Virtual interview set-up
Guidance on setting up your interview process virtually
At the University we use Microsoft Teams for our video conferencing option. IT can assist in the set-up of this system.
This can be used internally within the University and by external candidates/panel members. Participants can be invited to join a meeting/interview by sending an email or calendar invitation which includes a hyperlink.
Details on how to set-up meetings on the platform can be found below:
Invite all candidates to discuss their availability and IT set-up and be prepared to offer alternatives if they do not have suitable technology or only limited broadband. If they do not have a laptop/webcam, discuss with them whether they want be interviewed via their smartphone (if they have one), bearing in mind that this could put them at a disadvantage compared with other candidates. Offer them suitable alternatives such as an audio-only interview (dial in to Teams or a standard conference call) and consider what options might be available for presentations and assessments.
Ask all candidates whether they have any accessibility needs and discuss with them how these can best be addressed. Ensure that everyone on the panel is aware of the need for reasonable adjustments and knows how to implement them. There is guidance on accessibility in online events.
Read the online events accessibility guidance
When invited to interview candidates should also be asked if they have any constraints due to caring responsibilities, that may affect the timing or circumstances of their interview.
We recommend using Microsoft Teams for interviews, please see below best practice for setting this up.
Setting up interviews using Microsoft Teams
It is best practice to send separate invitations to the individual candidates and interview panel. Do offer all involved a trial call as some people may be more used to this format than others.
Within MS Teams, it is possible for a colleague external to the selection panel to help set up and manage the technical features of the interview process. If a department is going to approach the interviews in this way, the colleague that is identified should be the meeting organiser to ensure they have editing rights to the appointments.
For those on the interview panel
- Create a calendar invitation setting up a Microsoft Teams meeting link in the body of the invitation (the same as any other meeting) and invite all those on the panel
- You will need an individual meeting for each candidate and it is best practice to avoid the use of candidate names, e.g. use meeting Title ‘Candidate 1’
- Ensure that in the meeting options (accessed from underneath the link “Join Microsoft Teams Meeting” in the body of the email) you are only allowing people from your organisation to bypass the lobby. Note at the start of the meeting the organiser will need to admit when ready those callers held “in the lobby”. It is recommended that you wait for all panel members to have joined the call before admitting the candidate
- It is useful to schedule separate meetings for the beginning and end of the interview session for the panel to convene
- Agree with panel members in advance how long a break to have between meetings to allow enough time for writing up notes, time away from the screen and technical checks. Allow sufficient time to manage any delays due to technical difficulties (e.g. 10-15 minutes)
See this annotated screenshot of a sample interview schedule on MS Teams
For the candidates
- Having discussed with the candidate their availability, scheduling and accessibility requirements, you should send them the link for the relevant meeting in the calendar and confirm their interview time
- Copy the meeting link by right clicking on “Join Microsoft Teams Meeting” in the body of the calendar invitation
- Select “Edit Hyperlink”, then copy and paste the address provided into the body of an email to the candidate
This will ensure there will be no confusion. The candidate will only be able to access that meeting (interview) and they will not have access to the email addresses of those on the panel.
Candidates using a University of Oxford account will be able to bypass the virtual 'lobby' and access the meeting directly by clicking on the hyperlink. Arrange with any internal candidates that they should be ready five minutes before the scheduled start time of their interview, but should wait for a call from the Chair or meeting organiser before clicking the link to join the call once the panel are ready to start.
- Include detailed information on the IT arrangements and back-up plans, including dial-in options and emergency contact numbers.