What to Look for When Hiring a Help Desk Support Technician
In an industry that’s always changing like information technology, where new roles and new titles are always emerging, it can be easy to forget that the help desk support technician is still a critical role in the IT industry and in just about every company around the world.
In addition to being a crucial entry-level role for IT professionals just starting out in their careers, the support technician is important because they solve the common technical problems that users face as they go about their days. This role is just as important as more senior IT roles in an organization.
You should take hiring for this entry-level tech support role seriously to make sure your employees and customers get the quality service they need when encountering issues with technology. Here’s what to look for when hiring a help desk support technician.
Excellent Soft Skills
While technical qualifications are important, great people skills should be a strong consideration when hiring an applicant.
A global talent trends report from LinkedIn found that 92% of hiring managers think soft skills are vital to succeeding in the workplace.
The support technician is usually who customers and employees turn to first when they need help with their technology. A great help desk technician can remain friendly and calm when interacting with frustrated users, and they understand that it’s not personal when those users act upset or irritated. A cool demeanor and positive attitude are vital traits for a support technician.
End users are only human and simply want to get back to doing what they were doing before their internet crashed or their access was revoked. If they knew how to fix these problems themselves, the help desk role wouldn’t be necessary. Support technicians who treat end users with kindness and respect have a much greater chance at succeeding in this job and demonstrating the professionalism you require at your company.
Ability to Ask Great Questions
Help desk technicians should also be adept at asking great questions to figure out the exact problem.
Most users aren’t tech-savvy, and they won’t be great at explaining the issue upfront. It’s the technician’s duty to guide them with a line of smart questioning to uncover the details, diagnose the problem, and provide the solution.
This is also where technical experience matters. While a positive attitude and genuine curiosity help in dealing with end users, knowing how to ask the right questions is the result of past experience in an IT environment.
When interviewing applicants for an IT help desk role, ask them how they would help a user who is experiencing a technical problem but doesn’t know how to articulate it:
- What types of questions would they ask?
- Do they have experience in troubleshooting a desktop remotely?
- How would they help a user avoid encountering the same problem in the future?
IT Industry Certifications
We’ve talked before about the importance of certifications in the information technology industry, but they’re important to reiterate here.
IT certifications are especially important for beginner support technicians. Why?
The IT professional at the start of their careers might not have a lot of job experience to show off on a resume. That doesn’t mean they’re not qualified or can’t quickly learn on the job. It does mean, however, that you should look for other qualifications that prove they can be an asset to your company.
That’s where IT certifications come into play. Certifications from a professional organization like CompTIA, for example, are proof of an aspiring help desk technician’s technical aptitude.
Which certifications matter the most to the role are up to the IT department and the hiring manager, but for many IT industry pros, the CompTIA trifecta looks great on a resume:
The Drive to Always Learn
No matter the amount of experience, help desk technicians should always be willing to learn more. Technology never stays still, problems are never quite the same as they were before, and solutions will be continuously refined.
Here are some questions you should ask applicants during the interview stage:
- What are some new tools you’ve pushed yourself to learn on the job? (Examples could be Microsoft Entra ID, formerly Microsoft Azure)
- What IT industry publications do you read? (Examples could be The Hacker News and Security Magazine)
- How would you apply things you learned in previous jobs to a new role?
- What new IT certifications are you currently pursuing?
Prioritizing these traits in your ideal support technician will ensure you have a reliable IT pro who customers and employees will like, who can remain calm under pressure, and will stick around.
Need help finding your dream help desk support technician? We have over 40 years of helping companies fill open IT roles. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.