Finding the perfect new hire can be a time-consuming process. You’ll need to collect CVs, process job application forms, and ensure you respond to the best candidates quickly – before they get snapped up by your competitors!
In this article, we’ll show you how to automate the hiring and recruitment process with Microsoft 365. We’ll be using Power Automate, SharePoint, Planner, and Microsoft Forms to build an automated platform that’ll automatically convert each job application into a candidate profile. We’ll then use automated notifications and tasks to help you respond to each potential candidate in a timely manner.
By the end of this tutorial, finding your next great hire will be as simple as reviewing a series of automatically-generated user profiles in a SharePoint site.
What we’ll be building
In this tutorial, we’ll create a job application form using Microsoft Forms.
Candidates can use this form to submit their information, and even upload a copy of their CV. We’ll then create a SharePoint site where all of this information will be uploaded automatically.
Next, we’ll connect the job application form to our SharePoint site using Power Automate. This will involve building a workflow that extracts all the data from the submitted form and uses it to create a candidate profile within our SharePoint site.
To fully-automate this recruitment platform, we’ll explore some additional steps that you can add to your Power Automate workflow. This includes creating an email notification for every new submission, and adding a task to your Microsoft Planner. The latter can help ensure you respond to each job application, no matter how busy you get.
How to create a job application form
To start, let’s create the job application form. You can customize this form to collect everything you need to know about a potential new hire. However, to keep this section short we’ll be limiting ourselves to collecting some basic information about the candidate, and then giving them the option to upload their CV.
To build the job application form:
● Log into Microsoft Forms.
● Select “New Form.” This launches Microsoft’s form editor.
● Select “Add New.”
● Make sure the “Questions” tab is selected.
● You’ll typically want to start by collecting the candidate’s contact information, such as their name, email address, and telephone number. To create each of these user-input fields, click “Text.” You can then enter the label that you want to display above each field, for example Please enter your email address. Unless you have a specific reason not to, you’ll typically want to enable the “Required” slider for all the fields in your form.
● You may also want to verify that this candidate is permitted to work in your geographical location. To mix things up, I’ll request this information as a multiple choice question. Select “Add New > Choice,” and type your question. You can then enter “Yes” and “No” as the possible options.
● Now comes the main event! We’re going to create a section where the candidate can describe all their relevant skills and experience. You can add this section as a “Text” field. However, the candidate may have lots to say, so be sure to enable the “Long answer” slider. This will give the candidate more words to work with.
● When searching for a new hire, you’ll typically want to see a copy of each candidate’s CV. You can ask the candidate to upload their CV as part of their Microsoft Forms submission. These files will then be uploaded to a new SharePoint folder, ready for you to review. To request this file, select “Add New” and then click the little downwards-pointing arrow. You can then select “File upload.”
● In the “File upload” panel, enter some text requesting a copy of the candidate’s CV. You can then specify how many files the candidate can upload, and their maximum file size.
When looking for a new hire, you may want to request additional information or documents. You can expand on this form, to ensure you have all the information you need to decide whether to progress to the interview stage.
You can also test how your job application form will appear to the candidate, by selecting “Preview.” Once you’re happy with the results, it’s time to take your form public.
Publishing your job application form
You can add a Microsoft Form to your website using a QR code, link, or embed code. This step will vary depending on where you’re planning to display your form, and your chosen embed method. However, as an example let’s look at how you’d embed this form in a WordPress website:
● In your Microsoft Forms application, select “Share.”
● In the panel that appears, select “Embed.”
● Copy the embed code.
● Log into your WordPress dashboard.
● Navigate to the page where you want to embed your job application form, and open that page for editing.
● Find the area where you want to display your form, and then insert a “Custom HTML” block using WordPress’ Gutenberg editor.
● Paste your embed code into the HTML block.
● Publish or update this page, as normal.
Your job application form will now appear on your WordPress website.
Create a SharePoint site
At this point, we have a form that potential candidates can use to submit their information. The next step is creating a SharePoint site and list, where all of this data will be stored.
● Log into your Microsoft SharePoint account.
● Select “Create site > Team site.”
● Give your site a descriptive name; I’m using “Candidates.”
● Select “Next > Finish.”
● Inside your site, click “New > List.”
● Select “Blank list.”
● Give your list a descriptive name, and enter an optional description.
When you’re happy with the information you’ve entered, click “Create.”
Automatically create a profile for each new candidate
Now we’re ready to create our Power Automate workflow. In this first step, I’ll create a simple workflow that extracts the data from each new job application, and creates a user profile within your SharePoint site.
● Log into your Microsoft 365 account.
● Select the “Power Automate” app.
● In the left-hand menu, select “Templates.”
● Search for the following template: “Automatically create a profile for a new candidate.” Select this template when it appears.
● Read the description, and if you’re happy to proceed then click “Continue.” Power Automate will now open this template for editing.
● Let’s start from the top, with the “When a new response is submitted” section. Open the “Form ID” dropdown, and select the form we created in the previous section.
● Next, move onto the “Apply to each” section. Open the “Form ID” dropdown, and select the form we created in the previous step.
● Move onto the “Create item” section. Click to place your cursor in the “Site Address” field, and choose the SharePoint site we just created.
● Click to place your cursor in the “List item” field, and select the list we created in the previous step.
● In “Title,” you can assign a name to the candidate‘s profile. To ensure each profile is unique, I’m going to use dynamic content. Click to place your cursor inside the “Title” field, and the “Dynamic Content” menu should open automatically.
● You can now choose the value to use for the candidate’s profile; I’ll be using the candidate’s name.
This is all you need to extract the data from each job application, and upload it to SharePoint. However, I’m going to automate more of the hiring process, by adding a few extra steps. The following steps are all optional, although they can make for a quicker, more efficient hiring process.
Receive email notifications
At this point, Power Automate extracts the job application data and adds it to your SharePoint site automatically. However, you’ll still need to manually check this site, in order to see whether any new applications have been submitted.
By adding email notifications to your workflow, you’ll be notified about each new application, and can start processing that application immediately.
To create an email notification:
● In the workflow’s “Apply to each” section, click “Add an action.”
● In the “Search” field, type “email.” When it appears, select “Send an email notification (V3).”
● In “To,” enter the email address that you want to use.
● To make the emails more informative, I’m going to use some dynamic content in my “Subject” line. Click to place your cursor inside the subject line and then select the dynamic content that you want to use. For example, you might select the candidate’s name, or the role they’ve applied for. You can also add some static text to the email subject, in order to make it more descriptive.
● Finally, create the body for your email. Again, you may want to use a combination of static and dynamic content.
Update your Microsoft Planner
Email notifications are useful, but it’s still easy for job applications to slip to the bottom of your “To Do” list – or even slip your mind entirely. If you’re juggling a busy schedule, it may help to create a reminder that you need to reply to each new job application.
Every time you receive an application, Power Automate can add a task to your Microsoft Planner, reminding you that you need to respond to this candidate.
Before adding this action to your Power Automate workflow, you may want to log into Microsoft Planner and create a new plan. For example, I’m creating a “Candidates” plan.
In your Power Automate flow, you’ll need to find the “Apply to each” section. In this section:
● Click “Add an action.”
● Search for the following item, and select it when it appears: “Create a task.”
● Open the “Group ID” dropdown and choose the plan that you created in the previous step.
● You’ll now need to enter the plan ID. You can find this information by logging into Microsoft Planner and opening the plan where Power Automate should create your tasks. Take a look at the URL; the plan ID is the section at the end of your URL. Copy this value.
● Switch back to Power Automate, and paste the plan ID into the “Plan ID” field.
● You can now create a title for each task that this workflow creates. Again, you may want to experiment with some dynamic content.
Now, every time someone submits a job application, this workflow will add a new task to your planner. This ensures you’ll have no problems remembering to follow-up on job applications.