Three people very close to me were recently interviewed (& HIRED!) solely through Zoom interviews. Never once meeting their interviewees in person! Science has proven that people make snap judgements about a person's competence solely based off the visual impression they make. So let's talk about a few ways to get YOU ready for your virtual meeting. Whether you are talking to potential clients, your team, or having a video interview, here are 7 helpful and easy tips!
LOCATION OF YOUR CALL—
1. Let’s start with lighting because that will dictate where you will be sitting. Avoid having light directly above or behind you. It’s going to cast unflattering shadows. Instead, have it facing you. It is the most flattering lighting option. You may have a home office where you can’t pick up and move around. That’s fine, grab any lamp around the house or even a task lamp and angle it towards you, from behind the computer. This will help cast flattering light on your face.
2. Now that we’ve got the lighting down, what does your background look like? Make sure it’s "nicer than usual". First—No beds. No matter how perfectly it’s made, it just doesn’t look like you’re at work. Next—no clutter. Keep it neat and clean. If you’re near the kitchen, now is the time to hide away (or clean!) those dirty dishes. You want to appear that you are “taking good care of yourself”. And lastly, be considerate of what’s on the wall behind you. Choose pieces that are complementary but not distracting. Overall, compose the background as a photographer would stage the shot. And if all else fails, and you feel overwhelmed, opt for a white wall in the background. It’ll be the least distracting.
NOW THAT WE'VE GOT LOCATION, HOW ARE WE LOOKING?—
3. Dress how you would for Casual Friday or Business Casual. This might be a nice blouse or sweater. Maybe a business casual dress. In all of this, make sure your neckline isn’t too low because there's a chance the camera may be angled downward. And YES, you need to wear pants. Everyone needs to wear pants. This is not a "Business on top, part on bottom" type situation. What if you need to get up and grab something? You'll be saving yourself from potential embarrassment.
4. Wear bright solid colors, as these will stand out on video cameras. Whites will wash you out especially if you have a white wall behind you. And stripes and patterns get a little wonky on camera. Stick to solid jewel tones and navy, as that will flatter you the most.
5. How does your hair and makeup look? You don’t need a full prep job, but it obviously shouldn’t look disheveled. Even a clean, low side bun will look good, just make sure we can see a little hair or some bangs or else you might look like a Founding Father. If you are donning a bun, dress it up with interesting but clean earrings. For make-up, wear what you normally would in the office. You don’t want to surprise anyone with a face all glammed up, or the opposite, bare. Keep it neat. Throw on a nice, neutral lip color.
6. Make frequent eye contact, especially when speaking. Remember, more eye contact comes off as more intelligent. So if you need to move the person's square as close to the camera as possible, do that. It’ll appear you’re looking at them in the eyes, and not distracted elsewhere. As good as you’re going to look, avoid starting at your own image in the call. If it’s helpful, make your square really small or just turn it off all together.
7. SMILE. People subconsciously look for smiles and notice them at great distances. Be confident and happy. When we see someone smiling we’re more likely to smile back, which only creates positive vibes.
You're going to do great on your video call. I promise. To look your best on a video call, to NAIL that job interview or a new-client call, remember that people can only see what's in view of the lens. Look at your environment from the viewer's perspective. Compose the background, pay attention to the light source, and dress appropriately… with your pants on! And good luck!