With the Coronavirus epidemic and restrictions sending many people home to work, we find ourselves trying to social distance via video conferencing applications. This includes using them to interview job candidates remotely in many cases.
The Best Video Conferencing Applications
If your company does not already subscribe to a certain application and you are not terribly familiar with these applications, there are a number of good ones out there and many offer a free limited subscription. This is a great option if you do not plan to use it that often.
Some of these applications are even lifting restrictions to their membership in light of the Coronavirus crisis. For example, Google Hangouts rolled out free access to advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers through July 1st. They have increased the number of participants allowed per call, enabled meeting recording, and increased the amount of people who can view live streaming.
Well known Skype offers Meet Now, which allows the user to make free audio and video online calls with up to 50 people. It does have screen sharing capacity. Meet Now will record calls and store them for 30 days, plus the app offers you the ability to blur your background during a call.
Having asked a few IT professionals that we know, which app with a free membership option they prefer, Zoom seems to be the winner. Why? This application works easily and beautifully off many smartphones and laptops. It is quick and easy for your video guests to download and use immediately. Users with a free account can host unlimited one-to-one meetings. Users can also hold video conferences for up to 100 participants, but any conference with three members or more is limited to 40 minutes. Zoom also offers virtual background capability if you have a green screen.
We understand that Zoom may be facing some capacity challenges with the overwhelming recent subscriptions. Per Skype’s website, they are unable to offer live chat support at this time. It is likely that many more providers will face issues as they work through this period of unusually high volume, which segues well into our next point.
Tips for an Interview or Conference Via Video:
The number one tip to keep in mind for video conferencing in this environment is PATIENCE. While we would all like to be able to lock ourselves in a soundproof room with perfect lighting, the reality is many people find themselves in unchartered work-from-home territory. Even if you do it on a regular basis, as we do, you may find that your solitary home office now has additional tenants, which may or may not include: a spouse, roommate, significant other, and/or children of varying ages. Be patient with the barking dogs, the child who walks in to ask a question about online homework, the ringing of other phones, etc. Be patient with the video conference providers as they work to ramp up in the midst of this health crisis. Remember that we are all trying to do our best in the current situation.
That said, if you are the interviewer or an interviewee, do take certain steps to ensure the situation is as professional as possible. Try to find a quiet a well-lit room, but do not position yourself directly in front of a window so that the light blinds the person on the other end. Try to sit in front of a fairly uncluttered wall (or use a background blur option if offered), and dress appropriately even if it is news anchor style, meaning from neck to waist. Most important, let the other people in your home know that you will be on a video call during a certain time-period and to limit interruptions if possible.
That does not mean interruptions do not happen from time to time even to the most regular of users. Recently while on a video call, the doorbell rang and when that door was not answered, the sound of keys in the lock, the door opening and people yelling, “Hello, hello,” could be heard throughout the house. The joys of having retired parents who live five minutes away with keys. We have heard stories from other recruiters about roommates walking around nude or in underwear in the background, unbeknownst to the interviewee, during a video call. Yes, these things happen, which takes us back to the point about patience. Patience, sensitivity toward others, staying home, and a good video conference application may be just what the doctor orders to get us through these next few months!
The Team at CA Search Advisors: