How to Conduct Virtual Interviews with Microsoft Teams

As a hiring manager or recruiter, there’s always a lot to consider when preparing for an interview. The one thing you must be sure about in today’s digital-focused environment is the technology you use to conduct your virtual interviews. That is why so many choose to use the powerful, trusted and familiar service of Microsoft Teams

In October last year, Microsoft reported that Teams had reached 115 million daily active users. Today, that figure is probably over 145 million.  With so many businesses making use of the smart collaboration tool (alongside other Microsoft services), it has become one of the most popular and effective ways to not only connect internally, but also to virtually interview job candidates. 

One-way and Two-way interview considerations

One major virtual interviews consideration for employers these days is whether to simply use a more traditional two-way video call interview with a candidate, or to also use a one-way hybrid interview platform with added intelligent assessment and pre-screening capabilities. Both these options have advantages and are a fit for certain types of roles or an employer’s individual needs. 

Following the recent announcement from X0PA AI and Microsoft, employers can now integrate X0PA ROOM into Teams and be able to harness the added power of both of these options all in one place. So, we thought we’d give you a run-down of the benefits of both interview formats.


What is a two-way interview?

A two-way interview is exactly as you might imagine. The hiring manager arranges a video call with the candidate and chats with them as in a face-to-face interview. With Teams, recruiters send a link to the candidate to join a live call from the application on mobile or desktop. 

The most obvious advantage of two-way interviews is the more personal human element you have with speaking directly over video. A live dialogue between candidates and hiring managers enables rapport building and more natural reactions to questions and commentary. Attendees can then ask more about particular subjects with the opportunity to find out more immediately. Candidates can also be more easily probed on their responses by interviewers through the live dialogue. 

Why use Teams to conduct two-ways interviews?

Teams offers a whole host of features that can make live virtual interviews more interactive and inclusive. Candidates and interviewers have the capability to write messages, share documents, and links to more information or work portfolios. This goes beyond the realms of the traditional interview in the ways that attendees can engage.

Organizers can invite multiple attendees instantaneously. This allows employers to change or bring along extra staff before or during the call. You also have the ability to record meetings to watch back. Attending staff or other hiring managers who weren’t available can then revisit interviews.

As in any interview, human bias can creep in which can skew perceptions of candidates. With video interviews specifically, this could be due to distractions or subconscious assumptions resulting from viewing a candidate’s background. Aspects such as the decorations or assumed living conditions could leave an unfair impression of the candidate. The advantage that Teams gives the candidates is to blur their backgrounds completely if not in a professional setting. 

One of the best things about using Teams is the continued collaboration between hiring staff after the interview. Many organisations work in Teams all day and therefore continue the exchange of thoughts and review of candidates within the platform. Best practice is to set up one channel within Teams to keep all information in one place. This allows subsequent interviews to be set up quickly and easily. With the newest enhancements, this is now also possible with One and Two Way interviews from X0PA ROOM and Teams…


What is a one-way interview?

One-way virtual interviews commonly see the candidate recording their video answers to specific, standardized questions on screen with timed responses. X0PA ROOM goes further as a sophisticated hybrid interview and assessment AI platform. ROOM enables the seamless inviting and pre-screening of candidates with video, text, multiple choice or ratings-based assessments. Now integrated into Teams, the power of automated interviews, evaluation and collaboration for employers is further amplified. 

Why use X0PA and Teams to conduct one-way interviews?

One of the most important advantages to using a hybrid platform is that this method allows for a more inclusive and objective first step for candidates, before moving to the direct interaction with hiring managers. Skills assessments and standardized questions for video responses allow candidates to rank on the quality of their responses alone. After completing the one-way interview and assessment, all responses are first evaluated by the fair video analytics and speech to text capabilities of Azure Cognitive Services within ROOM. This then produces ranking/scoring, predictive analysis, transcripts and valuable insights for the hiring manager before any human assessment. 

A more diverse outcome

ROOM is truly focused on equitable outcomes that increase diversity of candidates. The platform offers a number of inclusive intelligent features to address unconscious bias. The ‘masked hiring feature’ helps to remove bias from video response selections by blanking the video and only displaying the transcript of the response. Video only appears for a recruiter after a candidate is shortlisted or rejected based on their score. 

Keep it all in one channel

Through the Teams integration, ROOM is added to any channel so all these results are received immediately by multiple reviewers. Reviewers can then quickly collaborate and evaluate candidates with others in real-time. The ROOM enhancement also means candidate data and insights through the process is automatically synced to the employers’ applicant tracking system (ATS). The candidate profile is therefore always up-to-date and easily accessible in the future as part of the more holistic talent pool for reconsideration or benchmarking.

These powerful enhancements lead to another important advantage of one-way interviews: helping to hire at scale. For organizations who wish to hire multiple employees for specific roles like gig workers, labour-hire or event staff; this method can be a phenomenal way to pre-screen suitable candidates quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. All candidates are measured on a level playing field and can be assessed and interviewed in a much shorter timescale. Talent acquisition teams can also review multiple candidates’ responses/results in Teams simultaneously.

Employers can create or pin key assessments, invite candidates and review their responses all in one tab. Automated responses to candidates are then also available at the click of a button to progress or reject applicants. All of these features are also extremely powerful for educational institutions in selections for university and college applicants.

Added benefits for candidates

For candidates there are also a number of major benefits to one-way interviews and assessments through ROOM. A key advantage is that interviewees also have the option to play back and review their responses. Unlike in a live interview, where answers can be regrettable later, candidates are able to re-record guilt-free.  

At the beginning of the interview, employers are also able to personalize interviews and assessments with their own video recordings. Candidates can receive a message from their potential hiring managers, teams or even CEOs, making the process more relaxed. Candidates then receive guidance through a supportive pre-interview check for video resolution and sound. Upon completion of the interview, candidates immediately receive notification via email with another personalized message. 

Get the most out of hiring by combining One-way and Two-way virtual interviews in Teams 

One way interviews are a powerful first or second step in the hiring process. However, typically they are not enough by themselves to make a hiring decision. Once several candidates are screened and assessed, it is always best to have an interviewer or a team speak to the candidate directly over a virtual call. By combining the two steps in Teams with X0PA ROOM, interviewers can collaborate and assess candidates more easily than ever as all scores, information and insights in the one-way interview stay on one channel. 

Instead of adding feedback/comments and waiting for others to respond, interviewers can discuss top candidates live in the channel. Hiring teams can then immediately schedule the next live interview in the Teams platform directly with the X0PA ROOM enhancement. That way employers know that all the information (CV, profile, assessment scoring, evaluation, notes etc.) and discussion on that particular candidate will be on hand at the time of the next interview. All information on a particular candidate is also automatically available through the employer’s own applicant tracking system (ATS) for future reference. A company’s talent pool is therefore always up to date so that candidates are eligible for reconsideration for future or separate roles.  

Find what works best for your hiring team

Ultimately your hiring team has to decide what works best for you. This depends on how far you are down the talent acquisition process and what the specific role looks like. Intelligently pre-screening candidates gives maximum insights and will likely lead to better potential individuals. It also means a more diverse range of applicants moving to later stages of the process. Following up with direct virtual interviews will give you the personal connection with a candidate to really ensure they are the right person for the role. In combination, these new tools are a powerful and objective way to hire best-fit candidates efficiently in one place and with maximum collaboration all the way through the process. 

X0PA ROOM and Teams

As a Microsoft Partner, X0PA AI and are always working with Microsoft to deliver the most efficient, effective and inclusive solutions that empower employers and educators.  X0PA AI are proud to use Azure and its AI capabilities to build intelligent apps that meet customers’ demands for AI talent solutions. 

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