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Schedule an interview

Included in:
  • SmartStart
  • SmartRecruit


SmartRecruiters' Interview Scheduler' side-by-side calendar comparison makes it easy to schedule interviews with multiple participants. 


With an active calendar integration, you will be able to view your interviewers' calendars and send suggest interview time blocks to candidates based on your interviewer's availability.

You can use the scheduler without an active calendar integration, but you'll need to compare your interviewers' calendars outside of SmartRecruiters.

Active Calendar Integration vs Inactive

  1. Navigate to the candidate’s application.
  2. Click the Interview tab.
    With an Active Calendar Integration Without an Active Calendar Integration

    Screen Shot 2019-06-28 at 3.16.00 PM.png

    An interview scheduler can choose between scheduling a new interview (an option that takes them to the familiar interview scheduling functionality) or inviting a candidate to self-schedule. This choice will be presented as a dropdown linked to the “Schedule” button.

    Customers who do not have a calendar integration enabled will continue to see only the option to schedule interviews, and will not see the new self-scheduling option on the left.

  3. Select how you would like to schedule your interview with the Candidate:
    • To allow candidates to choose a time from a pre-selected interview time block(s), click Invite to self-schedule.
    • To directly schedule an interview with a date and time, click Schedule new interview or Schedule Interview to open the Scheduler.

Setting up Self-Scheduling

Preparing an Invitation

Once the scheduler selects the self-scheduling option, they will land on a self-scheduling workflow.

  1. In the first step, schedulers can specify interview details, such as step, location, event title, interview type (which will apply to the interview when it is scheduled automatically), as well as duration. Duration defines how time slots will be presented to the candidate. Duration options are 15, 30, 45 minutes, 1, 1.5, 2 and 3 hours.Screen Shot 2019-06-28 at 4.07.04 PM.png
  2. In the second step, schedulers can select blocks of time on the calendar where they are open to scheduling an interview. Schedulers are presented with a week view and can select blocks of time by clicking and dragging the cursor. You select blocks of time over multiple days, and navigate between days and weeks. By default, you will see the calendar in the timezone of your browser, but you can view it in a different timezone by clicking on the timezone letters (in this case, CST). 

    Schedulers can choose to view their own calendar or calendars of hiring team members. For example, if a recruiter is scheduling a 1-1 with their candidate, they need to select only their own calendar (selected by default). If a recruiter is scheduling a 1-1 screen with a hiring manager, they will need to select the hiring manager on the “Hiring Team” sidebar, and un-select themselves. Finally, if a recruiter wants to schedule a screen between a candidate and multiple interviewers (e.g. hiring manager and the person who is shadowing them), they will need to select calendars of both of those people. 

    Note that schedulers can only select self-scheduling time blocks for hiring team members. Resources, such as conference rooms, are not supported. Room availability can change frequently, so we recommend adding a room to the interview after it is scheduled. Users will be able to do this easily by editing and updating the interview.

    Selected interviewer time blocks will be shown below in the interview summary section. 

    Screen Shot 2019-06-28 at 3.39.54 PM.png

    Schedulers can further configure the settings of the future interview by specifying whether it should a private one (showing as “busy” on the interviewers calendars without disclosing details). This functionality will work exactly like with the traditional scheduling

  3. Lastly, schedulers can craft their message to the candidate that will accompany an invitation to self-schedule. There are two ways to do this. First, SmartRecruiters Admins can configure new email templates under a newly created template type “Invitation to self-schedule” on the Email Templates configuration page. Second, schedulers can send a custom message. 

    Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 4.13.37 PM.png

    A link to a candidate-facing scheduling page always needs to be included into the email message to the candidate in this case. There is new merge field, “Self-schedule URL”, that will generate the link when the email is sent. This merge field can be added as a part of the email template, or as a part of custom email message.

    Another option to generate the link is a call-to-action ("CTA") button available in templates with a type "Invitation to self-schedule" and the custom email message form. Scheduler can customize the color of the button and its CTA (default is "Click to schedule"). Both merge field and button will generate a link to the page where candidates will confirm their availability. If the scheduler forgets to include the URL merge field or self-scheduling CTA button, the system will show them an error banner asking to add it.

Once the invitation to self-schedule is sent to the candidate, a record about it will appear on the Interviews tab, and the email message will be recorded in the Emails tab.

Self-Schedule Interview Drafts:

In the same way that drafts are saved for normal interview scheduling, self-scheduled interviews will also be saved as drafts if you don't complete the interview scheduling workflow. It also extends the scope of information that can be saved and reused. Interview details, such as interview properties, time blocks, candidate email content and  and private yes/no selection will be pre-loaded. 

Additionally, in a self-scheduling interview, time blocks that you have selected across multiple invitations to self-schedule will also be saved. For example, when a recruiter needs to invite three different candidates to self-schedule for an interview with a hiring manager and selects time blocks for that hiring manager while scheduling the first candidate, the same time blocks will load automatically when the recruiter starts creating an invite for the second candidate, and selects the same hiring manager’s calendar. Time block selections will be preserved for the duration of the login session so that it’s easier to schedule multiple candidates with the same people.

What Candidates See

When the candidate receives an email with an invitation to self-schedule, they can click on the self-scheduling link to land on a page that will show all of the options available to them. Those options are updated in real time based on the calendar availability of interviewer(s). If the interview was scheduled for multiple interviewers, all of them need to be still available in order for the time slot to show up. If an interviewer has an all-day event scheduled in their calendar, the time slots for that day will or will not be presented to the candidate depending on the status of the all-day event in the calendar. If the status of an all-day event is "busy", the time slots for that day will not be shown to the candidate, and vice versa.

Screen Shot 2019-06-28 at 4.28.28 PM.png

The candidate-facing scheduling page includes the Brand name selected for the job when it's created, as well as the job title. The candidate scheduling page is fully mobile responsive and will show the options in the time zone based on the candidate's browser time zone. For example, if the scheduler selected time blocks in Eastern Time (EST), but the candidate is located in Pacific Time (PST) as set in their browser, they will see the time slot options in PST. The candidate can also change to view slots in a different time zone - this may be handy if the candidate is traveling. 

When the candidate selects a time slot that works for them, they will see a screen inviting them to confirm their choice. They can always go back if they select the wrong time slot.

Screen Shot 2019-06-28 at 5.14.38 PM.png

Candidates can simply respond to the invitation email if none of the time slots suggested work for them. This is indicated on the scheduling page. Their response will be recorded under the Messages tab on their candidate application page in SmartRecruiters. The interview scheduler will also receive the email response in their inbox. The scheduler can continue the email conversation to schedule from there.

When the candidate clicks to “schedule meeting”, they see a confirmation page, and an interview is scheduled for all interviewers. The candidate also receives a calendar invite with all interview details previously specified by the scheduler. 

Screen Shot 2019-06-28 at 4.39.58 PM.png

The calendar invite will be accompanied by a simple email stating that the interview is confirmed - for the benefit of tracking the timing of such emails, the email will also be recorded in the Email messages tab against the candidate record in SmartRecruiters.

Once the candidate confirms the interview, and information about the interview will be shown in all places where information about traditional interviews appears - homepage, job activity tab etc.

Upcoming Tab.png

Rescheduling an Interview

If the candidate needs to reschedule, they can keep using the same self-scheduling link. They simply select a different time slot (again, based on a real-time availability of interviewers) and confirm. 

Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 4.33.15 PM.png

This will reschedule an interview for all interviewers, and send an updated calendar invite to the candidate as well. The invites to candidate are sent in the universal calendar format (.ics file), so they can be easily used with any calendaring software that the candidate may use. 

Declining an Interview

If the candidate wants to decline an interview invite, they can do that by declining their interview invite - a notification about that will be sent to the scheduler. This functionality works identically to the traditional interview scheduling.

Bi-directional calendar sync

  • SmartRecruit

Many interviews have last-moment changes driven by the change in interviewer availability. When those changes happen, many interview organizers take the route of updating interviews in their calendaring system directly. Bi-Directional interviewer sync allows companies to define the level of flexibility for those last-moment interview changes originated from the calendaring system.

Bi-Directional interviewer sync is supported for all calendar integrations available to SmartRecruiters customers: Google Calendar, Office 365 and Microsoft Exchange. Admins can turn on bi-directional sync from their calendar Integration configuration tab.

When Admin turns on the Interviewer Sync option, they can specify whether they would like to allow adding only, removing only, or both adding and removing interviewers from the calendar directly.  

This change is initiated from the company’s calendaring system, where SmartRecruiters permissions do not apply, any person with the edit rights to the calendar invite (for example, interviewer) can initiate the update. However, in order for updates to sync with SmartRecruiters, interviewers added from calendar must have a user account in SmartRecruiters associated with their email address.

Basic Functionalities

With active calendar integration or not, all basic functionalities of scheduling an interview is the same across all users.  Follow the step-by-step walkthrough below to see the different fields that are available to you.

Pick a Step

By default, SmartRecruiters will choose the candidate's current step in the hiring process. If necessary, chose a different step from the drop-down available in the top left corner:


Set location

By default, SmartRecruiters assumes you'll be hosting the interview at the job's location, and will list this location in the invitation emails. If the interview will be held elsewhere, click the Where field and select another location:InterviewLocation.png

Find a time

The Hiring Team list will display all current members of the hiring team for the job.

  1. Choose one or more members in this list to compare their calendars and find a time when they're all available
  2. Scroll up or down to look through the various timeslots in the day, or look for availability on other dates by clicking the date and choosing a new day from the datepicker. 

Create the event

To create an event:

  1. Click on the calendar in the timeslot you'd like to reserve
  2. By default, SmartRecruiters will add new events with a 30-minute duration. To extend this duration:
    • Click on the event and drag up or down, or
    • Click the Duration field and choose a new time (up to 3 hours) from the list. 

If you need to schedule the event for more than 3 hours, use the dragging method. 

SmartRecruiters also allows for custom durations down to 5-minute increments.

CustomInterviewDuration.pngTo create a interview slot with a custom duration:

  1. Click to create a new slot.
  2. Drag it to the desired start time, then click Save.
  3. Click on the slot to edit it.
  4. Enter the desired duration, and click Update.

Just like before, you can stack back-to-back interviews by carefully moving slots with your cursor. You can confirm slots in the Summary section located at the bottom of the scheduling page. StackedSlots.png

Add event details

Once you've created the event:

  1. Select a type from your list of interview types.
  2. Add an event title.
  3. If necessary, add additional participants by searching for users by name.
  4. Reserve conference rooms, projectors, and other resources on your calendar by searching for them by name.
  5. Enter a note to interviewers.SmartRecruiters will add this note to the event on interviewers' calendars.
  6. Click Add when finished. You’ll return to the calendar, and see a summary of the event.
  7. Click the event on the calendar to update its details or remove it.

Add messages

Once you’ve created the interview(s), click Add candidate message to select an email template or write a new email to the candidate. Templates with an Invitation to Interview type will be available here. 

This step is optional. If you choose to not email the candidate, SmartRecruiters will only send an invite to the interview team. This is a good way to get confirmation from your hiring managers and interviews before you invite the candidate.

The rich-text editor supports a variety of standard HTML formatting, hyperlinks, and merge fields. You can also add attachments. If you'd like to send a copy of this message to someone on the hiring team or another user in your account, click Details and search for the user by name.

You can also add a message to the invitations to your interviewers. Unlike the note in the event, this message will show up in the invitation email only.

Send Invites

Click Send to finalize the event and send interview invitations. SmartRecruiters will always notify all interviewers by email when you create a new event. If you’ve added a message to the candidate, SmartRecruiters will email them as well. 

Monitor Invites

Once you’ve sent invites, you can monitor the status of each invite from the Interview tab on the candidate’s application. InterviewsTab.png
Invites have three statuses:

  • Invite sent: SmartRecruiters sent the invite, but the recipient has not responded. 
  • Invite Accepted: Recipient accepted the invite.
  • Invite Declined: Recipient declined the invite. 

Interviews can either respond via the invite email, or in the event on their calendar. 

Update interview

If you've scheduled and event and sent the invites, you can make changes to the event from the Interview tab and send updates to interviewers by email.

Just click Edit, and make changes as necessary.InterviewsTab.png