone would want to sit in front of a computer instead of washing up, tidying the room, watering the plants etc, anyway even if they had perfect hearing.) I used to get out of meetings (of which I was able to understand about three-quarters on a really good day) due to the lucky fact that the rest of my colleagues are based in the City, a two hour drive both way, which means they let me off. Imagine my joy when the secretary at our offices up here proudly told me that I would be able to “join in” meetings via Skype from our base here (“here” being in the middle of the Alps). Great fun to spend my what would have been a free afternoon walking in the mountains, stuck in front of the computer screen with what is hopefully an intelligent expression trying to make out less than half of what someone is saying without actually seeing them in real time, even better when someone speaks from the end of the meeting room practically out of range of the microphone. “Any comments from our base in the mountains?”. Well, nothing repeatable actually no. Luckily when the going gets tough there are two ways to “put one’s foot in it” – a hidden nudge with boot under the table at the mercifully dodgy plug socket sends the computer screen plunging into darkness much to the consternation of the secretary (this wouldn’t work on a laptop with battery of course).”That computer takes ages to start up and reconnect with Skype”. “Please, don’t worry”, I say already half out the door, “they weren’t discussing anything new, all things I’ve heard before….”.

    • 4 moiradancer March 22, 2013 at 11:39 am

      hee hee Tina, this really made me laugh, glad I’m not the only one who isn’t a Skype At Work fan. I like your style of problem solving via the plug socket. I’d never do a thing like that, of course, but it’s amazing the number of times I’ve pressed the ‘secrecy’ button on the phone by accident 😉

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