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How to nail your Zoom job interview and avoid an epic fail

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How to nail your Zoom job interview and avoid an epic fail

By now, we’re all well aware of the Zoom ground rules for the professional — turn the cat filter off, have proper lighting, dress appropriately and eliminate distractions.
But when it comes to acing a video job interview, you have to up the ante. We asked recruiters and experts about their must-haves and grievances.

Be discreet

Eliminating distractions is key — including exiting a work call before your interview. Last March, Mollie Leonard, head of people at Mediaplanet, a global firm delivering content marketing campaigns in Midtown, attended a companywide meeting with about 60 people on Zoom when an entry-level employee neglected to mute herself during an external job interview.

“All of a sudden, the sound of the call switched from the speaker’s voice to this employee who was interviewing for another job. We heard the employee answering the question, ‘Why are you looking to leave your current role?’ loud and clear.” Afterward, the employee’s manager and Leonard approached her, and she apologized “extensively.” (She eventually left the company for another opportunity.)

Ask insightful questions

Lisa Vasquez-Fedrizzi, managing director of people and action at Cheer Partners, an employee experience agency in West Babylon, Long Island, said candidates are asking thoughtful questions which show they’re invested in roles.

“They’re asking if they’re going to be treated as an equal partner, do they have a place at the table?” she said. “They’re asking in-depth questions about the day-to-day role. This makes me know the person is prepared.”

Use phone audio and computer video

Gorick Ng, author of “The Unspoken Rules: Secrets To Starting Your Career Off Right” (Harvard Business Review Press) out in April, said to consider this if you have a weak Internet connection. Enter the Zoom room using video, but click the “call me” button instead of the “join with computer audio” button.

“Not only will others be able to hear you clearly, but in the event your video cuts out, you can still hear and talk,” he said. “You can mute and unmute yourself without others seeing the microphone icon disappear and reappear.”

Arrive on time

Terri Wein, partner at Midtown-based global career advisory firm Weil & Wein, said, “For some reason, many people would never show up for an in-person interview in the nick of time, but think it’s fine to pop into a Zoom appointment a minute late.”

Make a note: It’s not.

Don’t phone a friend

Ian (last name withheld for professional reasons), a senior recruiter at an insurance company in East Brunswick, New Jersey, conducted a Webex interview with a database analyst candidate who secretly enlisted a virtual helper. “The hiring manager asked technical questions, and there’s this lag time between his mouth moving and the answers. The voices didn’t match. He had someone on the phone!” he said. Although they didn’t divulge awareness of the incredulous wrongdoing, they did cut it short.

Prepare for any fails with a comeback

Have a few lines ready in your back pocket if mishaps occur. “It happens all the time — it’s how you handle it that matters. You could say, ‘Please excuse the barking dog in the background. He must have missed my memo to be quiet at 10 a.m. today,’ ” said Wein.

Show and tell

Michael Balush, senior vice president of customer development and talent acquisition leader at Power Home Remodeling, in Melville interviewed an entry-level sales candidate who was a former collegiate basketball player. “He positioned himself in front of all of his sports trophies, framed articles and awards,” he said. This showed Balush that the candidate was a “committed, ambitious and team-oriented individual” and “a smart move that helped him stand out.”

Engage your audience

Leonard appreciates nonverbal cues such as eye contact, mirroring facial expressions, nodding, smiling and good posture (leaning forward, open arms instead of crossed).

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Man named Colin Pidgeon catches pigeon during Zoom meeting

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Man named Colin Pidgeon catches pigeon during Zoom meeting

This bird brain failed to fly-by-night and ended up on-screen.

A Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Finance meeting on Zoom turned fowl this Wednesday when a committee member, who happens to be named Colin Pidgeon, randomly caught a pigeon mid-call. 

“I have literally just caught a pigeon,” a shocked-sounding Pidgeon announces, cradling the bird after his cat delivered it to him during the meeting. The non-remote, distanced committee members immediately begin laughing. 

“Colin, this is much more interesting,” one chortled. 

“Colin Pidgeon’s caught a pigeon,” another committee member adds.

“Colin, Colin, go and put the pigeon outside,” a meeting leader says, excusing Pidgeon from the meeting. 

“The cat hasn’t killed it,” Pidgeon then announces. 

“You kept your composure the whole way through that, amazing,” praises a fellow member.

“I’ve never been interrupted by wildlife before,” Pidgeon reflects.

“The Committee wishes to confirm no pigeon or indeed Pidgeon were harmed during this incident,” the committee posted to its official Twitter account.

However, Pidgeon says he is experiencing some back pain post-incident.

“Actually, my back is a bit sore now you mention it …” he noted in a retweet.

Pidgeon has long embraced his last name, even before the sudden, literal manifestation of it during work: Not only does he have a doormat reading “House Pidgeon Embrace the Chaos” featuring a pigeon spread-eagle, but the brickwork on the front of his house has also been painted with the family crest.

The fowl experience that made the internet giggle comes after a lawyer’s recent viral moment when a Zoom filter turned the attorney into a cat during a virtual court hearing. 

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Man ordered to pay ex-wife $7,700 for housework

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Man ordered to pay ex-wife $7,700 for housework

She really cleaned up.

A Chinese divorce court has ordered a man to pay $7,700 to his ex-wife for domestic services she rendered during their marriage.

The groundbreaking ruling is the first case concerning a recently enacted law that may require breadwinning ex-spouses to cover the years their partner spent cooking, cleaning, raising children, nursing elder relatives or otherwise supporting the family from home.

The decision has sparked a heated debate among millions of Chinese citizens on social media over the value of housework, according to the South China Morning Post.

The couple in question, whose identities are limited to their surnames — Wang and Chen — were married for five years, two of which they spent separated before ultimately filing for divorce in 2020, according to court documents. Ms. Wang has argued that she is entitled to compensation, particularly for the two years she reared their son with no substantial input from ex-husband Mr. Chen.

Wang has also accused Chen of having an affair.

The court awarded Wang full custody of their son and ordered Chen to pay his family 2,000 yuan ($300) per month going forward and an additional bill of 50,000 yuan ($7,700) for the chores and child care duties that Wang performed during marriage.

Critics on Weibo, China’s preeminent social media site, have said the court didn’t go far enough, with one user pointing out that a year’s salary at any job would be more than twice that amount. On the other hand, others have argued that Wang “also enjoyed the fruit of her housework,” so why should Chen be responsible for compensation?

Zhong Wen, a divorce lawyer in China’s Sichuan province, told SCMP that the new law, enacted Jan. 1 of this year, sets a new precedent in the country.

“Those who do housework are devalued in a marriage, with the most obvious effect being their survival skills in society and their professional skills will probably decrease,” Zhong said.

He also said the court’s order was conservative compared to divorce norms in other cultures, adding that divorce proceedings in the UK take domestic duties of both parties into consideration, regardless of their work status, when divvying property and establishing alimony.

Globally, women take on two-and-a-half times as much unpaid caretaking and household work as men, according to studies by the United Nations.

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Florida officials crack down on spring break amid COVID pandemic

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Florida officials crack down on spring break amid COVID pandemic

Florida officials are cracking down on spring-breakers hoping to flee to the state’s beaches amid the pandemic.

New restrictions are being implemented to help slow the spread of COVID-19 as vacationers touch down in popular South Florida destinations like South Beach, where fewer Miami vices like staying out past midnight and alcohol consumption, among other things, will be tolerated.

“If you’re coming here because you think it’s an anything-goes place, please turn around or go somewhere else,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told WPLG-TV this week.

Miami Beach is imposing a number of health and safety measures during its “high impact period” now through April 12. That means no alcohol, coolers, tables, tents, or live music at public beaches. Capacity limits are also currently in place at some of Miami’s more high-traffic beaches, according to the guidelines.

The Florida city is also imposing a curfew at midnight in its entertainment district, and liquor stores won’t be able to sell alcohol past 10 p.m. in Miami beach, or after 8 p.m. in the Art Deco Cultural District.

Over in Fort Lauderdale, Mayor Steve Gellar said residents and visitors can expect more law enforcement at busy areas, with social distancing and mask-wearing mandates being heavily enforced. He also stressed that the city could shut down businesses that have been hit with a number of health violations.

“I’m OK with saying we will try and focus on the offenders and not do a countywide curfew, provided that Fort Lauderdale agrees to shut down the offenders,” Gellar said, as reported by CBS4 Miami.

An average of more than 1,000 people have been dying from COVID-19 per day, data suggests, and doctors say travel puts more people at risk for contracting and spreading more contagious strains of the virus.

“The emerging strains could also be more easily dispersed by the increased travel in the spring and early summer. As people return from travel destinations, they may place people in their local communities at higher risk for contracting these resistant strains,” Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told Fox News. 

Indeed, Glatter says travelers looking to get away for spring break should expect to proceed with caution, advising to drive instead of fly when possible, wear masks at all times, and stick to small gatherings outdoors, while maintaining a safe social distance from others.

“While people who are vaccinated are protected against severe disease and death, it’s still unclear if they can transmit the virus to others. It’s still important to wear a mask when around others who are not living in your household or in your pod. Be smart and careful,” Glatter said.

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