Top M365 Admin Interview Questions with Example Answers [2022]

Prepare for your M365 Admin interview by going through these most asked M365 Admin interview questions. Additionally, get access to sample answers and interviewer's expectations.

Interview Practice

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  • Question: Describe how you would use PowerShell to manage M365 services effectively.
  • Question Overview: This inquiry delves into your technical proficiency with PowerShell for administering M365 services, highlighting your ability to automate tasks and manage complex configurations that may not be directly accessible through the admin center.

    Sample Answer: PowerShell is an invaluable tool for managing M365 services, enabling tasks such as bulk user provisioning or complex configuration changes not available in the web admin center. For instance, I’ve used PowerShell in one of my projects to automate the creation of user accounts, assign licenses, and configure mailboxes for a batch of members, significantly reducing manual effort and potential errors. Additionally, I leveraged PowerShell to generate detailed reports on SharePoint Online permissions, offering insights for a security audit. Through PowerShell, I can execute complex commands and scripts that streamline administrative tasks, ensuring more efficient and accurate management of M365 environments.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Emphasize the advantage of using PowerShell for its powerful scripting capabilities that allow for bulk operations
    • - automation
    • - and detailed management tasks across M365 services. Provide examples of tasks suited for PowerShell
    • - such as bulk user management
    • - complex mail flow rules
    • - or automating deployment of settings across SharePoint Online sites. Illustrate with a brief example or scenario where you’ve used PowerShell to resolve an issue or improve a process
    • - showing how it enhances efficiency and effectiveness in M365 administration.

  • Question: What steps are involved in creating a retention policy in M365?
  • Question Overview: This question tests your knowledge of data governance within the M365 environment. Recruiters are interested in your understanding of compliance features, specifically how to implement retention policies to meet data management and regulatory requirements.

    Sample Answer: Creating a retention policy in M365 begins in the compliance center, where you can manage data governance settings. Here, I’d create a new policy, specifying its scope—whether it's for emails, documents, or both—and the conditions for retaining or deleting the content. For example, retaining emails for 7 years before review. It’s crucial to pilot the policy with a small user group to ensure it functions as expected without hindering business operations. Post-deployment, regular reviews ensure the policy continues to meet organizational and regulatory needs. Implementing such policies effectively supports compliance while safeguarding against data loss.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Mention accessing the M365 compliance center as the initial step. Guide through creating a new retention policy
    • - including defining the policy name
    • - description
    • - settings (like what content to retain or delete)
    • - and applying it to specific locations or users. Discuss the importance of testing the policy with a limited scope before full deployment and emphasize regular review and adjustment of the policy as organizational needs and compliance requirements evolve.

  • Question: How would you address a situation where a user is unable to access their OneDrive for Business account?
  • Question Overview: Interviewers aim to assess your problem-solving skills and your proficiency with M365 tools, specifically OneDrive for Business. The focus is on your ability to troubleshoot access issues, which are common yet critical problems that can affect productivity.

    Sample Answer: In addressing a user's inability to access their OneDrive for Business account, I first confirm if the issue is isolated to this user or affecting others, which helps narrow down potential causes. Next, I check the user's license status in the M365 admin center to ensure they have an active OneDrive license and their account is not disabled. If these are in order, I’d look into potential service outages reported by Microsoft. It's crucial to keep the user informed of the troubleshooting process, setting expectations for a resolution. If the problem persists, I’d document all steps taken and escalate to Microsoft support for further investigation. This systematic approach ensures issues are resolved efficiently, minimizing disruption to the user’s work.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Start by diagnosing the issue
    • - such as checking if the problem is user-specific
    • - system-wide
    • - or related to license assignments. Explain the troubleshooting steps
    • - such as verifying the user's license status
    • - checking for any service outages
    • - and ensuring the user's account is not locked or disabled. Highlight the importance of communication with the affected user throughout the process
    • - and if necessary
    • - escalate the issue to Microsoft support
    • - showcasing your customer service and technical communication skills.

  • Question: Can you explain the importance of Groups in M365 and how they differ from distribution lists?
  • Question Overview: This question aims to evaluate your understanding of group management within M365 and its significance for collaboration and communication. Distinguishing between Groups and distribution lists reveals your knowledge of M365’s evolving collaboration tools and their application in various scenarios.

    Sample Answer: Groups in M365 are more than just email destinations; they are collaborative spaces that integrate with various M365 applications like SharePoint, OneNote, and Planner, offering shared resources for its members. In contrast, distribution lists are primarily used for email communication to a group of people without the additional collaboration features. Understanding this distinction is crucial when setting up efficient collaboration structures within an organization. For example, for a project team requiring a collaborative workspace with shared files and calendars, I would recommend a Group. However, for simple, broad communication needs, such as announcements or updates, a distribution list might suffice.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Start by defining what Groups in M365 are and their significance for collaborative efforts within organizations. Contrast Groups with distribution lists by highlighting the additional collaboration features of Groups
    • - such as shared calendars
    • - files
    • - and Planner integration. Provide insights into choosing between Groups and distribution lists
    • - focusing on use cases that demonstrate strategic decision-making and application knowledge.

  • Question: What are SharePoint Online site collections, and how would you create one?
  • Question Overview: Interviewers are looking for your understanding of SharePoint Online’s structure and your ability to implement its functionalities to support team collaboration and content management. Knowledge about site collections indicates your ability to organize and manage digital workspaces effectively.

    Sample Answer: SharePoint Online site collections serve as hierarchical groups of websites under a single top-level site, essential for organizing a company’s content, resources, and collaboration areas. To create one, I navigate to the SharePoint admin center, click on “Create” in the “Sites” section, and choose “Create a site collection.” After selecting an appropriate template and specifying the primary language, time zone, and admin settings, I define the site's purpose and structure—be it for a department, project, or function. This approach not only ensures that collaborations are structured and accessible but also respects company-wide information architecture strategies. For instance, in my last project, organizing site collections by project allowed for smoother collaboration and resource sharing across teams.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Define SharePoint Online site collections and their role in structuring content and collaboration spaces within an organization. Guide through the process of creating a site collection from the SharePoint admin center
    • - including selecting a template and configuring basic settings. Emphasize the strategic thinking behind organizing site collections—for example
    • - per department or project—which showcases your planning and implementation skills.

  • Question: How would you restore a deleted user account in M365?
  • Question Overview: This question assesses your ability to manage and troubleshoot common issues within the Microsoft 365 environment, specifically your expertise in recovering critical user data and access. The capacity to restore deleted user accounts is essential for minimizing disruptions and ensuring continuous access to resources and collaboration tools.

    Sample Answer: To restore a deleted user account in M365, I first access the Microsoft 365 admin center and proceed to the “Deleted users” page under the “Users” category. Here, all recently deleted accounts are listed, and I can simply select the user in question and choose the “Restore” option. It’s important to note that this action is only possible within 30 days of deletion, after which the account – and associated data – cannot be easily recovered.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Describe navigating to the Microsoft 365 admin center and accessing the "Deleted users" section. Explain the selection of the deleted user account and the process for restoring it. Highlight the importance of understanding the 30-day recovery period after deletion and any implications for immediate access or data recovery
    • - showcasing your comprehensive knowledge of M365 policies and practices.

  • Question: Describe the process for configuring email forwarding in Exchange Online.
  • Question Overview: This question seeks to evaluate your competency with specific Exchange Online administrative tasks. Recruiters are interested in your ability to execute these tasks, which are vital for maintaining smooth email communication within an organization.

    Sample Answer: Setting up email forwarding in Exchange Online begins with accessing the Exchange admin center and selecting the “recipients” panel to find the mailbox in question. Under “mailbox features,” I enable forwarding and specify the recipient’s address, taking care to adhere to our company’s data handling and security protocols. For example, during my internship experience, before implementing forwarding rules, I consulted our IT security policies to ensure no sensitive information would be inadvertently compromised, demonstrating my commitment to maintaining organizational security standards.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Guide through the initial steps of accessing the Exchange admin center. Elaborate on locating the specific user mailbox and setting up the email forwarding feature. Accentuate the importance of considering organizational policies and security when configuring email forwarding
    • - showcasing your attention to compliance and security.

  • Question: What is the purpose of Azure AD in the context of M365, and how does it differ from traditional Active Directory?
  • Question Overview: The question aims to discern your understanding of modern cloud-based identity and access management systems as opposed to traditional directory services. Knowledge of Azure AD's integration into Microsoft 365 indicates your capacity to navigate contemporary IT environments effectively.

    Sample Answer: Azure AD, within M365, serves as a cloud-based directory and identity management service, offering a leap in access management over traditional Active Directory due to its cloud-native design. Unlike the on-premises Active Directory, Azure AD allows for global accessibility and integration with cloud services. Its main advantage, especially when linked with M365, is the streamlined user experience across cloud services and enhanced security measures like multi-factor authentication and conditional access.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Introduce Azure AD as a cloud-based service that handles identity and access management. Highlight key differences from traditional Active Directory
    • - such as its cloud-native features
    • - scalability
    • - and accessibility. Discuss the benefits of Azure AD within the M365 framework
    • - including seamless integration and enhanced security features
    • - showing your strategic thinking in leveraging these benefits.

  • Question: Can you explain how to set up a new user in M365 and assign them a license?
  • Question Overview: Interviewers aim to probe your practical skills in managing Microsoft 365 environments, particularly your ability to onboard new users efficiently. Given M365's centrality in business operations, managing users and licenses is fundamental for ensuring that all employees have the necessary tools and access from day one.

    Sample Answer: In Microsoft 365, setting up a new user involves logging into the admin center, where I choose to “Add a user.” Here, I fill out personal information and assign a username and domain. The critical part comes when assigning licenses – I select the appropriate license that matches the user’s role within the company. For instance, a marketing professional might not need the same type of license as a developer. This step is crucial for ensuring the efficient use of resources.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Mention navigating to the Microsoft 365 admin center as the starting point. Describe the step-by-step process of adding a new user
    • - including user details and selecting a username. Emphasize the importance of correctly assigning a license based on the new user’s role and necessary applications
    • - ensuring the company optimizes its resources without compromising on employee productivity.

  • Question: What are the key differences between Office 365 and Microsoft 365?
  • Question Overview: The interviewer is looking to assess your understanding of Microsoft's suite of products, specifically the differentiation between Office 365 and Microsoft 365, which is crucial for helping users or making recommendations within an organization.

    Sample Answer: Office 365 provides a suite of cloud-based productivity tools, including applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. In contrast, Microsoft 365 extends this offering by including all the features of Office 365 but adds more comprehensive tools related to security, compliance, and device management. A pivotal difference is Microsoft 365's focus on integrated security features and device management through Windows 10 Enterprise and Enterprise Mobility + Security, offering a more robust solution for businesses concerned with security and compliance. For instance, an organization that handles sensitive data and prioritizes security might find the additional features in Microsoft 365 more aligned with their needs compared to the basic productivity tools in Office 365.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Define both Office 365 and Microsoft 365
    • - highlighting the core components of each. Explain the key differences
    • - focusing on the inclusion of security and device management tools in Microsoft 365. Frame your understanding in a way that shows your ability to leverage these differences when making recommendations
    • - even without direct past experience