In the MSP recruitment phase? These 4 strategies for finding the most talented engineers work like no other!

As an MSP staffing and recruiting company, Support Adventure receives 50-70 new candidates daily and has provided over 40 MSPs with the best of the bunch.

4 secrets from our MSP recruitment process that provided staff for 40 companies!

And today, we are sharing our favorite methods with you! 

4 MSP recruitment strategies we swear by

The MSP recruitment process can feel competitive and exhausting, as the best talent out there might go with another company over yours.

You can attract the highest quality engineers by doing the following four things:

  1. Creating irresistible job ads. 
  2. Candidate filtering via problem-solving testing. 
  3. Maintain their interest during the application process.
  4. Stop scaring away the best techs with bad interview techniques.

Let’s explore how you can be successful at all of the above.

MSP recruitment starts with a must-apply job ad

Before you even think about interviewing people, your MSP’s recruitment team must make sure you have an ad that excites potential MSP staff about working with you. In your job postings, you need to convey to potential applicants: 

  1. Your unique company values and culture.
  2. Why your company is THE BEST place to work. 
  3. What the atmosphere is like for your staff. 
  4. What commitments and promises you make to your staff. 
  5. A strong company structure, especially if you are a larger MSP. 
The MSP recruitment team's job ad must be an irresistible, must-click ad!

Potential employees want to feel like you will fulfill beneficial promises for their career, all while providing an exciting working environment. Examples might include: 

  • Employee events and team building
  • Open communication.
  • Obtaining new certification.
  • Room for growth and moving up a level in support.
  • Open-door policy. 
  • Understanding vacation policy. 
  • Offering individual meetings to listen to an employee’s needs. 
  • Lifestyle benefits such as a work-from-home policy.

If you can offer working from home or remote working perks, that is a huge advantage your MSP recruitment team needs to emphasize. Working from home has gained a lot of traction in 2020, for obvious reasons. 

This is important for the MSP space because most gifted help desk technicians are introverts who may prefer working from home. Now more than ever, companies will allow them to do that. If you have a work-from-home policy, be sure to include information about it in job postings and interviews.

Make sure that the perks of working for your MSP are clear to applicants in your ads,  and during the interview. 

MSP recruitment can utilize 2 candidate filtering methods that test for problem-solving

When it comes to the application questions portion of the MSP recruitment process, we recommend that you don’t limit them to technical questions. 

Please! 

Do not base your hiring choices on education or certifications. 

We have found that testing what someone can do is more beneficial to an MSP’s recruitment and hiring process than testing someone’s wealth of knowledge. How impressive someone appears on their CV/resume cannot guarantee that they will be an impactful contributor in the complex environment of an MSP. 

Instead of conducting a knowledge-based hiring process, give applicants a chance to show how they process information. 

At Support Adventure, we achieve this with the following:

  1. A written test that reveals an applicant’s client-facing communication style. The test gives them some sample ticket notes, typically three, which take about 20 to 40 minutes to complete. They must complete internal notes and client-facing notes.
  2. An automated video interview system, Ziggeo, where applicants are taken to a website to record an introduction video and answer some knowledge-based questions.
The msp recruitment process needs to take advantage of video interviews to weed out those with bad communication skills!

The advantage of the written test is that it helps filter out the people who have good communication skills. Also, you immediately get the right people interested in what you’re offering if they are investing 20 minutes of their time into applying. 

They have the work ethic that would actually make them want to impress you instead of sending the same resume to a 100 companies at once. 

The video interview also highlights the applicants with strong communication skills, as well as those who present themselves well. You can see if they are the type of person you want to interview and go further in the MSP recruitment process with. 

We know who we want to interview based on how well they do with these two strategies. We get a jist of who they are because you can often know within 10 seconds of speaking to someone in you like them. 

These methods help us to avoid that awkward job interview where you feel obligated to talk to people longer than you would like to. 

These methods are also helpful in preventing you from booking many scheduled calls with potential interviewees, only for you to waste your time with disappointments. You can choose you want to schedule time with based on:

  1. Work history they’ve submitted
  2. Answers to their questions
  3. How they communicate

All of the intel you gather essentially allows you to screen the people you choose to speak with ahead of time. 

MSP recruiters should also use interview questions that reveal problem solving abilities

It’s important to get a feel for a candidate’s problem solving and innovation skills during the MSP recruitment process. 

Of course, you should still learn about their technical skills. But a limited technical skill set should not be a deal breaker.  

More importantly, you must get a sense of how they resolve issues that they never dealt with before. You should ask them: 

  • How do you handle deadlines?
  • How do you approach doing something you’ve never done?
  • How do you handle a problem that is waiting on a vendor?
  • How do you communicate with a team member when you have a differing opinion?
  • How would you respond to being asked to do something by management that you feel is not the right course of action?

These kinds of questions help to define someone’s character as it relates to their role in your company. These are the details that help you find the person that can actually grow with you. Anyone can learn the technical stuff. 

So let them show you their fast acting problem-solving skills, even if that means breaking out their Iphone to use Google search. 

You can’t teach a positive attitude towards collaborating with a team and doing the work itself. If you hire someone who doesn’t do well in this area, this can lead to a hard to fix headache down the road. 

MSPs need people who can figure things out on the fly and improvise when problem solving. 

A tech who doesn’t need so much micromanagement when learning your ticketing system and documentation can be off to the races sooner. Do not underestimate the can-do attitude in your interview questioning. 

MSP recruitment will be successful if you build rapport and connection with the best applicants

Once you start interacting with applicants, you and your MSP recruitment team need to create a strong interpersonal bond with the people you really like.

Great candidates are hot commodities who are also interviewing you to see if your company seems like an exciting place to work. 

During the msp recruitment phase, candidates want to feel like your office will be fun and enriching.

They’re scanning your communication style for tells of what it would be like to work for you. This is why the first couple of minutes of the interview should be used to convey your personality and the environment of your company. It should be a casual getting-to-know-you style of talking. 

Candidates use the interview to get a feel for whether or not your company would be the best environment for them to grow and flourish. They often choose an MSP that seems focused on their well-being and stability. They get a feel for this during the interview by doing the following:

  1. Paying attention to whether or not you are stern and too serious.
  2. Observing if you make jokes and build rapport 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. 

Don’t underestimate the power they have to choose between different companies taking an interest in them.

The old model of hiring someone to do exactly as you say is no longer welcome in the remote working age we live in now. 

And that certainly doesn’t help in the more complicated MSP space. Nobody just wants a paycheck anymore. They want a sense of fulfillment and belonging. 

MSPs require creative and talented people, and the applicants you find may have other options and offers. So as much as they are pitching to you why they would be a good fit for your company, you should be doing the same to them. They need to know why your company is a great fit for their career goals and lifestyle.

MSP recruitment should not rely on interrogating applicants during the interview

Avoid interrogation style job interviews where you fire off technical questions to test a prospect’s knowledge, as if you’re the person with all the power. 

This will alienate candidates very quickly from continuing with your MSP’s recruitment process. 

As previously stated, applicants use the interview for hints of what it would be like to work for your company. 

Instead of interrogating your candidate, you should be making them feel welcome in your company. You do this by building rapport. This is crucial because prospective employees want to:

  • Get a sense as to whether or not they would enjoy being a part of your team long-term.
  • Feel like their ideas will be validated and included. 
  • Get a feel for if their career will flourish while working for you. 
  • 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. 
  • Asking what their goals are and learning about their memorable experiences.
  • 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. 

You must set the tone in the first encounter that there is open communication in your company. Candidates need to know that a bridge between knowledge and communication is being fostered. 

They will be excited to work for you if they feel like there are shared values, as opposed to feeling like your employees are hired to obey and follow orders. 

Below, you can see a table contrasting the feelings that our engineer John had after one interrogation style interview and one non-interrogation style interview. He had a much more positive opinion of the MSP that represented the latter.

Interrogation Style InterviewerNon-Interrogation Style Interviewer
Interviewer was more domineering which made Jonathan feel uncomfortable. Interviewer was more interactive which made Jonathan 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.

Lastly, make the MSP recruitment process fun!

Finally, you need to make the interview process fun. On the surface this might sound silly. But who wants to join a boring, sterile environment?

Applicants can tell during the MSP recruitment process if your company seems too serious. 

To reference the table above, Jonathan joined the company that seemed fun. They asked Jonathan about his favorite superhero and other off-the-cuff questions. 

Also,  Jonathan and the interviewer had a disagreement about something. They worked things out and reached a compromise. All of this made Jonathan feel like this company was full of relaxed and exciting people to interact with.

Being fun truly goes a long way, especially if you are a small MSP. You need to sell the company’s culture and how well everyone works together as a team. With the new remote working landscape, you cannot afford to be another boring company that the best talent will pass over!