The secret to spotting a golden résumé is to first accept the fact that you are probably not going to find one perfect IT candidate who meets all of your desired qualifications, fits in perfectly with your MSP office’s atmosphere, and performs above expectations with every single project. You need to approach the hiring process with realistic expectations about what you really need from a candidate. Once you know what you are truly looking for in a prospective employee, it becomes much easier to spot the résumé that is right on target.
How to Get the Résumés Rolling In
Before you find that golden résumé, you will have to have some process in place for collecting applications from qualified candidates. There are so many avenues to recruiting these days that you may have to experiment with which forums generate the best matches for your particular needs. Most employers go one of two routes: 1) posting a job opening online or 2) hiring a professional staffing company to recruit candidates.
If you decide to post online yourself, you have many options available. A wide variety of job forums exist that are dedicated to posting all kinds of jobs, like Monster.com and Indeed.com. You can also try posting for positions on a forum specifically suited to IT jobs, such as Dice.com. Aside from job forums, business networking sites like LinkedIn make terrific forums for recruiting talent. Posting on your own has the advantage of giving you more control over which candidates progress to the next stages of hiring.
However, hiring managers who are new to recruiting may underestimate the amount of time and effort that goes into browsing hundreds of responses, sorting the best candidates, and making follow-up calls. This is where a professional staffing agency may be useful. These companies are experienced in handling high volumes of résumés and identifying the best matches for open positions. When you use a recruiter, they are already bringing in résumés on a regular basis and have experience in pairing the right candidates with the right jobs.
What Exactly Are You Looking For?
One of the first things you will want to take notice of when reading candidates’ résumés is where they are at currently, or when they held their most recent position. A potential employee who has been out of work for more than six months should be a red flag. This does not necessarily mean that you shouldn’t consider such a person, but the individual should have been using this time off productively. Did they take classes? Gain new certifications? Hone their skills through some kind of volunteer project? If the individual is currently employed, do they have good tenure at their current company? These are good signs that the person is motivated and reliable.
In addition to checking for dedicated past work habits, you definitely want to make sure that the candidates who make it to the next step of the hiring process have experience specifically doing the main tasks you are hiring for. Some skills can be learned on the job, but the basic qualifications should be there. With a new employee, you expect to train them on procedures specific to your company, but you do not want to spend the time training them how to perform the basic components of their job.
Aside from knowing the job, looking for candidates who present as strong generalists is always a good hiring strategy. When your employees possess a broad skillset, it really adds value to them as a part of your team. If you have found several candidates who are qualified for the position and still need to narrow down your selections, consider what additional skills they bring to the position and how those may benefit your future projects. In that same vein, if you are in need of people with a certain certification or experience, choosing a candidate whose qualifications encompass a broader range of technical expertise rather than only one specific certification is only to your benefit. Look beyond just what you need now to find someone who will grow with your business.
Finally, never underestimate the importance of customer service skills. This is a trait you always want to look for in candidates’ résumés. You are in business to serve your clients, and you need every member of your team to share in that goal. To find client-facing IT staff, look for those with previous experience working for an MSP, or those who have experience working in a remote customer support position and supporting multiple environments. You never know what your clients may ask of you, so it pays to have intuitive employees who are comfortable in their roles and able to come up with solutions that please your customers.
Recruiting Takes Time
The most important aspect of spotting the right candidate is patience. Finding talented staff takes time, and filling a position with the wrong person almost always costs your company more money than keeping the position unfilled a little longer until you find a match. A job posting may bring in thousands of résumés in a month, and sorting through all those applications is a big task. If the initial steps of the hiring process cut into your other daily responsibilities, you may want to consider outsourcing this work to an IT recruiting company to increase your odds of finding the best new recruit for your team.
Keep in mind, an all-star golden résumé won’t just fall into your lap. You will need to put in the time and effort to recruit the best talent available, so don’t get discouraged if the first twenty applications you review get you nowhere. Every perfect cup of coffee leaves a filter full of grinds.