Skype recently introduced a feature designed to cement its place among business users who aren’t as interested in things like emoji reactions or “Stories.” It now supports conducting technical interviews via its service through a new Skype Interviews feature. From a dedicated website, interviewers can test candidates in seven programing languages over Skype using a real-time code editor.
The feature was introduced a few days ago as a technical preview, and currently only works in the browser version of Skype, Microsoft tells us.
Of course, there are already a number of solutions for conducting interviews with remote technical talent on the market, like HackerRank, Codility, Interview Zen, CoderPad, Remoteinterview.io, HireVue’s CodeVue (née CodeEval), and others.
But the benefit to using Skype is the platform’s ubiquity, which makes it a regular tool for doing remote video calls of any kind. Bundling in an interview testing feature within Skype could speed up the interview process, as subjects won’t have to switch to a different tool to complete the technical screening.
That’s often how these things go today – users have two different apps running at the same time, Skype for the call and a code editor. Skype Interviews instead lets you actually have the video call still displayed on top of the code editor in either Microsoft Edge or the Google Chrome (ver. 32+) web browser window. That way, the interviewer can provide the instructions and feedback as the candidate performs the tests.
Meanwhile, the in-browser code editor lets candidates runs their code and check results, and it includes real-time inline syntax highlighting to help them catch mistakes.
The tool only requires the browser, set to English, and a visit to Skype.com. You don’t have to download the Skype app, or install plugins.
Instead, the interviewer just visits the Skype Interviews website and clicks “Start Interview” to begin. This will provide them with a unique link they can share however they see fit. Candidates can then click the link, and choose to sign into Skype or join as a guest after entering their name.
Interviewers can also test on multiple programming languages in the same session, as there’s a button in the upper-left that lets you switch between the various option.
The addition comes at a time when Skype rival Slack is gaining traction in the workplace. Last month, TechCrunch reported Slack is raising $250 million at a $5 billion valuation. Microsoft had once mulled an $8 billion bid for Slack, and Amazon has eyed the startup as well. But Microsoft ultimately decided to invest in making Skype more competitive in the business market. Adding a tool for HR departments and recruiters could play a role in furthering that agenda.
The feature is still in testing, as Microsoft is looking for feedback about the new addition. It did not say when the feature would exit preview mode, or if it would make a native app version available.