When we undertake staff consultation, it’s sometimes difficult to align calendars between interviewers and particpants. To make this process easier, we use Microsoft Bookings (hidden in the bundle of goodies you get with most Office 365 licences). I like Bookings because:
- Participants can choose a time that suits them
- Participants can also easily reschedule or cancel bookings over the web
- We, as interviewers, can set days/times when we are generally available for interviews (like within a particular week, for example)
- Our availability is synchronised with Outlook. So if we schedule a meeting for something else, it will remove booking slots over that time.
Bookings is based on time slots. So firstly, decide the length of the time slot for an interview and the amount of buffer time you may need to prepare for and to wrap up the interview. Also decide upon the timeframe you want to open bookings for and the staff you want to conduct these interviews. You’ll need this information to setup a booking calendar.
To create a booking calendar go to office.com and click on the App Launcher (top left), All apps and then Bookings
Before setting up the calendar, you need to define staff that will undertake the interviews:
- Select Staff from the left hand blade, and then Add new staff
- Provide a phone number (in case the booker needs to get in touch)
- Assign the appropriate permission – Admin, Viewer or Guest
- Check Events on Office calendar affect availability – this person can then block out time in their calendar to make themselves unavailable
- If they work a few hours a day and/or on particular days, you can turn off Use business hours and modify the days / times that the person is available.
- Hit Save once done.
Then to create the calendar for one-on-one interviews:
- Online meeting is turned on (ie done over MS Teams)
- Duration set to 30 mins
- Buffer time is set to 30 mins
- No price set – of course
- Max no of attendees set to 1 (this can be increased to accommodate group sessions)
- Enable let customers manage their appointment when booked
- For availability options, set time increments to 1 hr, and min / max lead time to 1 hr / 365 days (or change as you require). We also set general availability to Not bookable.
- For assign staff, add the staff member of members that will be performing the interviews.
- For custom fields, just enable customer email. You’ll then have some way of contacting them if you need to contact them (to reschedule, for example).
- For reminders, check Notify the business via email on changes and send meeting invite in addition to confirmation email. Also add a reminder a day before that the appointment is coming up soon.
- Also, enable Show this service on the booking page.
Then, go ahead and test your new booking page by placing a booking. Double check the following things in an incognito browser window:
- That the details provided on the page are correct
- That booking times are within the date ranges you specified. Also check that any time blocked out in your diary is not able to be booked.
Your new booking page is then ready to be released into the world!