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Get the best out of Skype for interviews

Practical tips and advice to set you up for a professional Skype session.

Written by Lucy Bodenham |

Using Skype for an internship interview
IDroo is useful to present information in real time on an online whiteboard.

Check your equipment the day before to ensure all is working and to avoid a last minute stressful setup

We look at how to make Skype work for you and how to strike the right balance when you need to present yourself in a professional setting.

Presentation is vital so we focus on several things to consider before the session takes place. Firstly, your Skype username, profile and status should be appropriate. Secondly, do take a professional picture to go with your Skype profile.

Kim Kontos our student communications manager says her most important tip is to check your equipment the day before to ensure all is working and to avoid a last minute stressful set-up.

The strength of your internet connection has a big impact on the quality of your call. If you have a weak connection then Skype detects and reduces the quality to prevent the call from being dropped. Do not overload your internet with other tasks, close all other programmes you don’t need. This is particularly important if you use Wi-Fi and will ensure you have a consistent reception.

Your interview area must have a clear, tidy background. A window with a curtain flapping in the wind will be distracting. Do check your lighting is in front of you. Strong light behind you, like a big window, can give you a dark silhouette and make your face difficult to see.

If you are new to Skype, practise your set-up with a friend well in advance. A practice session will give you a feel-good boost and you can check your pace and volume of speech. Your friend can feedback if you speak clearly enough and point out anything else to make sure you have enough eye contact. A headset will give you the best sound quality and clarity.

Something else to consider is a copy of your CV or resume in case your interviewer requests it during the call. It is easy to share a file with a drag and drop into the chat window.

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Some more points to consider:

  • A 'do not disturb' sign is a good idea if there are people around who might interrupt your big moment.
  • Dress smartly from head to toe, this will create the right impression and you will feel confident.
  • Make sure Skype is updated to the latest version and check if any system updates are required.
  • Ensure you have good bandwidth and close any other applications and web pages.
  • You will get a better quality of video call if you used wired Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi.
  • Position your camera so your head and shoulders are on screen, use books to position your laptop camera roughly to eye level.
  • Dim the glare from your screen so you don’t have a bluish glow on your face.
  • If you don’t have a friend, test your sound is working via the Skype Sound Test Service.
  • Remember there may be a slight delay, so it is all about pacing yourself.
  • Watch your body language - don’t show impatience or jiggle in your chair.
  • Work on your rapport, eye contact, look at the camera rather than the screen.
  • If there is a delay ensure the other person has finished speaking.
  • At the end, make sure you have closed the call before going on to anything else.

Use IDroo if you need to present information in real time on an online whiteboard for demonstrations. You share the URL with others and you can instantly collaborate.

Last of all, have a back-up plan in case of any technical issues. You can set up Google Hangouts to use as an alternative video call.

You could even use Skype to get yourself set up with a study partner. Sarasi and Sandarenu found it a great help to motivate each other and set goals while studying for their LLB programmes. Sandarenua wrote about the experience on our Student Blog. A possible helpful tool for collaborating on study sessions is Screen Sharing on Skype.

More information

The Skype blog has lots of helpful info, the tips section is particularly useful with recent top tips to improve audio quality by using USB and Bluetooth accessories.