Hiring great techs is something of an art form. With every year, there’s new things to adapt to and as good as any list can be, things change! When this article is updated, I’ll make sure to leave a note so you can keep coming back to it.
I’m going to cover the job description tips for this process. I’m going to assume you will pick the best job posting company for your area, you’re ready to hire, and you’ve made some time to conduct the resume and application reviews as well as the interviews. Making sure you set aside time for this is important, which will come later as we go on.
Here’s an important caveat for you. Some of the areas of hiring can pose human resources issues and possibly lawsuits. It is recommended that your hiring process be documented as well as your job descriptions and reviewed by a lawyer or HR professional.
Selling the Position
The first part of your description needs to be something explaining how great your company is. Not just that but highlighting the culture and what it’s like to work for your clients. You might think to skimp on this a bit when you think the job market favors you. I would caution against that, because you don’t know where the best new tech is going to come from.
Consider a brief “day in the life” of a tech, that demonstrates the rewards that someone should be excited about having. Getting the job done on time, being appreciated by clients, working with the team to develop a solution. When you are hiring for great techs, they need to picture themselves in that job and this will yield benefits later on.
Clearly identifying what they will be expected to take care of is going to avoid some problems down the road. There’s a lot of assumptions made on both sides of the conference table. Making your expectations clear up front is key.
The tech will need to know what skills they’ll have to possess to repair a laptop or troubleshoot a network appliance. Make sure you have interview questions to address all of these and get examples of their experience.
Be specific but concise. It is as tedious to create lists of minute skills as it is to read them. Try not to waste yours or your candidate’s time. You can get into some of the details through the interview.
You should have a section that indicates what are some of the basic activities the tech will do daily. Updating tickets, opening or closing the office, and other tasks are important to clearly identify. Also, if you are expecting techs to drive their own vehicles, explain that and if you are compensating them for travel.
This is also a good place to set standards of customer interaction, such as answering callers on the phone and performing support via remote control. Don’t forget customer follow-up and what you expect to close out a service ticket.
Cover some basics in this section like having to be on their feet for long stretches of time, lifting items over 50 pounds or other expectations.
Being clear up front about compensation is going to help you through later negotiation steps. Explain in the terms your staff are paid, the amount so there’s no confusion. Hourly or salary, it is important to be consistent, so they know what to expect. I’ve taken some shortcuts here in the past and it’s not served me well.
If a candidate answers back with a much higher amount than you advertise, you may see some room to negotiate there. There’s a fine line between an amount that can be negotiated, and one that is just too far out. Sometimes I will follow up in an email and remind them of the top level to see
For some positions you might consider some kind of skills testing. Testing is a good way to tell how much of the little things the candidate gets. Identifying terminology correctly on a multiple-choice test can be helpful.
Additionally, you can use some tests to determine culture fit as well as customer service acumen. The customer service test was especially helpful to us in choosing several candidates. Many turned out to be amazing techs for technology but not for people that use it.
Ideally, you’ll have a telephone interview followed by in-person or virtual. You should make sure your interviewers are familiar with complying to good HR standards. Help them avoid asking questions that put liability on the company.
To help with our customer service assessment of candidates we asked a non-technical person to conduct the phone interview. The interviewer explained at the beginning that they didn’t have technical skills and might need answers in more plain terms.
Hopefully you have a chance to make an offer to a candidate and they’ll take it! Many times, you might get a counteroffer on compensation. There’s a couple tactics that I find helpful. First, I do recognize that if they do counteroffer, I respect that. This is a person who is looking out for their interests as well as ours once they become committed.
You might consider just simply taking the counteroffer if it’s not more than you were considering in the range. Another common tactic is to just split the difference and go back with that, which there’s nothing wrong with. If you posted the salary range, they know what the top end is.
One tactic that I used to good effect was to leverage the probation period. I would counteroffer that most if not all of what they’re asking for can be met after probation. However, they would have to meet several criteria to get that extra amount.
This took a bit more work on my part because I need to now come up with some measurable goals for the new technician. You must ensure these are clearly measurable. This is going to be an agreement you’ll both have to commit to and identify what the consequence is. If they don’t meet the goals, are they stuck at that salary or do you cut them loose?
I hope this article on hiring great techs is helpful to you. There are so many details about hiring that just can’t fit in here! If you have specific questions about a hiring process for your MSP startup, please contact me!