skip to Main Content
(Mostly) Free Online Video Conferencing Options

(Mostly) free online video conferencing options

– Cara Kauhane, Recruiting Assistant

Our team is no stranger to online video conferencing. We meet regularly through Google Meet when we need to introduce a new client or touch base on ongoing projects. It gives us the advantage of being able to pick up on non-verbal cues, whether it’s a spark of inspiration or a grimace of hesitation. I highly recommend more bosses start utilizing video conferencing for their team meetings. If you’re anything like Kael, your day is likely filled with meetings both in and out of the office. Putting a video conference in his calendar and seeing the team’s faces keeps him accountable and keeps us invested. 

When it comes to interviewing, video conferencing is invaluable, especially in times like these when meeting in person is not recommended. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still proponents for phone interviews. At a preliminary stage you can get a lot of information with a phone interview, and you can tell a lot about a candidate’s enthusiasm–or lack thereof–by their voice. But with video interviewing you can gage their eye contact, their smile, and how they listen, even if you can’t shake their hand. 

So, we thought we’d share our experience using the below (mostly) free online video conferencing formats. As with everything else, if you go up in pricing you’ll get more features, but I think it’s worth it to try the free ones first. The platforms are pretty similar, but you might find one easier to use than another. Check out a few options below that will up your communication game with just a little bit of forethought and a strong internet connection. 

All the below options offer one-on-one, group, video and audio calls, as well as screen-sharing.  

Google Meet/Hangouts

If you are already using a G Suite for your company (which is paid), you will already have Google Meet. If not, you can use Google Hangouts for free. 

Pros:

  • You can schedule calls ahead of time in the Google Calendar
  • Invites with a meeting link are sent to guests to their inbox
  • On their computers, guests have the option of downloading the app or joining by web browser
  • With Meet, anyone can join—they don’t need to have a Gmail email address
  • With Meet, guests can join by phone with a PIN

Cons:

  • Video quality with Meet is much better than with Hangouts
  • With Hangouts, guest must have a Gmail email address to join
  • With Meet, a person from your organization will have to be present to allow entry to guests without a Gmail account
  • To join on your mobile, you’ll need to download the Hangouts app
  • To join on your mobile, you’ll need a Gmail email address to join, whether it’s Meet or Hangouts

Microsoft teams

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool that allows team members to chat, call, share documents, and integrate with extensions your office may already use, like Skype or Sharepoint.  

Pros:

  • Video quality is good
  • You can create channels to organize your conversations
  • You can create teams with your coworkers

Cons: 

  • The free option does not allow you to schedule or record meetings
  • Guests need a Microsoft account to join (but that also includes your Skype account!)
  • You have to add guests as a contact before you can invite or call them 
  • Guests do not receive invitations by email, they have to have Teams open to see their invitations

Skype

Skype is more tailored to actual calls and chats than organizing tasks and sharing information, unlike Microsoft Teams. 

Pros:

  • Most people have a Skype account (even if they’ve forgotten), and we’ve found that can be helpful for international calls
  • You can schedule a call from a chat

Cons: 

  • Video (and often audio) quality is usually just OK
  • You have to add guests as a contact before you can invite or call them 
  • Invites won’t come to email, so Skype has to be open 

Zoom

Zoom is a favourite of many businesses for its ease of use and ability to host webinars.

Pros:

  • Video quality is usually great
  • You don’t need any particular email address or account to join
  • Invites with a meeting link are sent to guests to their inbox
  • Guests can join with app or web browser 
  • Guests can join by phone with a meeting ID
  • You can schedule a call using a Google Calendar Chrome extension

Cons:

  • The free plan has a 40 minute limit on calls
  • The person who set up the meeting has to start it before others can join

It can be a learning process, but it’s worth it to check out different free online video conferencing options to see which fits your business’ needs best. Or if you’re stuck inside, try it out for personal use! Have a virtual lunch date with a friend or teach your parents how to use it. I, for one, love to video call my 8-month old nephews and sharing a giggle with them in real time.

 

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top