Zoom Rules

I personally love a good double entendre, and there’s a good, topical one in this headline.

In late April, the stock for Zoom Video Communications jumped 11 percent after the company announced it surpassed 300 million daily users on its platform. The company had only 10 million daily users in December 2019, which means the Coronavirus Pandemic led to a 2,900 percent increase (yes, you read that correctly) in daily users as people everywhere were stuck at home and socializing on the popular video conference app.

Zoom now attracts hundreds of millions of daily participants as everyone has shifted from in-person to virtual meetings.

For most of us, prior to the shelter-at-home rules and the shift to virtual meetings, our use of Zoom, Webex and the emerging Microsoft Teams was a rarity.

But for most of us today, from the corporate boardroom to keeping up with family members, video conferencing (VC) has become a part of our daily lives.

While there may be no need to follow any rules when it comes to casual conversation with friends on FaceTime or the VC platform of your choice, there is etiquette you should be aware of when it comes to professional meetings and certainly during on-line interviews — which are now sure to become the norm rather than the exception.

So, here are some ‘Zoom Rules’ (which also apply for all VC platforms) to keep in mind for your next job interview.

Set up your space:

If you can, find a private place to take the call. If not, use headphones to minimize background noise.

Set up your device or camera so that it has a clear, unobstructed view of you. Don’t sit too far from (or too close to) the camera. If you’re using a separate camera, place it near your screen.

Probably the most important tip – it’s best to put the camera at eye level, so that when you’re looking at the screen it appears as if you’re looking at the person you’re talking to at the same level — and they aren’t looking up your nose! (Play around with some books or a sturdy box to place your laptop upon to get the right level, and open a meeting by yourself to check out the background in advance.)

Make sure your face is well lit. Natural lighting and side lighting work best, but overhead lights (behind you) can be distracting, and at all costs avoid backlighting that can often make you hard to see. If you can’t change the backlighting, try to put another light in front and/or to the side of your face.

Clean up the area around you. Open up the camera on your laptop or switch on your external camera and see what’s visible in the background before the call, and check that you’re comfortable showing that on a video call. If there’s no ‘nice’ looking background, you might also want to set up a virtual background — but make it a pleasant, solid color or texture for a professional appearance.

Look the part:

You may be doing your job interview from home, but don’t dress like you are working there! Dress how you would for an in-person meeting, and make sure to follow your potential employer’s dress code.

Stay focused:

Be attentive and engaged during your interview (don’t look at your phone or, better yet, put it away). Also, practice looking into the camera when you talk. If you look at yourself, or others on your screen if there’s more than one interviewer, it may look like you’re distracted.

It’s a brave new world as far as video conferencing is concerned. Make sure to put your best foot forward…or ‘your best face’ in this case…to ensure you make the best virtual impression that you can.

There are several other tips among these articles — which are especially helpful if you’re already using VC in group meetings now, or if you need to get up to speed on best practices!

The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/19/21185472/video-confere-call-tips-zoom-skype-hangouts-facetime-remote-work

Inc.com: https://www.inc.com/gabrielle-bienasz/zoom-dos-donts.html

University of Pittsburgh/Technology: https://www.technology.pitt.edu/blog/zoom-tips

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