Look good if you have to be interviewed on TV from home! (Part two)

Covid-19 is shifting the landscape of corporate reputation.  Those companies which are seen to have behaved well to their staff, customers and community during the crisis will reap goodwill long afterwards. There are impressive stories – such as the retailers who have donated food packs to those in need, and whisky distilleries turning production over to sanitiser gel, distributing the output for nothing to the local community.  Others, like Mike Ashley of Sports Direct and Tim Martin of Wetherspoons, have failed to impress.  They may find many of their customers have long memories, and will take their custom elsewhere if possible once restrictions are lifted.
In the meantime, companies need to find the most effective ways of communicating to the wider world not only how they are coping, but what pro-active steps they are taking.  Interviews are taking place for the foreseeable future from home, and it is as important as ever to create the right impression.  So, here is part two of our guide on the mistakes to avoid if you have to be interviewed by Skype from home: (part one is here.)
5. Bad wi-fi and slow computer: If you don’t have superfast broadband, ask anyone else in the house to stop using the internet during your interview slot, and close down other windows, tabs and programs on your computer, so your signal is good and your laptop can focus its processing power on the job in hand.  Also, you don’t want any embarrassing email notifications popping up.
6. Slobby appearance: You may enjoy working from home in your pyjamas or an old T-shirt, but other people don’t want to see you that way.  Equally a suit and tie would look far too formal for most, so think of an appropriate half-way house (I hesitate to use the phrase ‘smart casual’) – to ensure you give a good impression and retain authority if it’s a serious topic.
7. Unrehearsed:  If you’ve never done this sort of thing before, do a try-out with a friend beforehand if humanly possible.  Someone who can give you honest feedback on how you are coming over, whether you need to switch the lighting or camera angle, or comb your hair.  It will also help you to get more comfortable with the technology.
8. Background is important:  Don’t sit with a window or light behind you as this will bleach out, while at the same time making your image appear dark and fuzzy instead of bright and clear. Dark backdrops against dark clothing will disguise you, as will light against light, so a little contrast in colour is good. A white background can look cold and requires more careful lighting.  By contrast, bookshelves are good because they create a background that suggests learning, thereby tricking the viewer’s brain into thinking you are intelligent and therefore worth paying attention to.
During the current coronavirus emergency, we can carry out media training and presentation skills coaching by video link – more details