What should you look for in an online meeting platform?

online meeting platform
online meeting platform

What should you look for in an online meeting platform?

Choices abound when it comes to putting a virtual meeting platform in place at your workplace, or for remote work from home. We provide a balanced view of three key options.

By Vanessa Rogers, on behalf of BossJansen Executive Search and Executive Placements.

There are many reasons to seek out a reliable video-conferencing app when you work in the recruitment arena. You may need to chat to a business associate based at some distance from your own office, stage a formal meet and greet with a new client, or brief a keen applicant on their prospective new company just prior to a first interview.

Chat to friends, relatives, and colleagues who have been let down by a platform, for whatever reason, and it’s easy to make a list of the must-have features you should expect to find, prior to logging on.

“One of these is recording and playback,” says Jeremy Bossenger, director at BossJansen Executive Search. “It’s important for executive search firms to secure an audio file of any conversations with the executives they are seeking to place, with their permission of course. This helps us to confer the correct information across to the hiring company.”

“When meeting with a client, or investor in our jobs board, it is important that we can switch between key spokespeople,” reveals Charles Edelstein of Executive Placements. “It’s also vital for our client to be able to see who is speaking, so that they can address the correct individual, and which muted participants are present should their expertise be required at a later stage.”

“Without screen sharing,” advises Bossenger, “ it would be impossible to take our applicants through the executive search process; or show them the benefits we can offer. These things are often better received directly, in an online meet up, than via the delay of a loaded in-box.”

“There’s also the matter of Apple Mac-versus-PC compability,” says Edelstein, with reference to his many years of running a jobs board. “It pays to ask a valued client which medium suits them best, rather than to forge ahead by sending a meeting invite from your own chosen platform. Creatives, and others working on Mac who are based in jobs in Johannesburg – and other main African centres – often find they have to shut down everything else for your meeting, which is not ideal or sustainable.”

Round pegs, square holes

The positives are, that there are plenty of ways to meet effectively in the online space these days – as long as you take your colleague or client situations into account. Are they sitting in a London tube at that time of the morning? Are they based in SA, yet experiencing intermittent load-shedding? Busy doing the school run, yet have perfect connectivity in their vehicle?

It’s all about kicking your own favoured method of meeting online to the curb, and embracing the concept of meeting up remotely such that it suits your call-ee, in equal measures to the way in which it suits you.

“The important thing,” enthuses Bossenger, “is not simply to implement one platform across all your executive search dealings, when it may only suit one prestigious client – and nobody else.”

Edelstein concurs that variety is the spice of life, and “adapting your meeting tool to the person you are, in fact, calling, could make or break the important deal you are intent on securing”.

It’s also important not to assume that those you need to meet up with remotely, have a similar tech setup to your own. Are these individuals consultants, without an IT professional at hand to solve any connectivity issues? Are all your in-house team members set up on one system, while those externally prefer a different one – for whatever reason?

Best protocol is to ask the individual you are primed to meet exactly which platform they prefer, and why. Never assume they are au fait with your own preferred platform, to the extent where a valued contractor is unable to present an important paper on behalf of your company – simply because they are unable to log on.

Valuable features

If unsure, check out the table prepared by the experts at Rateweb – where it is possible to compare important features such as maximum participant numbers, total length of one-on-one and group meetings, whether you can screen share or not, and whether you can record a session when it is vital for you to be able to do so.

While there is never a one-size-fits-all solution in these matters, those scheduling the meeting/s can certainly do so with a measure of flexibility, depending on the matter at hand – and those receiving the meeting invite, should ideally give a shout-out if the selected platform generally suits them poorly, for whatever reason.

Remember: if someone is scheduling a meeting with you, they are keen to chat to you – not cause you stress in trying to navigate a platform that you generally struggle with.

Making your selection


Zoom is one of the most popular cloud-based video conferencing services worldwide, with as many as 20 000 high-profile companies revealing it to be their go-to platform when a virtual meeting needs to be scheduled – across those based in jobs in Johannesburg, and elsewhere in Africa, together with globally.

While Zoom can accommodate up to 500 people in its Zoom Rooms option, for one-on-one meetings or small groups (together with up to 100 people in a conference setting), taking out a paid subscription is probably unnecessary. Instead, take advantage of Zoom’s free offering for meetings of up to 40 minutes in length. The experts at Starleaf believe that 25 minutes is, in fact, the best online meeting length “to ensure optimal engagement and productivity” from all involved.

To accommodate between 500 and 1 000 people, an Enterprise plan is required. Pay either US$19,99 per person per month, or US$199,90 per person per year. The main disadvantage? You can’t simply join a Zoom meeting via a shared link. It is vital to first download the Zoom app onto your mobile or desktop device, which GreenGeeks believes translates into meetings that having to be cancelled, or rescheduled – until everyone has carried out this step.


Next up, Microsoft Teams is another much-used platforms  – enthusing that they have over 9 000 companies on their books, including hard hitters such as JLL, Johnson Control, McAfee, SAP and Toshiba. Just like Zoom, Teams facilitates screen sharing and meeting recording; you can also turn on the live transcription service, if this has been permitted by your IT admin.

Teams subscriptions range from the free basic package for home users, through to the highest-end Business package at US$12, 50 per user per month. If you don’t require other Microsoft 365 apps and services, simply take out the US$4 per month Teams Essentials package, which facilitates: unlimited group meetings for up to 30 hours, up to 300 participants per hour, 10GB of cloud storage per user, unlimited chat time with coworkers, and the ability not only to file share and record with transcriptions, but also to contribute to shared content via a Microsoft Whiteboard.

Unfortunately, Teams does churn out a few glitches. Ever come across the screen, “We’re sorry  – we’ve run into an issue”? Both this loading issue, and finding that you’re regularly logging into meetings later, and more frustrated, than is healthy for your blood pressure – should see you selecting a different go-to platform where this is possible.


This brings us to a third option among the multitude out there, Google Meets, which 6sense reveals is being used by over 16 741 companies globally. This platform, like Zoom and MS Teams, permits up to 100 participants in an online meeting, and can be used for up to 24 hours a month for one-on-one meetings, and up to 60 minutes for a group meeting.

While Tech.co advises that Google Meets offers a pretty robust free plan, they also advise that you check out their three paid options – Workspace Starter at US$6 per user per month, Workspace Standard at US$12 per user per month, and Workspace Plus at US$18 per person per month; depending on your unique online-meet requirements.

A couple of drawbacks? Screen sharing is limited to one key individual, and there’s no waiting room if you log on early – which could prove embarrassing. A drop down menu for screen sharing would also be well received; hopefully, this is already in the pipeline for future renditions.

Last words

Did you know that two-way video technology was first introduced in 1931, between two Manhattan-based AT&T offices? It’s incredible how far we’ve come in the interim… just remember to do your homework before subscribing to any long-term paid subscriptions. The features of each platform need to work for your unique purposes.