MSPs between 3 – 25 employees and/or between $1M – $5M in revenue will most often scale by hiring multi-functional, malleable Tier 2 skill sets when Service Delivery resources are stretched thin. This is because…..
MSPs who hire the right Tier 2 know they are acquiring a resource that’s already sharpened their teeth fielding Tier 1 and (most) Tier 2 issues. This translates into filling a void quickly because good Tier 2s should hit the ground running closing tickets as a billable resource. Also, a solid Tier 2 has a baseline of IT experiences primed for learning complimentary MSP skills that can add a ton of value to an employee at a Tier 2 price point, i.e. dual threat in networking and systems, scripting/batching/automation, customization of RMM and ticketing systems, etc.
But what do the worthwhile MSP Tier 2 candidates look and sound like?
The best Tier 2 candidates often check three boxes: they have a well-rounded MSP IT skill set, they have an engaging, upbeat personality indicative worth ethic and a natural curiosity to solve problems, and three, they have a high level of aptitude suggestive of being highly trainable and receptive to growing into the profile you need them to be.
First, there are just few substitutes that can prepare your new employees for working in an SLA-driven environment if they’ve never worked in one before. If you’re a growing Managed Services Provider (break/fix or proactive or somewhere in between), you might have noticed that it’s often the candidates who have tangible experience working in the MSP industry who translate as the lowest risk hires because they are less likely to flake out.
So hiring MSP-experienced candidates because you know what to expect and it and because it reduces the number of “moving parts” a new employee has to adapt to; they’ve already proven they can adapt to the pace, the autonomy and the client-facing skills (and decisions) required for success juggling multiple external SMB clients in a demanding SLA-driven environment.
Second, MSPs shouldn’t expect their new Tier 2 hires to start day 1 functioning as a “Tier 2 ticket killer” on the Service Desk. Most of the Tier 2 Sys Admins worth seriously considering for employment at your MSP won’t have technical skills that “jump off the page” on a resume or first round interview. In a recent survey of 50 MSP business owners and Hiring Managers, we found that personality traits and aptitude were the primary characteristics that separated their most valuable Tier 2 employees from the others – not technical skills. So vet the less tangible characteristics that can’t be gleaned from reading a person’s resume. This means the best approach to ensure your MSP is landing on the right Tier 2, is to kiss a lot of frogs and sample the market by interviewing candidates over the phone and face to face, providing yourself with context for making an informed decision.
Third, they should have experience closely aligned with aptitude for being able to work in a remote support capacity but also capable of going on client sites within the first 6 months. If you can’t see the Tier 2 candidate your interviewing representing your company well on client’s sites within the first 6 months, they might not have the right acumen in tech or business to tread water in your environment.
No doubt that winning more business can create a positive problem for your MSP – hiring. Ensure success by hiring a Tier 2 who has tangible MSP-proven skills, be sure to kiss a lot of frogs to find the right personality and lastly, hire based on aptitude to work autonomously within the first 6 months.
By John Davenjay, CEO of Bowman Williams
Bowman Williams helps MSPs hire and scale their permanent staff. We are a permanent placement staffing firm founded by MSP professionals and we ONLY staff MSPs. We have 300 MSP clients, we receive 12,000 – 15,000 resumes per month and we Skype interview 40-60 new MSP candidates per week.