How to Use Microsoft Teams for Conducting Effective Interviews

Virtual interviews have become an integral part of the recruitment process in the past years, even when you’re interviewing someone in the same city as you. It’s fast, it’s convenient, it allows more flexibility in scheduling and saves lots of time on travelling. Microsoft Teams is one of the most popular tools that allows you to interview anyone be that in your office or in the convenience of your own home. And in this blog post, we’ll share with you some tips on how to conduct interviews in Microsoft Teams.

Why use Microsoft Teams for interviews

recruitment team in microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams can provide you with all the necessary tools to conduct effective interviews and make well thought-out recruitment decisions. You can coordinate the entire recruitment process in a dedicated team in Microsoft Teams and create a channel specifically for interviews. This is where you and your team can share candidates’ CV and cover letters, as well as give feedback on the interview results.

You can learn more about how to use Microsoft Teams for HR in this blog post.

Here are some advantages of using Microsoft Teams for the interviewing process:

  • The platform also allows you to record an interview and create meeting transcripts so that you can easily share it with those members of the team who didn’t participate in the interview. In this way, they can share their opinion about the candidate and make an informed decision.
  • Both the candidate and the interviewer can benefit from background filters which help create a more professional setting even when having a meeting at home. It can also help to lower the bias against the candidate if the background doesn’t seem appropriate.
  • Another great feature that suits those working remotely or in noisy office environments is noise suppression. It will help minimize background noises and make sure the person you’re talking to will only hear your voice.
  • You also have the opportunity to take notes during the interview, share links and files with each other, share the screen, for example, to present a case study.
  • Interviews in Microsoft Teams can be quite interactive and just as effective as real-life ones if you know how to use all the platform has to offer.

No let’s walk through the entire process step-by-step.

Scheduling an interview

To schedule an interview in Microsoft Teams, you can click on the Calendar tab, and input the email address of the attendee and specify other meeting details. You may also want to invite other members of your team to listen in.

schedule an interview in Microsoft Teams

The person you’ll be interviewing doesn’t have to have an Office 365 account. They will receive a meeting invitation to their inbox and will be able to join the meeting through the link in their web browser.

If they have the Microsoft Teams app installed, the meeting will appear in their Teams calendar.

Conducting an interview in Microsoft Teams

Connecting

You may want to connect a few minutes before the interview starts to make sure everything is well set up. It goes without saying that you need to test your internet connection, mic, speakers, and camera to make sure everything runs smoothly.

If your mic, speakers, or camera aren’t working, don’t stress out. The great thing about Microsoft Teams meetings is that you can hold them through any device. For example, if you have trouble with the speaker on your computer, you may want to connect additionally with your phone and put on your headphones. Just don’t forget to mute yourself on the other device, otherwise it may cause some sound distortion for meeting attendees.

Prepare the background

You may want to change your camera background if you’re not working from the office or simply want to create a different mood. You can choose the image from the collection, blur your own background, or choose an image of your own. In some companies employees use background with the company’s design and logo.

You can select your background by clicking on ‘Background filters’ before you join the meeting. Or, if you already joined the meeting, click on More Actions […] > Apply Background Effects.

apply background effects for an interview in microsoft teams

Noise suppression

If you’re in a noisy environment and want to make sure meeting participants are not distracted by the noise in the background, you can enable noise suppression.

To do that, click on More Actions […] > Device Settings > Noise Suppression. Then, choose the level of noise suppression you’d like to set up.

Admitting from the lobby

When you’re setting up a meeting with an external user, by default they will first be redirected to the lobby. So, when you conduct your interview in Microsoft Teams, keep in mind that you will have to admit the candidate first.

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Microsoft 365 Documentation

You can also choose to allow meeting participants to bypass the lobby, if needed. You can do that by clicking on More actions […] > Meeting options.

Recording and transcription

If you’d like to share the interview with your colleagues through Microsoft Teams or simply want to go back to some specific answers from the candidate, you can record it. Not only will you get a video of the interview, but also the meeting transcripts. This way, you can easily find the right part and analyze the answer.

To do record a meeting, click on More Actions […] > Start Recording.

Make sure to let the candidate know that the meeting is being recorded. In any case, they will receive a notification in Microsoft Teams.

Screen sharing

Most recruitment processes these days require the candidates to complete a case study, prepare an analysis, a presentation, or other types of tasks that would show their competence.

This is where the screen sharing feature in Microsoft Teams comes in handy. After completing the assigned task, candidates can share their screen and present the work done in an interactive way. Like this, they can highlight the most important things and allow the interviewer to easily follow their presentation.

Similarly, by sharing your own screen, you can explain an assignment to the candidate or present them with any other information.

To share your screen, simply click on Share on top right once you start the meeting. Then, you can choose between different presenter modes and what exact content you wish to share – all your screen or just specific windows.

Meeting notes

You may want to keep some notes during the interview. For example, you can give details about the case study the interviewee will need to work on, share some links with them, or other information. On the other hand, they may want to share their portfolio, or, say, a website. Meeting notes will be available for both parties before, during, and after the meeting.

To enable them, click on More Actions […] > Meeting notes.

After conducting the interview in Microsoft Teams

After the interview is over, you will see the meeting chat that will show all meetings interactions. If you added notes or recorded/transcribed the interview, it will show directly in the chat.

interview in microsoft teams: transcripts and notes

Then, you may want to download the transcripts and then share them as a document in a dedicated channel with your recruitment team, if needed. This way, they will get familiar with interviewee’s responses and could give their opinion on whether they are a good fit for the position.

You can also start an entire conversation thread in the recruitment channel with the title representing the name of the candidate or the position they’re applying for. Thus, everyone can easily find all the information they need and make the right decision.

And, you’re all set! You’ve got all the tools you need to conduct effective interviews in Microsoft Teams and make smart recruitment decisions.

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