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How to Show Up for a Zoom Meeting: Home Videoconferencing Etiquette

Posted By: Brookwoods Group on May 11, 2020

woman using macbook

With countrywide stay-at-home orders and closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have had to find new ways for people to communicate with each other. This includes coworkers, vendors, customers, investors, and, yes, job candidates.

Despite what you may think, companies are still hiring. That means both human resources and candidates are leveraging video interviewing technologies to keep the process moving along.

On-site recruiting processes offer the luxury of screening, interviewing, and recruiting candidates in person. However, when the constraints of social distancing preclude in-person interviews, Zoom and similar platforms are experiencing record usage numbers. In fact, Zoom reportedly has more than 200 million meeting participants per day.

Knowing how to use online conferencing technologies is vital to both companies hiring and candidates looking to get hired. Just because the recruiting process has moved to the virtual sphere doesn’t mean you don’t need to impress the person behind the screen—and vice versa.

As you get ready to do your next videoconference, here are a few points of etiquette you should know.

Be Prepared Beforehand

Before you head into your Zoom meeting, prepare for it in the hours leading up to your appointment. Have the foresight to prepare beforehand and you could save yourself both aggravation and embarrassment during your call.

Download the app

Yes, you can use Zoom on your web browser, but by downloading the Zoom app to your tablet or personal computer well in advance, you’ll have easier access to the controls and the video quality is also better. Study the interface layout so that you know where the mute button is and how to turn the video on or off just in case.

Adjust your lighting

Adequate lighting is important so that you’re seen in, well, the best light. A desk light with an arm extension allows you to aim the light wherever you need it. Test a few light bulbs to see which one looks best on you and the room you’ll be in. Be sure to test it during the time of day your appointment will be, because lighting conditions can change from day to night. The light you choose should sufficiently illuminate your face without causing any unsightly shadows. Make sure it’s not so bright that it bleaches out your face or so dark versus your background that you end up looking like a silhouette.

Position the device

Most devices and computers come with built-in cameras, so sometimes, it can be a challenge to find a flattering angle that works. Position your tablet, mobile device, laptop, or webcam so your image is in the middle of the frame. Elevate the device if you can so that it’s either at eye level or just above. This angle crops out the ceiling and gives your face a better frame so that the viewer sees your jawline, not under your chin.

Position the device

Dress the set

You may be working from home, but don’t show too much. Be careful of the background when you’re setting up. Make sure there’s no clutter or garbage in the background or on the tables or shelves behind you.

Zoom’s virtual backgrounds can be fun for personal use, but the feature can be buggy and cut off things you may want to show – like your HANDS.  If you’re interviewing for a job, keep the background real (not virtual) and clean it up.

(Notice all the television personalities broadcasting from their homes.  Some of them look like they have professional set decorators on staff; others look like they are showing a little too much of their private lives.  What impression do you want to make?)

Dress Yourself

For recruiting experts and clients looking to hire, how a candidate dresses plays an important role in creating the first impression. A Forbes article cited that a candidate’s clothes reflect how they’ll represent the company if they make it through.

The etiquette of business attire still applies even if you’re interviewing from the comfort of your living room. It all depends on the company culture. Wear a suit and tie if it’s appropriate. (There’s an old broadcaster’s trick where you pull your suit jacket down and sit on the bottom. This gives you cleaner shoulder lines.) Even though you’ll be seen only from the waist up, be sure to wear pants during the interview. This way, if you have to get up for any reason, you’re not, well, exposed.

Play it safe by wearing the entire suit. You’ll have better peace of mind and make a lasting good impression.

On the Day of the Interview

Make sure you have a smooth interviewing process by practicing with the app the day before your scheduled meeting or interview. First-time users can quickly become overwhelmed by the controls, and something as simple as muting and unmuting can potentially cause awkwardness.

If you’re not early, you’re late

This adage applies to online video interviewing too. Last-minute jitters, a slow internet connection, or technical difficulties can contribute to making you late for your virtual meeting. Being late is one of the worst faux pas you can make on the day of your interview—and you won’t even have traffic to blame for it.

It’s a safe bet to join the conference using the ID number a few minutes ahead of time so you can be ready when the host joins.

Control the screen

This is about being comfortable. You can choose between two settings to find one that suits you best. The gallery feature lets you see all the participants of the conference at once, while the spotlight feature rotates the screen’s focus to the person who’s speaking.

You can also zoom in, zoom out, and toggle how others appear on the screen. This control over how the shared screen appears to you is ideal for finding a setting that works for you.

Control the screen

Know when to mute/unmute

A common practice for Zoom interviews and meetings is knowing when to mute or unmute your mic. Since the “active speaker” feature works by rotating the screen according to whom Zoom believes to be the speaker, the background sounds your mic picks up may cause some confusion, not to mention distraction.

The best practice is to mute yourself when you’re not speaking. All you have to do is hold down the spacebar on your keyboard to unmute yourself when you want to speak.

About Brookwoods Group

Brookwoods Group is an executive search firm that has helped organizations both large and small find skilled talent and place professionals in top companies in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. We value innovative interviewing tools and leverage the latest technologies in our recruiting processes.

To work with our leading staffing, recruiting, and executive search firm, contact our recruiting experts to get started.