MSP Worst Practices - Interrogation Style Job Interview

If you are having a hard time filling that open position in your MSP, maybe it’s not them. It’s you. 

You could be sabotaging the growth of your team with an interrogation style of interviewing your candidates.

Here at Support Adventure, we match MSPs with the best talent worldwide. 

The feedback we always receive from candidates who interview with multiple companies is that they preferred the company that seemed less authoritative and uptight.

Here are the reasons why you must stop interviewing this way.

Your DREAM employee for your MSP will NEVER work with an authoritative boss

The best of the best in IT talent for MSPs are typically:

  • Highly experienced
  • Have great communication skills
  • Independent thinkers
  • Instinctive problem solvers
  • Perhaps at one point worked for themselves

That sounds like a pretty impressive and self-reliant person that you would love to have on your team, right? 

So why on Earth would you interrogate them like a child who stole the cookies and hid them from you?

Interrogation style interviewing only pushes people away–ironically the people you want the most.

To help this sink in, let’s tell the story of Jonathan


Here’s a great example of how NOT to interview your ideal candidate for your MSP.

 One of our previous recruits Jonathan is a high level engineer who ran his own IT business in South Africa. Because of the economic issues in the country, he decided to look for remote MSP jobs

Due to his experience, many of the companies we provide staff for were interested in Jonathan. 

Two companies in particular pursued hiring him.

One had an interrogation style interview with him, while the other had a more conversational style interview with him. 

Guess which company got him? 

You know where this is going. Of course it was the conversational style interviewer. 

Workers today want a company that respects them and their lifestyle. Being an interrogative interviewer is a giveaway that you could be a frustrating employer. 

Support techs you interview for your MSP can tell from your interview style if you will be a nightmare to work with.

Here were Jonathan’s feelings about the companies based on the contrasting interview styles:

Interrogation Style InterviewerNon-Interrogation Style Interviewer
Interviewer was more domineering which made him feel uncomfortable. Interviewer was more interactive which made him feel more welcome. 
Interviewer was cold and uptight which made Jonathan feel unwelcome.Interviewer made some jokes which helped Johnathan to bond with him.
Interviewer was all business which made Jonathan feel like he had to be a “yes-man” to get the job. Interviewer and Johnathan disagreed about something, which created a healthy discussion where they found resolution.

It’s crucial that you don’t alienate your favorite candidates by presenting yourself as being superior, cold or having a dismissive attitude. 

MSP job interviews act as a preview of the working environment

For experienced talent like Jonathan, they get the pick of the litter as every MSP wants them. 

Support techs will choose an environment focused on their well-being and stability. They get a feel for this during the interview by:

  1. Paying attention to whether or not you are stern and too serious.
  2. Observing if you make jokes or if you only care to talk about the job.
  3. Listening to whether or not you take an interest in learning about them.
  4. Reading your verbal and non-verbal cues that express a domineering and authoritarian attitude. 

The candidate truly has the power, despite you being the one hiring. 

If you only come across as needing someone to have power over, you are going to push away a lot of great talent. 

Candidates will be attracted to an interviewer that builds rapport

Instead of interrogating your candidate, you should be making them feel welcome in your company. 

You do this by building rapport. You must do this because prospective employees want to:

  1. Get a sense as to whether or not they would enjoy being a  part of your team long-term.
  2. Feel like their ideas will be validated and included. 
  3. Get a feel for if their career will grow working for you. 
  4. Feel that there is room to make them a key team player. 

You can build rapport by:

  • Being the 3 “C”s: casual, curious and conversational. 
  • Not interviewing in a patronizing style. 
  • Listening and learning how your prospects can add some missing pieces to your team.
  • Mixing up typical work subject questions with more personality and lifestyle oriented questions. 
  • Mixing up typical questions with more atypical, original or quirky questions. 

Talent will feel more inclined to choose you when you foster connection and mutual understanding.  

Put yourself in the shoes of the interviewee

When you are preparing to interview someone for your MSP, it might help to see things from their perspective. 

This should be easy. Just think of your least favorite clients. You most-likely HATED doing business with them for the following reasons:

  1. They were rude. 
  2. They were impatient.
  3. They acted like you needed them more than they needed you.
  4. They were disorganized, unreliable and contributed to your time and schedule going haywire.
  5. They treated you like you were beneath them.
  6. They wanted you to be available at their beckon call and with every whim.
  7. They talked to you like you were always to blame for everything. 
  8. They were passive aggressive. 

Alt text: Authoritarian MSP owners should put themselves in the shoes of their employees.

When you encounter clients like that, it probably frustrates you beyond belief. 

As you scale your business and learn from your mistakes, you discover that you:

  • Prefer to do business with people who you actually enjoy spending time with.
  • Appreciate working with companies where there is a healthy flow, not frantic flow, of communication. 
  • Seek out clients who are organized, enthusiastic and on top of things. 
  • Avoid potential clients who take no accountability, never compromise and refuse to be more responsible on their end. 

It is all the same for the candidates. When they encounter potential employees who treat them like that, they run in the other direction. 

As long as you show respect to the talent who might join your MSP, you will be able to avoid the cardinal sin that is the interrogation style job interview. 

We’ve been in your situation and thus understand the challenges. If you are looking for the best remote MSP staff, check out our remote MSP staff page and start hiring today!

Need more interview advice? Ask away in the comments below. We are happy to help!


Why working at an MSP is AWESOME! - Support Adventure · March 24, 2023 at 7:45 am

[…] Interrogation-style interviews are a sign of a bad work environment.  […]

Would You Hire a Former Business Owner for Your MSP? Tier 3 IT Technician Closes His Business to Join Support Adventure  - Support Adventure · May 5, 2023 at 6:01 am

[…] Feeling uncomfortable or interrogated, made Jonathan feel like he didn’t even want to be there for the interview! Imagine having to cope with that type of interaction for months. Not a good image for any MSP. If you’d like to take a look at how to conduct successful interviews, we’ve made this guide on why interrogation-style interviews are bad business for MSPs! […]

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