Recruit and hire the best technicians for IT managed service providers (MSP)

If you are a managed service provider (MSP) having difficulty hiring and keeping great technicians, we have the solution for you! It’s important to understand that a big part of recruitmen is having the most attractive offer for your potential hires in order to beat the competition.

Dear MSP owner, please realize that it’s a candidate’s market

It’s 2021 and there is a huge global talent shortage, not only in the IT industry, but in many others as well. People who work in the IT industry are incredibly intelligent. 

We would know. As an MSP staffing agency, we at Support Adventure have done the research to find that these people are very hard to find. We only hire less than 0.3% of applicants because the difference between the people who think they can do the job and the people who actually can is huge!

If you are lucky enough to find these 1 in a 1000 people that are going to be a great asset for your MSP, realize that it is not so much a game of “are they good enough for me?” Rather, it’s a question of “are we good enough for them?” 

Truth is, the best of the best candidates for managed service providers have a lot of options because the number of talented people in this world is very limited. When you get one of them in front of you, be nice. 

Keep the following in mind during the recruitment process:

  • Don’t approach great candidates with an interrogation style interview.
  • Allow them to ask questions to see if the job you are offering is good enough for them.
How to recruit the best candidates for IT technician for MSPs , what are the expectations

Managed service providers must meet a candidate’s expectations

We see a lot of techs get multiple job offers as we act as the middle man between MSPs and candidates. These technicians always go with the opportunity that has the most promising conditions. Wouldn’t you do the same? 

Make sure you’re aware of a candidate’s expectations by doing the following: 

  1. Ask them to talk about their values.
  2. Take interest in their previous job experience and why it might not have gone as well as they had hoped.
  3. Create an environment that will best suit them based on their values and fulfilling the needs that their previous position lacked.

How can a managed service provider create a better work environment? 

In talking with our MSP candidates, we became aware of patterns common in bad work environments that either make people quit, or pass on an offer altogether. You’ll want to learn to avoid these in order to make a great environment for your staff.

In the table below, we’ve presented the most common complaints, alongside their solutions.

Factors that contribute to undesirable environments and unattractive job offersPractical solutions that positively influence the environment and create a desirable offer  
A distracting environment and constant interruptions to ticket completion.Having a dispatcher to handle the intake of tickets.
Technicians feeling stuck in one role for years due to not being able to improve and advance.Letting the roles breathe and vary so that technicians acquire new skills and broaden their knowledge.
Having to work unreasonably hard. Allowing for down time and over staffing to reduce workload overwhelm. 
Bad management that focuses only on sales and marketing.Having great technical managers, people who can represent the technicians and the technology.
Lack of solid structure and policies for escalation, emergency, communication and  documentation.Having policies in place and coordinators who make sure that they are being followed.

MSPs must flesh out their internal work culture

Is the relationship your managed service provider has with your staff solely transactional, or does staff feel like a part of a team contributing to the way the company works?

Ask yourself this question and answer honestly. Think about what kind of place you want to build. An environment that is attractive to the best technicians is one in which they can develop their skills and advance in their career. If they see that they are not just a bolt in the machine, and instead see that they have support in realizing their ambitions, they will want to participate in that culture and contribute more. 

Tech candidates are excited about growing companies, so talk about how your company has advanced over time. Be sure to:

  • Emphasize what you’ve learned over the years. 
  • Mention some of the mistakes you’ve made in the past and how you’ve evolved from them. 
  • Talk about what helped you become more successful as an MSP so that the technician can picture themselves working with you towards a common goal.

It helps to share success stories within your MSP

Stability and an upward trajectory is what people want from a position in a managed service provider. In practice, this means that there are people working for years in your company who are happy there. 

You should have examples of people in your company that exemplify exactly that. Candidates want to hear something along the lines of “Johnny joined us five years ago as a level one technician and now he is our project lead.” 

The best candidates will want to hear that you have a great team that is loyal to you and has been with you for a while. If you can convey that with anecdotes and examples, it will make your MSP stand out for sure.

But if candidates get an impression that your company works as a meat-grinder, where people get spit out the other side in six months if they don’t crush 15 tickets a day, they will steer clear of your offer.

how to treat staff better? Managed Service provider procedures

What is the promise your MSP makes to team members?

The biggest deal-breaker for the best IT technicians is not being heard and acknowledged in their work space. Be sure to work with management to create an environment where there is flexibility, openness and willingness to work with your staff on the difficulties they are facing. 

Instead of shying away from the things that your staff might not like about the job, be open to solutions that will make them happier.  

 Some solution-oriented promises MSPs should make to staff are:

  • that there will be no overtime work. 
  • that the overtime work will be nicely financially rewarded.  
  • that they will pay for certifications and advancement.
  • that there are clear expectations for roles and the goal post will not be moving constantly.
  • that they can work remotely and live in the best destinations.
  • that the success of staff will be measured with metrics and by fulfilling tasks that are pre-defined, eg. keeping ticket notes properly, completing documentation, following the system procedures, etc.

By making and keeping the right promise to your staff, you will gain their trust and loyalty. One of the most important promises you should make to them is the promise of constantly improving the environment they are in, customer service and the overall evolution of the MSP.

But that’s easier said than done. What exactly is the practical way to achieve that?

Structure

The structure you build and enforce as a managed service provider serves as a basis of your staff’s growth. It is a channel they use to engage with their work the proper way. 

You can build structures and have written procedures for:

  1. Escalation
  2. Onboarding
  3. Communication
  4. Gaining new knowledge
  5. Mentoring

Many more things can be a part of your MSP’s structure, but the most important thing is that you build it in a way that allows your staff to integrate themselves in it.

Talk about your favorite MSP clients

A lot of the best MSPs have stories about how well they’ve been working with some clients, as well as how they’ve gotten rid of other clients that were unworthy of their service. 

Getting rid of tricky customers helps evolve a client base. Focusing on the great clients that take the MSP’s advice to implement technologies they recommend is best for you and your staff.

Technicians shouldn’t be in a place where there is a lot of conflict, arguments

and complaints. If your clients don’t evolve over time for the better, they will scare away the best technicians who  apply to work with you. Not only that, they will undermine any success your company has.

It’s a big red flag for a technician applying to work with you if you speak a lot about how awful your clients are. Instead, build good communication with your clients based on mutual respect of expertise. 

Talk about the best clients to attract and hire better staff at MSP

Build rapport and make them feel the vibe

One thing that helps convince the best candidates to join your organization is how they feel about the workplace in your managed service.

Build rapport and dedicate time in your interview to get to know the candidate better on a personal level. Even though it can seem like a small talk kind of situation, this is what will make your company stand out from the rest. 

Learn about the following from the candidate:

  • Their lifestyle
  • Style of communication
  • What their interests are
  • How agreeable their personality is to yours
  • What are their needs
  • Common values you have

The most successful, long term engagements between MSPs and technicians are the ones where there is mutual liking, understanding and willingness for open communication. This is what will get you the best candidates.

Where exactly to find the best technicians?

Need help organizing your company with amazing remote staff? Click here to learn more about our staffing services for MSPs and get matched with a great technician for your help desk. We’ve helped over 50 MSPs do exactly that!