For many of us, the methods and tools we use to communicate with each other have changed dramatically over the past few years, namely the use of virtual meetings and video chats.
While these have become commonplace, as an employee or interviewee, they should not be taken for granted.
Virtual meetings/interviews need to be given the same preparation and consideration as if it were an in-person, face-to-face meeting. This begins with your attire. You should always dress for a virtual meeting as you would if you were going to that person’s office or the conference room unless you have a very good reason not to, at which point your appearance must be explained. For example, you are performing an on-site safety inspection for when the meeting has been scheduled, you may be in more industrial attire than meeting attire. You should take the initiative and when the meeting begins, state clearly that you realize you are not dressed as normal and here is why.
Next, always be aware of your background. If you are using a virtual background, make sure it is not something that people may deem unprofessional. I recently had a video interview with a person whose virtual background was a picture of the person in full camo, laying in a sniper position.
If you are not using a virtual background, make certain that anything behind you is not distracting, like a window with vertical blinds open, or again, anything that would deemed as unprofessional.
Lighting should always be coming at you or from overhead, slightly in front of you to avoid being cast in a shadow.
If you must excuse yourself, do so in the same manner as if you were face to face. Do not just turn off your camera and mute yourself and leave with no explanation. Let people know why you need to leave, of course in a professional manner.
The key point is to always remember virtual, or video meetings are no different than in person meetings. You are gathered in one place, it just happens to be in the cloud.