What are common mistakes MSPS make during the hiring process, and what can they do to avoid them? 

The top hiring mistakes to avoid as an MSP are:

  • Focusing on credentials and certifications
  • Hoping for the best
  • Not screening for social skills
  • Not having a well-defined role
  • Not testing candidates for real-world scenarios
  • Having scarcity mentality 

As with any other company, MSPs also make mistakes when selecting new staff members. In this article, you will learn about these recruiting failures and how to prevent them. 


1. Focusing on credentials and certifications

The first mistake is for sure the most common one, and that is focusing too much on credentials, certifications and resumes. If you think about it, a resume is a piece of paper that merely gives you a story about what applicants want you to think. 

These resumes can often have little to do with reality and be misleading. Many MSPs make the mistake of being too preoccupied with: 

  • certifications
  • a candidate’s experience with a particular technology
  • experience with a particular project

This preoccupation won’t give much value to an MSP. Think about how most people in the IT industry learn new things… 

Do they go to school and get a certification? Typically no. Great technicians have mastered the art of just figuring things out on their own! Hence a job in this industry demands workers to be able to learn new things very quickly with little research material. 

You might also be fixated on hiring a person with a particular skill set. Indeed, skills and certifications are valuable, but hiring managers must gauge those credentials in real life. This can be done through actual testing of candidates with tasks from the available position.

For example, we at Support Adventure have a training and testing program where candidates perform a VM test and set up Office 365 from scratch with good ticket notes. 

We tell them how to write ticket notes with the standard our company uses. They also take part in a situational interview where we test their responses to real life scenarios in an MSP environment. This way, a hiring manager can get an idea for how well they will react in those situations.

2. Hoping for the best

The next mistake MSPs make during the hiring process is relying too much on  blind faith. Recruiting should be more trial-based and less hope-based. Organizations shouldn’t simply hire people and then cross their fingers that everything will work out. We suggest doing trials instead. We make all contracts with employees as a trial. 

For example, imagine you find someone who will apparently be a good match for your company, but they already have a job. You might want to make a deal with this person where they can work part time hours during a trial period. In the meantime, the organization can test them and managers can observe their capabilities. 

MSPs can also assign a candidate some tickets, providing they are informed about the used technology. With this method, you can see how quickly they are able to solve issues.

In the end, all MSPs should have an infrastructure for a testing period. That way, one can only conclude after the trial whether or not the candidate is a good match or not. Unfortunately, many MSPs don’t implement a trial period and are left with a bigger headache when they then have to let go of a new person on their team. 

3. Not screening for social skills

Social skills are important attributes, even for a technician or dispatcher in the MSP, yet many hiring managers fail to screen for this. As you might know, a lot of computer technicians don’t have the best social skills. 

 But working in an MSP is all about having a connection with clients while they are in their stressful moments. Candidates for your company need to be screened for social skills to make sure they are capable of being understanding towards others.

Yes, a typical technician in an MSP is supposed to solve technical issues for clients. Nonetheless, candidates must also provide customer support in addition to the technical work. Your company needs universal employees who are able to work both with technology and human beings.  

 4. Not having a well-defined role

Another mistake MSPs make when hiring is not having a well-defined role. That might sound insignificant, but it can be a big problem for a company. In fact, many roles in MSPs aren’t defined enough. 

Ultimately, if you want someone to work on the help desk, they should know:

  • how tickets are assigned 
  • how to escalate tickets 
  • what are the metrics for tickets
  • how much time they are supposed to log in the system each day
  • how much they’re expected to contribute to documentation 
  • what room for advancement is available
  • to whom they should report directly 
  • who their supervisor is
  • who will be on weekly meetings with them
  • If they will be able to upgrade their skill set with various certifications and training during their time with an MSP

The more specific you are about the role, the easier it will be to find someone who matches the job description. There are countless amounts of details technicians should know before starting their job at an MSP. When hiring candidates, you must list it all in the job ad.

5. Not testing people for real-life situations

The next common mistake MSPs make is not involving real-world scenarios when testing candidates. We have mentioned testing already, but the most important part of this process is to get people to perform a real task. 

Some employers make a big mistake and hire people without proper assessment. We can’t emphasize this enough that you need employees who are able to solve critical issues in your MSP, hence you need to hire candidates based on their results. 

Focus on their output, not their resumes. Bring those onboard who will be a good fit professionally and personally because they need to strive within the business, the team, the role and the overall company’s culture. 

Expectations projected on new employees must also be clear enough so that they know exactly what they are supposed to do. That’s why having clearly defined roles is such an important hiring element, so that you can pinpoint the most suitable candidates from the beginning. 

6. Having a scarcity mentality

The last hiring mistake MSPs make is having a scarcity mentality in regards to recruitment. This is a conscious or even subconscious feeling that there are not many great candidates available to them. Having this mindset can lead to self-sabotage and feeling defeated about recruitment before the process has even begun. 

We have consulted with many managers who clearly have a scarcity mindset. They think that they will never find someone in their area, with a particular expertise or within a particular budget. 

MSPs focused on building their culture and structure don’t have to worry about finding great candidates who will want to work with them long term.

Ultimately, to find good people, you should have in the first place a structured organization and the right people will come. If you find yourself preoccupied with feelings of scarcity, that might be a hint that there are changes to make on your end. You are more than capable of creating a premium company that invites all the amazing talent out there, and trust us, they are there. 🙂   

We hope these tips were helpful for your hiring process. We are here to provide you with talented remote technicians, as well as consultation. You can check out more about our services on our MSP staffing page.


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