The Best Video Conferencing Apps for Remote Working and Interviewing
As the Coronavirus pandemic takes hold and we are all held in lockdown, business, interviews and social meetings are increasingly being held online. If you are on the lookout for a new job or trying to conduct your business remotely, then a video conference or interview is likely to be the preferred platform.
There are a number of different apps to use for remote interviewing and video conferencing. Here are some of the major players.
Zoom has seen an explosion of use since the coronavirus pandemic began to circulate. Although it has a premium tier, the free version allows up to 100 people to join a video meeting together.
The catch is that you’re limited to just 40 minutes for any meeting of three or more people. Like other video conferencing software, Zoom provides 256-bit encryption on any transmission which means you can be confident your meeting – and any documents shared within it – stays safe.
You can either download the Zoom client to your computer (or install the iOS/Android app) or launch it directly in your browser once you’ve signed up for an account.
WhatsApp is widely used for instant messages, video interviews and group social calls. It is more or less universally used by everyone in order to communicate with colleagues and friends so is therefore very accessible and free to download on most of the latest platforms.
All users must have WhatsApp downloaded on their phone for it to work and all calls, including video calls, are end-to-end encrypted which means all chats are protected and cannot be intercepted by hackers.
Group Calling allows up to four participants to video call with each other using WhatsApp and it is advised to have strong internet connection in place before starting the video call – particularly if you’re interviewing or being interviewed
Teams was launched in 2016 and is Microsoft’s online collaboration tool that forms part of its Office 365 package. However, as with Microsoft Word, there are ways to get it for free.
The most obvious of which is to sign up for a trial version. This used to be only available for a month but Microsoft has increased it to six months because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Microsoft Teams can have up to 250 participants in each meeting but limits the screen to displaying a maximum of four screens at once. The stream will switch depending on who is talking.
Microsoft has slowly been adding new features as Teams has grown. This includes live captions as well a broadcast function that’s a bit like Facebook Live – allowing anyone to tune in to a demonstration. This could be particularly useful for remote learning.
Microsoft has also committed to making Teams available for free to NHS workers during the Coronavirus crisis. Cindy Rose, Chief Executive of Microsoft UK, said: ‘Microsoft is fully committed to assisting the NHS at this incredibly challenging time. The use of Microsoft Teams will ensure the hardworking doctors, nurses and support staff across all NHS organisations have the collaboration tools they need to carry out their vital work. ‘We are hugely appreciative of their ongoing efforts to tackle COVID-19 and will continue to provide support however best we can.’
Skype is probably the best-known video tool and has been a fixture on our computers for many years now. It’s mostly used for people to make social calls to friends and family, but because it supports up to 50 participants it could be used for businesses as well.
Skype can be downloaded to a computer but it also offers a web app, which can be useful if you’re on an old or underpowered machine. Skype is also free, although businesses can upgrade to Skype for Business for a fee. This premium tier allows up to 250 people to join the same call and provides stronger security.
Hangouts comes with your Google account (Google) Google’s entry into the video conferencing space sometimes gets forgotten about but considering so many people have Google accounts already it’s worth considering. Like Skype, it operates through a web client and supports up to 250 participants.
There’s a very clean interface and, as you’d expect, it fits in well with other Google products like Calendar and Google Docs. There’s also the option to record and save meetings to Google Drive. Like Microsoft Teams, there’s also the option to have captions provided to make it easier on those with hearing difficulties. Because of the pandemic, Google says it is making the enterprise-level version of Hangouts free to all G-Suite and Education customers until the first of July.