Healthy Paranoia: How Successful MSPs Hire

Let’s be honest about something: If you’re an MSP, the hiring process is painful. We end up wasting time and resources, especially when candidates don’t work out. Not sure what you’re doing wrong? You could be having a difficult time identifying valuable MSP candidates, retaining valuable MSP employees and structuring win-win job offers.

At Channel Partners Evolution in Philadelphia, I shared advice on how successful MSPs are hiring, so I thought it would be a good idea to put together a blog post to provide you with a brief overview of what I presented to conference attendees in early October.

Identifying moneymaker MSP candidates

After analyzing the data we collected from interviewing more than 10,000 MSP professionals over Skype, Bowman Williams identified four top questions every MSP owner should at least consider when interviewing IT professionals for available positions:

Is the candidate coming from an SLA-driven environment? Many T1 and T2 technicians are terminated from MSPs for not being able to perform within an MSP environment. Do your best to stay away from candidates without backgrounds at MSPs. Unlike candidates from other industries, IT professionals who’ve worked within the parameters of SLA-driven environment know how to move tickets quickly and efficiently.

Does the candidate have client-facing experience? MSPs are service organizations first and technology companies second. Without a doubt, poor customer service will ruin your organization. (Just think about what it’s like waiting in line at the DMV.) You can find out how a candidate would interact with your customers by coordinating role play scenarios during the hiring process. For example, ask the candidate you’re interviewing to send you three emails right in front of you (don’t allow the candidate to do this from home). If all the candidate’s emails make you cringe, pass.

Has the candidate supported external clients? Hiring someone without any MSP experience can be risky. Your technicians need to be able to bounce between clients. Unlike candidates coming from internal IT support, MSP technicians are used to managing multiple external IT environments and operating heterogeneous technologies.

Does the candidate have autonomous problem-solving skills? Can the candidate your interviewing solve problems logically, creatively and quickly? If you’re unsure, examine the candidate’s resume for leadership experience in IT environments.

Retaining moneymaker MSP employees

Employee turnover is costly, especially if replacing employees becomes a regular occurrence. That’s why we at Bowman Williams decided to gather data on why employees leave their employers. Whenever we conduct an interview via Skype, we always document the reason for leaving (RFL). (Believe me, we’ve heard just about everything.) Ultimately, what we found is there are four reasons why IT professionals look to jump ship: lack of “growth,” tech exposure, expectations, and sound operations.

How to structure win-win job offers

Let’s talk about structuring win-win job offers. What’s the secret sauce? At the end of the day, it’s all about doing your homework. Gather the right data points during interviews, and you’ll be able to craft win-win job offers ready for when the time comes.

Sometimes, when we’re in the middle of the hiring process, we spend too much time asking questions designed to assess whether a candidate fits the position we’re looking to fill that we forget to ask questions to determine if our company is the right fit for the candidate. Don’t forget to ask about the ideal company culture, short-term goals and more.

If you learn how to identify valuable MSP candidates, retain valuable MSP employees and structure win-win job offers, you’ll alleviate the pain from the hiring process in no time.