9 Tips for Smart MSP Hiring


Managed Services Providers tend to be relatively small organizations, which makes each and every hire absolutely critical. At the same time, teamwork among such a small and hard-working staff is key, so your employees must be both technical and able to get along well with others – coworkers and customers alike.

Another issue is that, being relatively small, most MSPs don’t have dedicated HR staffs and aren’t trained in the ins and outs of hiring.

Whether you are a fast growing outfit, or have just experiencing normal turnover, you probably have a job or two open at any given time.

So let’s get to hiring!

1. Start Spreading the News

First, you have to let local job seekers know you have an opportunity. Job sites are an obvious choice, and you can further narrow your audience by using LinkedIn. Often, it’s  more effective to harness you and your employees’ network of contact. A hiring bonus helps when using your employees to find additional staff.

2. Create a Positive Image

When you decide to make offer, you clearly want that candidate. At the same time, you want that candidate to desire to work for your company. So, just as you want customers to view your shop positively, you must roll out that same red carpet for job candidates. All your employees should put their best foot forward and demonstrate what a great workplace your MSP is.

You should also make sure your web presence represents your company and staff well.  This doesn’t mean you need to invest lots of money on a huge website.  However, make sure your digital presence is professional, up-to-date, and reflects the true nature of your business and work environment.

Beyond these impressions, the reality of working at your company is also critical. Clearly lay out the job expectations through a highly detailed job description, with salary range and key benefits so a candidate can bow out early if there isn’t a fit.

Another key criterion to success is to lay out a growth path so the candidate knows your shop will be a great place to work for the long run.

3. Know When to Ask for Help

Hiring can be a time-consuming process, and you and many of your workers charge at a pretty high billable rate. Is this process a smart use of your time economically, and do you have the skills to do a good job hiring? If the answer to either is no, consider getting a staffing agency or headhunter to handle the heavy lifting such as advertising, sifting through resumes, pre-screening and setting up formal interviews. Of course, you and your staff should handle the interviews, and check the references so you know exactly what you are getting

4. What to Look For

There are many specializations with MSPs, so your candidates’ skills should match each particular opening. What you need in a service director is very different than what you need in a technician. But don’t over focus on skills. There is a lot to be said for pure talent as well. Talent is what lets some employees easily learn new skills and move up the ladder.

Of course, for MSP employees, technical skills and a passion to master new technologies are critical.

Other skills and attributes include:

  • Problem solving ability
  • Ambition
  • Flexibility
  • Work ethic
  • Positivity

 5. Where to Look

With the internet and social media, there are such a plethora of places to post jobs it can be overwhelming.

There are other ways to attract talent. You could:

Hold an open house: This is a great way to put your company’s best foot forward, and to meet candidates in a relaxed comfortable setting. The candidates, meanwhile, get to see your company closely and socialize with employees.

Go to events that pertain to your industry: There are often local events that cater to MSPs, cover the verticals you participate in, and focus on the types of technology that you use such as security. Go well stocked with business cards and pass them out freely.

Employee referrals: Technical types are often friends with other technical people. They also join peer groups where they meet others of like mind. Don’t be afraid to tap into this extended network.

6. Hire at the Bottom, Train and Raise them to the Top

One of the bottom rungs, but a critical function nonetheless, is the service and help desk function. These folks don’t just man the technical front lines; they are the face of your business. You need to choose techs with personality and knowledge.

Many MSPs prefer to do most of their hiring at the lower service desk levels such as an analyst, and then nurture these new MSP pros into higher level positions. This way, the worker is trained in your technology and how you do business, and is part of your company’s culture.

7. How to Keep Staff

As we mentioned above, many successful MSPs like to promote from within. As a result, they hire new employees for the lowest level positions such as a Problem Technician, train them, and then help them rise through the ranks. This is great for morale, and your future service desk managers will be steeped in your technology and company culture.

For that approach to work,  training is a key way to retain and development staff. The training has to have a purpose. It should be aimed at the services you have and the ones you intend to develop. At the same time, staff should be rewarded for their learning through new opportunities, promotions, raises and bonuses.

This should be the basis of a defined career path for lower level staffers to moving up the ladder one day.

8. Hiring to Scale

Once an MSP organization reaches a certain size or ambition, it becomes time to contemplate hiring higher level executives that can bring your company to the next level and even prepare an exit strategy. This isn’t to say that you can avoid these functions at any time!  However, as your business scales, you will need to hire experienced executives who can focus on these responsibilities.

These C-levels can include:

Chief Financial Officer (CFO):  This person can bring discipline to your business, handling accounting, budgets, and cash flow. Just as important, they can handle reporting and implement tracking through key metrics which can lead to changes in strategy, and pricing.

Chief Operating Officer (COO): A COO can make sure that all the wheels keeping turning, that processes are as efficient as they can be, and that nothing gets overlooked. While the CFO may establish metrics, the COO lives and breathes these same metrics and uses them to optimize processes.

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO):  An MSP that desires growth has to have an aggressive marketing machine. The best person to drive this is a CMO. These leaders understand the new social and lead stimulating techniques, as well as the role of strong, authoritative content.

Chief Information Officer (CIO): There are two advantages to hiring a CIO. First, this person can rationalize all your systems and technology. More important, the CIO will look toward the future and build systems that offer serious competitive advantage.

Virtual CIO (vCIO): Many MSPs now offer vCIO services where they serve as a virtual CIO for SMB clients. Your CIO could help establish such a program, and even hire peers to handle the work.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO): This is one of the toughest decisions an MSP founder can – to give up the reins to a highly qualified and talented business executive. If that time is near or has come, make sure this hire is a perfect one!

9. Have the Right Technologies!

You are interested in hiring because you want to grow. That’s why it pays to have the right technologies in place so these new employees are immediately productive. On the service/help desk side, make sure there are solutions in place so the service desk can support internal staffers with a rich knowledge base and ways to collaborate. This all feeds into the help desk, which should provide self-service and allow technicians to quickly solve client problems.

At the core of an efficient MSP are next-generation RMM and PSA tools. Make sure you have already established best practices for each, and then train new workers on the solutions they’ll use to get their jobs done.

Kaseya BMS is Your Next-Gen PSA

Earlier this spring, Kaseya released Kaseya BMS 9.3 – a next-generation business management solution built 100% for MSPs. With it, you can free staff to focus more attention on strategically selling new services, scoping and deploying these service, then running them in a profitable way. At the same time, you’ll spend far less time dealing with non-revenue-generating work such as project management and billing.

With BMS, you can:

  • Define and deploy new services rapidly
  • Manage client IT projects effectively
  • Monitor service deliver with 360 degrees of visibility
  • Support service and help desk functions

For more product details, click here.

Kaseya VSA 9.3 is the Next Generation RMM

Kaseya VSA 9.3, released this spring, is the next generation RMM.  Kaseya VSA delivers the best technician experience in the industry.  Its Live Connect module connects quickly to remote devices and delivers immediate, comprehensive, and real-time visibility into every aspect of an end point, such as CPU utilization, application processes, services, disk utilization, activity metrics and service tickets-without interrupting the end user’s system.

In addition, VSA’s robust policy-based automation allows you to ‘build in’ your own standard operating procedures (SOPs) on processes including software deployments (including third-party software), patches, antivirus updates and other security procedures.  Different policies can be created and applied for different clients, as well as by machine group, user type, etc.  These automated policies mean that your technicians can hit the ground running – spending less time on learning the policies and more time on helping clients.
To learn more about the new Kaseya VSA 9.3 release, please visit: https://www.kaseya.com/products/vsa/r9-3-release

And to find out how Kaseya complete solution set supports MSP 2.0 initiatives, read our ‘Kaseya IT Complete for MSPs’ report.

Posted by Doug Barney
Doug Barney was the founding editor of Redmond Magazine, Redmond Channel Partner, Redmond Developer News and Virtualization Review. Doug also served as Executive Editor of Network World, Editor in Chief of AmigaWorld, and Editor in Chief of Network Computing.
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