For years, MSPs have been using a wide range of ways to hire top-notch talent, be it using tech recruiters or building in-house recruiting teams. Irrespective of the chosen method, it’s always challenging to hire ― from recruiting to interviewing and finding the right skill sets. For a business rooted in people and connections, finding the top MSP talent goes beyond matching a technical skillset. 

As long as you look outside the traditional hiring bubble and reach out to candidates who can add value to your MSP, you can turn the tedious job of hiring tech talent into a fruitful, fulfilling experience. But no matter how you reach out, you must always be recruiting so that you have a pipeline of talent ready to be hired when the need to scale arrives.

Your steps for recruiting top MSP talent:

1. Create an ideal candidate “profile”

Just like buyer “personas” play a critical role in shaping customer engagement programs, building an ideal candidate “profile” is essential for your MSP to understand the aspirations and needs of your business model. An ideal candidate profile is a guide for any hiring manager to identify their idyllic candidate for the job. It’s used as a tool throughout the hiring process to evaluate candidates. 

Include these characteristics when creating your profile: 

  • Shift Hours for the role 
  • Onsite, Remote, or Hybrid workplace 
  • Budget range 
  • Skills, Competencies & Certifications 
  • Job Score Card 
  • Career Progression Plan 
  • Culture Fit 

Once you have a clear picture of the talent you want to pursue, consider what and how you’ll convey to them your employee value propositions (EVP). To put your different EVPs in the right order, always: 

  • Ask your recent hires why they chose you. You’ll be surprised the benefits you take for granted and not worth mentioning in JDs may be the reason that high-performing tech professionals choose your company. 
  • Keep up with the latest research and data-driven insights into tech talent trends and needs. 
  • Know whether you want your candidates to be onsite, hybrid, or fully remote, and whether they want to work for a large or small IT company. This will help you easily screen out candidates. 

2. Scout for talent in the right places

At IT By Design, we conduct virtual fairs regularly not only to build talent pools, but to generate qualified leads for future hiring as well. Here are some other ideal places to find talent: 

  • Online tech forums where MSP professionals interact with peers and thought leaders for knowledge sharing 
  • Social media sites ― like LinkedIn ― where you can ask contacts to introduce you to someone with whom they’ve worked 
  • Digital ads 
  • Tech schools and college campuses 
  • Leverage your existing employee base 
  • An alumni email to leverage former employees 
  • Referrals and rewards programs for employees 
  • External recruiters 

3. Speak their language

What you don’t want to do is contact a talented Helpdesk engineer with a generic email or an uninspiring job description. Most of the time, the best talent isn’t actively looking for a job. Personalized emails are a great strategy for attracting such passive candidates. 

While writing your job description and ad copy, make your employee value proposition about more than just money. For instance, at ITBD we put all new engineers through a 60-day “Boot Camp” where they are trained on MSP tools and processes so they’re ready to go on Day 1 when we hire them out to an MSP. Also, invoke a sense of fun and excitement for the applicant.  

Be sure to: 

  • Use a proper, self-explanatory job title 
  • Include what you’re looking for and the job duties in the language of an ideal candidate 
  • Provide a link or QR code for the applicants to learn more about the job and careers page 
  • Share your company’s goals, vision, and culture to help attract candidates with shared interests 
  • Mention the benefits and perks your MSP offers 

4. Throw a challenge

Before you invite them in for a final discussion, be sure to check their tech competency and innovation instincts. Make them register for a virtual career fair and host a live hackathon during each fair. Give them a task they are not quite sure if they can solve to make sure they jump right on it to try! Make the challenge fun and try adding a bit of mystery with an element of surprise. One way to do it is by asking them to spot an issue in a client’s dummy IT environment. 

5. Hire talent with the right attitude

No matter how talented people you hire, they would not create value for you if they don’t fit into your MSP culture. And that’s where attitude plays a vital role. While screening and interviewing candidates, look for applicants whose core values and aspirations gel with that of your MSP. 

Many traits that make up a great employee can’t be found on a resume. So, while interviewing, try to understand what the candidate has accomplished in his or her last job. Do your best to gauge their customer-centricity and passion for learning by throwing questions that reveal the minutest details of their last project. 

6. Provide a great applicant experience 

Most MSPs work really hard to attract top tech talent. Once they finally select a candidate, they think that they have nailed the hardest part. Getting top-notch talent interested enough to attend job interviews is just half of the job. This is where the real game begins! 

To get top-tier IT talent to accept your job offer, first you must provide a great recruitment experience and sell the job. If you have a strong tracking system in place, put prospective employees through a mail campaign that includes company news, blogs, “fun at work” videos, and podcasts. This will make them feel valued and appreciated and will ensure a good impression of your employer brand.