Q: My MSP is growing rapidly. Currently, it’s just me and my partner, but with all the new SMBs we are managing, we’re looking to bring a new technician on board. How do I know I am hiring the right candidate?
Congratulations on growing your team! We know that the hiring process can be a little intimidating, but bringing on a new technician will be worth it, freeing up time for you to focus on the more strategic parts of your business.
To help give you the best advice on what to look for when hiring a new technician, we consulted our Partner Support Manager John Carroll, who is responsible for hiring talented technicians for us. We also spoke with a few of our MSP partners to get their advice. Use these tips to help you select the best person to add to your team:
What to look for in a technician
The size of your MSP will change what you are looking for in a new technician. Larger MSPs hire based on specializations, and smaller MSPs like yours are looking for someone who can wear multiple hats. You want to find someone who has a solid technical background, but most technical skills can be taught to the right candidate. However, there are some things that you can’t just teach someone, so it’s important to look for these qualities as well before making a hiring decision.
As an MSP, you don’t need to hire the most talkative person you interview, but you want to find someone who’s comfortable holding conversations with customers. John pointed out that if they can’t hold a conversation in an interview, they’ll probably have a tough time communicating with the customers. When they’re answering questions, you shouldn’t have to pull information out of them.
Most tech problems aren’t self-explanatory, and it can take a couple different approaches to figure them out and resolve them.
One of our partners, Ryan Rosenkaimer, vice president of Alura Business Solutions, told us that sometimes they put their technicians through a scenario lab. “Have them solve problems in front of you,” he explained. “Give them all the tools you would give to your current team and see how they use them. The one thing we’ve learned the most is when people get stuck, how they research a problem is the key between them spending 10 minutes down the wrong path and finding the answer immediately.” Ryan also pointed out that almost every IT problem is different, so finding a candidate who can think outside the box is important.
An ideal candidate does not need to know everything about IT, but they should have a solid background in it. According to John, the thing that sets a candidate apart isn’t just what they know, but how well they can explain it. Most SMBs don’t have an extensive technical background, which is why they hire an MSP to handle these services for them. When you hire a technician, they should be able to explain things to customers without going over their head. Look for someone who will take the time to explain issues in a way that someone with little or no technical knowledge will be able to understand.
A Good Attitude
When you’re developing a team, you want to look for someone who has a positive attitude. They’re going to be helping customers to find solutions to problems, so a good candidate is someone who genuinely wants to help others. Another thing to factor in is how well they'll mesh with your current team.
John pointed out that not all problems can be solved right away. Sometimes it takes extra time and effort to research an issue, and a tech will need to follow up and follow through to get to the bottom of a problem. Look for a technician who is willing to see the whole problem through without passing it off to other techs. When projects are passed on promises to customers can get lost, and it can be a frustrating experience for customers who might feel like they’re starting from scratch with someone new. With your MSP’s reputation on the line, you want to make sure you’re hiring a tech who will go the extra mile and reach out to a customer to make sure everything was solved.
Finding a technician who fits all these requirements may be a little difficult. However, it will be well worth it. Utilizing these tips will help you build a strong team and run an effective MSP, and having the right people in place will increase your customers’ trust in you as well.
Ask Intronis is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between. Submit your questions by emailing AskIntronis@intronis.com.