I must admit that I enjoy reading the tweets from an account called Room Rater (aka @ratemyskyperoom). During the pandemic, many journalists who would normally be filming from a TV studio are now reporting from their homes. As such, Room Rater offers tips and some humor about the person’s video background like their choice of furniture, plants, artwork, and bookshelves.
Totally makes sense. I think about what’s in my video background when I’m on a call. Frankly, everyone should.
Especially candidates. I facilitate a talent acquisition program for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and when we discuss video interviewing … well, OMGosh the stories! If you’re looking for a job and are asked to participate in a video interview, please check what’s behind you! The number of NSFW items in interview backgrounds that I hear about. Wow!
But that also made me wonder if recruiters are thinking about their video backgrounds too. This is an opportunity to show off the culture of the organization. Does your video background during an interview do that?
There was an article in FastCompany recently talking about how candidates are using background props to stand out during video interviews. Whether you’re a candidate or a recruiter, you might want to check out the article. While I know that scrutinizing backgrounds is a good thing, there are some pros/cons to consider as well.
Obviously, there are advantages to your video background showing you’re professional, organized, and well-read. These are qualities that you might mention during the interview and your video background backs it up. The downside is that depending on the background, biases can creep in. What if there’s a book from a controversial author in the background? Or a piece of art that someone might find offensive? And the pros/cons aren’t simply on the candidate side. A recruiter working remotely has to think of the same things.
This whole conversation about what’s in your video background got me thinking. How much do people pay attention to what others have in their video backgrounds? So, I thought it might be interesting to do a quick one-question poll. I hope you’ll take a moment to participate. Your response is complete anonymous.
I’ll share the poll results with you in a couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see the results. And it could be very helpful to people who spend time on video calls. Maybe individuals need to spend more time thinking about their backgrounds? Or maybe they’re spending too much time thinking about it? Thanks, as always for being an HR Bartender reader and offering your feedback!
Video meetings aren’t going away any time soon. They were growing in popularity before the pandemic. But they are slightly different from in-person meetings. Anything we can do to help ourselves get better at it is time well spent.14