So much in the world of work changed in the last two years, but Lynne Oldham, chief people officer at Zoom Video Communications Inc, says the old adages still apply for job-seekers. “Take time to understand the planet that you want to land on – it’s really important not to just walk in the door," said Oldham, whose company is based in San Jose, California. “You have to figure out how you add value.”
Oldham spoke with Reuters about her views on work, Zooming and hiring culture. Edited excerpts are below.
Q. What did you learn from your first job?
A. My very first job out of university was with a benefits administrator for a small company. It was family-owned. I loved it because I got to work with retirees to really figure out their next step and how they would transition. I learned the power of listening to people’s stories, understanding the position they’re in and coming at it from a more personal perspective.
Q. How are people using Zoom differently in these new times?
A. Before the pandemic, we were a B-to-B company. What happened was that everybody - grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles - started getting on Zoom. We had weddings, happy hours, family gatherings – overnight, users realized it’s possible to do everything online, from telemedicine and online therapy to yoga and Zumba classes, parent-teacher conferences.
In the business realm, we saw interviewing going virtual – everybody was being met by their recruiters and hiring managers online.
Q. What are some Zoom features you find particularly useful?
A. In audio settings, there is the “suppression" tool – set your setting at high, and you won’t hear a fire engine going or a dog barking. You could be in a crowded airport and they could be announcing something, and no one will hear it. Also, the lip colour and eyebrow pencil features – it’s in studio effects. You literally can roll out of bed and roll to your camera and all of your makeup is in the tools. If I can change my shade of lipstick on studio without paying $25 for a new shade, why bother?
Q. What is a common mistake people make when Zooming?
A. We’re a distracted culture, so if you leave your email open and then have a chat open, you have to make sure to be fully attentive to the people in the video call with you. I close things out so that I’m not seeing five new emails out of the corner of my eye, and I’m sort of reading my emails while I’m talking. It’s important when we’re not able to connect as we have in the past to make sure that we’re there.
Q. What qualities do you look for when you hire?
A. A continuous learner. People who are curious do well here. People who understand speed do well here. We’re not a slow-paced company. We’re quick. If you stay on top of your business news – and you’re able to bring to this conversation something that you’ve learned and is relevant to the job – that says curiosity like none other.
Q. What advice do you have for job seekers right now?
A. Know who’s hiring and why they’re hiring, and where they’re growing and what they’re all about. Your LinkedIn profile has got to be up to date. You need to continuously network even if it’s virtual. Don’t leave those connections behind and say, “I’ll get to that the next month or the month after." Continuous networking is how I got my last few jobs.
Q. What’s the best piece of job advice you’ve received?
A. Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life. I love my job; I love what I do. It sounds crazy but the pandemic has heightened that, because I learned it is all about the people and what are we going to do to ensure that people feel good about coming back to the office.