Are you really ready?
Having spent the last 8 months on Zoom or Teams or Google Hangouts having business meetings, speaking to our families, playing quizzes and conducting interviews, we are all getting rather blasé about this now – but should we be? This can still be the first time we meet/see someone so those first impressions are as important as they ever were.
My role has involved video interviewing for the last 3 years so I have really seen some sights I can tell you! These tips below are all based on my real experiences
Thought I would put together a quick Dos’ and Don’ts Guide to presenting yourself as well as you can.
- Think it’s only a video call/meeting/networking event – no need to look good.
- Sit on an unmade bed or in any room that is obviously a bedroom.
- Put your device in the kitchen with yesterdays’ dishes and empty wine bottles in full view.
Sit in front of your washing with your underwear on the airer behind you.
- Sit in a room with other people talking to you and cooking while you are on your business video call/interview.
- Take the call in your car, a loud coffee shop or public venue (without excusing or explaining ahead of time to the interviewer. They would usually rather give you the chance to rearrange)
- Have a video call or meeting without checking you know how to use and navigate the video platform out before you start.
- Wear a t-shirt/hat etc with an offensive image and language on it.
- Use a virtual background that is inappropriate/ unprofessional or that isn’t fully working.
- Have another screen running and have your eyes on that all the time.
- Sit sideways on so it is clear that your primary focus/ concentration is on something else.
- Answer your phone or text during your video call.
- Move about during the call so that you are not always clearly visible or heard easily.
- Make detailed notes with your head and eyes lowered so the person can’t see your face.
- Raise your laptop about a hand span in height from the desk- put some books under it so that you are not peering down into it. This makes your face look strange and tempts you to lean in too close to the camera.
- Check before the call what you look like and what is showing in the background. Set the scene, tidy your desk, look behind you, look at what the other person/people will see.
- Remember neutral is always better. Blank wall/empty shelf is always better than “ iffy” pictures ornaments or clutter.
- Make sure that the tilt of your screen is adjusted to show your full head and elbows in the middle of the picture.
- Sit far enough away from the screen, so that the poor person talking to you does not have to look up your nose and count your nose hairs. You wouldn’t sit right next to someone in an interview so be considerate in the same way on Zoom. Having a full face filling your screen is menacing and unpleasant for the other person.
- Turn up the light on your device – on a keyboard, this is usually by using the little star symbol.
Check the lighting in the room where you are. Can you be seen clearly? Or just an outline.
- Use a little desk lamp if you need to increase the light on the screen.
Remember when you are in a meeting that people are looking at you all the time – don’t pick your nose, clean your ears with a pen, zip and unzip your trousers, tuck in your shirt, or anything else that you wouldn’t normally do in company.
Preparation for video call interview or meeting is like any other business meeting. A lack of preparation and effort is inappropriate business conduct and poor manners. Don’t be judged on something that you could so easily have improved on by just taking a few minutes to plan and prepare.