7 Steps to Spot MSP Candidates with the ‘Secret Sauce’
Since 2012, we at Bowman Williams have interviewed 10,000 MSP professionals via Skype. We’ve found many similarities among the top 10 percent of the highly qualified MSP candidates with whom we Skype. In fact, when we come across that highly qualified MSP candidate, there will often be a common thread amongst them where every MSP that interviews that candidate will often see the value and agree — they possess the “secret sauce.”
When it comes to the criteria for a candidate with the secret sauce, I’d like to delve a bit deeper into what you as an MSP owner, manager or professional should be looking for during the hiring process.
1. An explorer mindset. You’ll know the answer by watching how the candidate reacts during and after the interview. For example, let’s say the technician gets a technical question wrong during the interview. Pay attention to the candidate’s reaction after you point out the error. Does the interviewee respond by asking additional questions to determine how their mistake was made? Do they even care they were wrong? There is a common thread among the secret sauce candidates, where they follow up after the interview explaining they’ve done research on the problem and understand their mistake. The person you need is someone who’s naturally curious and willing to fight through any adversity to diagnose the root cause of a problem — not an individual who does the bare minimum and passes the buck.
2. Is common sense all that common? Finding a candidate with common sense isn’t an easy feat. Autonomous MSP techs need to rely on more than just technical skills – they must rely on themselves. Ask candidates to cite examples of how they navigated adversity, then ask rapid-fire follow up questions testing their judgment, to see how they respond expressing their thought process. The goal is to figure out why they solved a problem the way they did and were there more logical alternatives. Common sense is what I call the Holy Grail of soft skills.
3. Play nice with others? True team players often can cite believable experiences when they’ve worked collaboratively with others. Weed out candidates who could potentially rub clients and teammates the wrong way. Take candidates out to Happy Hour, take them out to dinner – see how they socialize. Is the way they express themselves well received by everyone who interviewed them? Do you cringe when they talk? Get perspective — have multiple members of your team interview the person and weigh in.
4. Can the candidate adapt? Working in an MSP environment isn’t for everybody. Hiring technicians with backgrounds in MSP environments helps you know what you’re getting into and helps us mitigate potential surprises. Not everybody can adapt to the MSP model’s dynamic, fast-paced work environment, especially candidates who may have worked in an office environment with a slower pace. Don’t forget: MSP technicians are expected to think on their feet, prioritize tasks and set expectations — all while solving problems. You need to hire candidates who can shift and evolve in ever-changing work dynamics. For example, some parts of the model are a bit more structured (think about help desk support adhering to SLAs), while other parts require employees to work autonomously (a field tech on a client site solving IT issues).
5. Resiliency. If you’re unsure about how a candidate would respond to you pointing out an error, inquire about past blunders with previous employers. Candidates with self-awareness are usually their own worst critics, so they should be able to easily recall a few …