Some Useful Tips on Video Conferencing and the Pitfalls to Avoid
Posted 23rd March 2020
Dixon Walter have always provided agile and flexible solutions for our candidates and clients; so, when the world turned recently to online engagement in order to minimize face to face interaction, we were ready to go and we’d like to share some of our tips with you.
Some of you may be feeling daunted at the prospect of not being able to interact as effectively as you might like using online platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams (to name a few!). You may not have heard of these tools let alone used them before in a professional setting and let’s face it we all had a good laugh at the BBC interviewee interrupted by his children live on air last year…suddenly this seems like a very real prospect for us all!
The reality is, many companies, ours included, have been using this technology for some time; it’s a great way for us as recruiters to establish relationships across the global talent network and means our practice is never restricted by geography. So how can you make it a success? Here’s our top tips for using video conferencing to engage, interview and interact with potential employers/employees;
1. Failure to Prepare is to Prepare to Fail
If this is the first time you’re using a particular piece of software make sure you test it beforehand. Set up a trial run with a colleague or family member so you are used to the functionality before the main event. You will find online tutorials for most of these platforms which are well worth a watch if you aren’t as tech savvy as you’d like. Learning how to use these platforms properly will be invaluable; you may need to temporarily mute or block the screen for instance if there is an unexpected interruption.
Being comfortable and familiar with the technology means you can concentrate on the task at hand.
Having a trial run will also mean you are able to ensure your bandwidth is able to adequately cope and your technology is appropriate for the task.
2. Make a good first impression
It is tempting when you are working from home to allow your casual attire to spill over into these meetings but just because you are not meeting in person you are still making an impression; dress how you would if this were a face to face meeting. If this is an interview situation then formal attire would be expected.
Remember you may be unexpectedly interrupted; the “newsreader look” of smart on top…PJ’s on the bottom is not a good one when you find you suddenly need to stand up!
3. Choose your setting appropriately
It is always best to try to find a quiet space where you will not be interrupted; so make sure you tell others sharing the space that you need some privacy for the length of the call.
Consider your background; are there personal objects or clutter in view that you perhaps need to move? Or take advantage of the technology; most offer the ability to blur the background.
Consider the lighting; whilst natural light is preferred you shouldn’t sit in front of a window as this will create a silhouette of yourself. Make sure you are in a bright room and the image is clear. Lift your screen if needs be so you are clearly centred in shot with head and shoulders showing.
Stay in one place for the duration of the call; finding out that the setting isn’t working during the call and trying to move is extremely distracting and unprofessional; not to mention the shaking and movement of the camera creating a “Blair Witch Project” style for those watching.
4. Engage and Interact
Turn the volume up and ensure you are speaking clearly throughout; sometimes video conferencing can suffer a slight delay so being clear is of paramount importance and try not to interrupt. Of course, you are going to be based in different rooms but it is important to show that you are fully engaged and invested in the conversation by nodding, smiling and giving appropriate verbal cues/acknowledgments.
You may wish to make notes but make sure you are aware of where your own camera is and retain as much eye contact as possible throughout.
5. If all else fails
Sometimes technology does work against us; if you find there is a terrible connection, a blurred image or a distorted sound make sure to raise this straight away. Continuing regardless will not be beneficial for anyone.
Similarly, if there is an unexpected interruption that you need to deal with make sure you let the other person(s) know – you can either mute your microphone, temporarily block your image or reschedule the call. This is always better than looking distracted throughout.
Have a back up option in place. When arranging the call ensure all parties also have contact numbers in case something goes wrong – this can allow you to make contact and reschedule the call.
Above all else; stay connected! Our relationships are more important than ever in these unprecedented times. Here at Dixon Walter we are embracing technology to remain connected to all of our wonderful clients and candidates and are happy to offer any advice on any recruitment related needs that you may have.
But we are also staying highly connected as a team; sharing the fun activities we are all getting up to within our homes during this time, keeping a smile on our faces and spreading the positivity.
Stay safe everyone!
Posted by Sarah Walker
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