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How to Make Your Virtual Background for Job Interviews More Professional

Updated: May 16

Context is everything. No action or interaction exists in a vacuum; its surroundings give it meaning. This is why presentation is so important — especially when you’re on a video call where context can sometimes be lost. You want to give the other party the impression that you’re professional, prepared, and presentable, and a virtual background offers the opportunity to do so. With a customized virtual background behind you on your calls, you can confidently address your interviewer, colleague, or manager, knowing that you are maintaining an entirely professional façade. This is an asset in any situation, but it’s essential for anybody who works remotely.

Benefits of Having a Professional Background

In addition to maintaining a professional façade, what benefits can a virtual background provide? The most apparent advantage is peace of mind. If you’ve ever had your lunch interrupted by an unexpected Zoom invitation, you know just how stressful it can be to scramble as you try to clear off your desk, put away your meal, and quickly hide any clutter that may appear in the background. A virtual background eliminates the need to do all this and minimizes the stress of the constant video calls that commonly accompany remote work.

Another benefit of a virtual background is its ability to make a great first impression. When you’re meeting somebody for the first time via video call, you want to ensure that you set the right tone. If you appear in front of a messy and unprofessional background, it will, unfortunately, be easy for the other party to get the wrong impression. Whether leading your team’s morning meeting or in the middle of an interview, a virtual background signals to the other party that you are engaged and invested in your work. Your meeting attendees will notice the background and appreciate your professionalism.

If you’re artistically inclined, a virtual background’s capacity for creative expression is another attractive benefit. Rather than being limited by the confines of the room you work in, you can explore new places, browse background motifs, and find a background that adequately reflects you. Sometimes you might want to appear in front of the Eiffel Tower throughout your daily meetings, but on other days, you may prefer the clear view of a polished boardroom. No matter what kind of image you seek, you can find it and use it as your virtual background, enjoying the opportunity for creativity it affords you.

Make Your Background Unique & Memorable

Making your background unique is one of the most significant benefits of a virtual background. Indeed, you can have whatever view you want behind you, and you can add unique details to make it reflect your preferences. If you opt for the Eiffel Tower mentioned above, you can further customize the view by embellishing the background with your company’s logo. You can add your text or any other customizations you want to see to achieve your desired effect. One thing’s for sure — your background will be memorable.

Another way to set your background apart is to switch it out intermittently. Your mood changes daily, so why shouldn’t your virtual background, too? Luckily, there is no shortage of virtual backgrounds, and you can easily select one that reflects whatever vibe you feel. Customize its colors, add a text overlay, or combine it with another image. No matter how you style it, your virtual background is sure to set you apart from the rest of your colleagues.

Additional Tips for Staying Professional in a Virtual Interview

Your Zoom background can be an asset in your quest to be professional, but it’s just one of many tools you can use to accomplish this goal. Another great way to stay professional on a video call is to ensure you’re dressed professionally. Indeed, you should dress the way you would if you spent the day in an in-person office setting. This means a button-up shirt and blazer or a freshly ironed blouse. The way you dress doesn’t just affect your appearance. It also impacts how you feel. You’ll likely find that professional attire makes you feel more comfortable and confident in yourself.

Remember, too, that you should use the mute button whenever necessary. The view of your surroundings isn’t the only thing you should be worried about. You should pay attention to the sounds in your surroundings, too. Many people compromise their professionalism by logging onto a video call and subjecting the other party to a barking dog, a coughing roommate, or any different unsavory sound that should be avoided. Unless you are speaking, you should keep yourself on mute to preserve your professionalism.


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