How To Hire Talent in IT Support

11 minutes

The rapid technological advancements over the last few years have reshaped many sectors of t...

The rapid technological advancements over the last few years have reshaped many sectors of the economy, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the IT industry. Businesses have become heavily dependent on digital technology to streamline and automate their daily operations, and because of this reliance, the competition to recruit top IT talent has intensified. Figures from 2021 show that advertised tech jobs have risen by 42%, yet many employers weren’t able to find suitable candidates for these positions. 

With the demand for high-quality IT specialists outpacing supply, there is little wonder why many IT companies are facing recruitment struggles. Aside from the various hiring challenges that plague the whole IT industry, the IT support sector is plagued by evermore complex cyber security threats, budget constraints, and an increased workload. Identifying and hiring the best and brightest IT professionals is no easy feat, but with the right recruitment strategy, you can rest assured that your perfect candidate is right around the corner. 

This guide explores the various challenges facing IT recruitment, how to spot IT talent, and our top tips for recruiting IT support professionals. 

The Challenges Facing IT Recruitment

The race for high-quality IT candidates is certainly competitive, and there are a range of issues that prevent companies from hiring the tech talent they require. The IT sector is undergoing a significant skills shortage, with figures showing that 95% of employers looking for tech staff have experienced these issues. Here are just a few of the recruitment struggles that companies seeking IT specialists are currently navigating through: 

High-Quality Candidates Demand High Pay 

Many professionals are attracted to a career in IT due to the relatively competitive salaries. 

According to Hired’s 2022 State of Tech salaries report, tech salaries are still rising in the US, UK, and Canada, with pay gap between remote and office-based working closing. Josh Brenner, CEO of Hired, commented: 

“Hired’s survey data tells us that while there is some sentiment of a power shift to employers in the next six months, the majority of candidates are considering leaving their current role.

IT professionals who feel they can earn more elsewhere are likely to take up a job opportunity at another company, so it’s crucial that you reward your ideal candidate with the right compensation. If you present your desired applicant with a package that features a competitive salary and other benefits like additional holiday and training, you have a greater chance of retaining their skills. 

Too Many Job Vacancies

The IT sector has a supply and demand problem; the amount of open positions far outstrips the talent pool. Research has shown that UK tech job vacancies rose by a staggering 191% between 2020 and 2022, a figure that highlights the extent of this recruitment challenge. Regardless of the state of the economy, there will always be a need to fill IT-related roles, and to draw in top talent, businesses need to ensure that their job listings are unique and alluring. 

Attracting Passive Candidates  

LinkedIn has found that 70% of the global workforce are in employment, so the likelihood is that your ideal candidate is already plying their trade at a rival company. Rather than focus all of your energy on looking for hires who are unemployed and looking for new work, you should consider ways to target and attract passive talent. To overcome this problem, you should think about what would incentivize these top candidates to join your team. 

Outdated Hiring Practices

Many businesses fail to adapt to the changing recruitment market and still adopt outdated hiring practices. Long-winded traditional recruitment processes may discourage candidates from following their applications through, and your dream candidate may slip through the cracks. Adopting more modern recruitment techniques, such as applicant tracking systems and video conference interviews, will make your business all the more appealing to potential talent. 

When Should You Hire IT Support Staff? 

There are numerous factors to consider when it comes to deciding if you need to recruit IT support staff. Recognizing that you require a top-quality candidate to support your IT support team is a crucial step in your recruitment process, and some of the top reasons for hiring include: 

  • Recurring technical issues. Having an influx of IT support requests may convince you that you need to recruit a new IT professional. Given the vital duties that IT support teams perform, it is paramount that you go above and beyond to help them manage their workload. If they are inundated with so much demand that they cannot respond to tech issues promptly, then hiring more support should be a top priority. 
  • Business expansion. As your business grows, you might wish to branch out into new market areas, and this will inevitably lead to the need for additional IT personnel. To meet your goals and ambitions, you should make sure that you have a team of IT experts who can implement brand-new systems and provide top-notch tech support to a larger number of users. 
  • User feedback. Responding to customer feedback is key to the success of any business and is particularly important when it comes to the IT support side of your operations. User complaints like dissatisfaction with answers or long response times should be listened to and acted on, and adding more members to your IT support team is an effective way of addressing these issues. 
  • Workload evaluation. Another way to check if you need to bring in new IT talent is to assess your IT team's workload and productivity rates. This evaluation will shed light on how well they are coping with the current pace of work, and if you find that they are unable to perform at their best, then expanding the team may be the best course of action. 
  • Regulatory compliance needs. In the wake of high-profile ransomware attacks that have plagued many organizations, companies are under increased pressure to ensure their computer systems are as robust as possible. Recruiting IT staff with significant experience in compliance frameworks and risk management will help you to adhere to an ever-changing regulatory landscape. 

Are you an employer who wants to hire new tech talent to support your IT team? If you’d like to learn about the various ways we support our clients, you can read all about them here

What Skills and Qualifications Should Your Ideal Candidate Possess? 

The right candidate for your IT support specialist role should be able to demonstrate a mix of technical and interpersonal skills. Not only do they need the technical expertise to troubleshoot hardware and software problems, but they also need a number of soft skills, including:

  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills. 
  • Time management 
  • Critical thinking 
  • Leadership

Their roles and responsibilities include:

  • The installation and configuration of hardware, software, and systems. 
  • Responding and dealing with service issues and requests 
  • Providing technical support to employees across the company 
  • Setting up new-user accounts 
  • Testing new systems and technologies 

Top IT support candidates typically hold a degree in computer science and have previous work experience in other comparable IT support or technician roles. They should have in-depth knowledge of popular operating systems such as Windows, Mac, and Linux. You should also look out for demonstrable experience with network security protocols, as this will show that they understand the ins and outs of cyber security. 

Top Tips for Recruiting IT Support Staff 

Hiring your team's best possible IT support expert requires a detailed and strategic approach. Finding a candidate with professional and personal skills who’s also an ideal cultural fit for your organization can be difficult, particularly given the recruitment struggles within the IT sector. Keen to help you with your search, we have compiled a list of handy tips that will help you to recruit the perfect IT professional: 

Carry Out an Internal Skills Gap Analysis 

Before starting the recruitment process, carrying out an internal skills gap analysis is an excellent idea. This will help you identify the disparity between the required skills and those possessed by your workforce. This is a vital tool in guiding an organisation toward the development of effective strategies for employee development and recruitment drives. 

If skills gaps are significant, and you don’t have the internal talent to fill the required IT support jobs, then sourcing candidates externally becomes crucial, and you can enquire about the services of a specialist recruitment company. Here are the key methods to conduct a skills gaps analysis:

  • Review your company goals - Establishing your company objectives serves as the foundation for your skills gap analysis. This practice enables you to pinpoint the upcoming skills required, creating a standard against which you can evaluate the current skill set.
  • Identify the skills required - When evaluating the importance of a specific skill, assess whether its absence hinders the business, team, or individual from accomplishing a task to a high standard. 
  • Measure the skills of your existing workforce - Evaluating the skills of your current workforce and identifying any gaps can be accomplished through various approaches, ranging from conducting employee interviews to utilizing dedicated software tools.
  • Analyze your Findings - With the gathered data in hand, it's now the moment to analyze and define the current skills gap within your workforce.

Provide a Clear Job Description 

Posting a generic job listing on Indeed is unlikely to attract the sort of talented candidate you require for your business. Instead, think of the roles, responsibilities, and requisite skills that are needed for the role you’re advertising, and make sure that they are explicitly defined in the job ad. Areas to highlight include: 

  • Specific technical knowledge needed
  • Qualifications 
  • Particular Soft skills 
  • Required Experience 

By stipulating these things, you’ll stand a better chance of drawing in suitable talent and discouraging unsuitable candidates, saving you time and money. 

It is also worth including some details about the company culture to ensure you get candidates who are the right fit. Provide a mission statement that highlights your values. If, for example, you are proud of your work around diversity and inclusion, highlight that you are a welcoming employer striving to provide equal opportunities for all. 

Use a Specialized Recruitment Agency 

Businesses going it alone in the search for IT talent can be a challenging and time-consuming experience, especially in such a competitive market.

Using a recruitment agency that specializes in IT can be hugely beneficial and allow you to concentrate on what’s important, running and growing your business. Here are the key advantages of using an IT recruitment agency:

Advanced Screening 

When it comes to finding IT talent with specific skills, we need to really understand the exact skills, certificates, and qualifications needed for the job. Specialized recruitment companies are experts in the requirements of the job and strive to understand your needs and values.  

Using this information, recruiters can carry out thorough checks of personality, values, and soft and technical skills to ensure people are a good fit. This helps them find the right people with the right technical and soft skills and fit with the company's culture. This process saves time and money for your business by making sure you are provided with only the most suitable candidates.

Access to an Extensive and Specific Talent Pool 

An IT recruitment agency develops deep relationships with professionals who have the specific skills needed for an IT support role. This enables them to build a vast talent pool of IT talent and can provide you access to candidates who have the skills and are actively looking for a new role. 

A recruitment agency can also give you access to passive candidates. These are professionals who have the right skills and aren’t actively looking to change jobs but would consider it if the right opportunity came along. Passive candidates, in particular, may not be available to a business trying to recruit alone. 

Deep Understanding of Specialized Markets

Specialized hiring firms possess an extensive understanding of the IT support industry, including precise terminology, trends, and unique challenges that characterize the IT support landscape. 

By exclusively dedicating themselves to this specific niche, agencies have cultivated an extensive network of industry connections of both employers and skilled candidates, enabling them to provide an expert and effective service. 

Elevate your Employer Branding 

One of the main difficulties employers face is ensuring that candidates are familiar with their unique brands. Having eye-catching branding and a set of stand-out values will communicate to candidates that you have a clear vision. To highlight this, before applying for a role, 75% of candidates will consider an employer’s brand before applying. 

Therefore, high-caliber applicants will be more interested in your company if they can see that you have a distinctive brand identity that sticks out from the crowd. Here are three key methods to improving your brand identity: 

Showcase Employee Success Stories 

Highlighting your employees' achievements and success stories can significantly contribute to your employer brand. When prospective candidates see that current employees are thriving and enjoying their roles, it sends a positive message about your company's opportunities.

Share employee testimonials, case studies, and success stories on your company website, social media platforms, and other relevant channels. This provides an authentic glimpse into the experiences of your team members and reinforces your employer brand.

Embrace Diversity and Inclusion

In today’s diverse and inclusive world, candidates are more likely to be attracted to companies that prioritize diversity and equity. A commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace demonstrates that your company values all employees and provides equal opportunities for growth.

Develop and communicate diversity and inclusion initiatives that showcase your commitment to creating a welcoming environment for people from all backgrounds. Highlight diversity-related achievements, such as partnerships with diverse organizations, and share stories that exemplify your company’s dedication to inclusivity.

Invest in Employee Development 

Demonstrating a commitment to employee development is a key aspect of a compelling employer brand. Top talent seeks growth and continuous learning opportunities, so offering training programs, workshops, mentorship, and other developmental opportunities can make your company more appealing.

Ask Situation-Based Interview Questions 

Asking questions that assess how your candidate would respond to potentially fraught scenarios is a great way to see how well they apply their IT knowledge in real-time. This question style urges the candidate to demonstrate their technical expertise, interpersonal skills, and ability to work well under pressure. Examples of such questions include:

  • Provide an example of a time you’d noticed a process inefficiency and what you did you rectify it.
  • Tell me about a time when you encountered a new technology or software that you were unfamiliar with. How did you quickly learn and adapt to the new technology to provide support?
  • Describe when you identified potential IT problems before they escalated into major ones. How did you proactively address the situation to prevent further complications?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult user who was experiencing technical difficulties. How did you remain calm and effectively address their concerns?
  • Can you provide an example of a project where you collaborated with other IT team members or departments to implement a technical solution? How did effective teamwork contribute to the project's success?
  • Describe a scenario where you had to support a non-technical user with a technical problem. How did you communicate effectively and ensure they understood the solution?

These types of questions support you in diving deep to understand if the candidate sitting in front of you has the personality and soft and technical skills to thrive in the role. 

The Final Word

As businesses increasingly pivot towards digital integration, the demand for skilled IT talent has surged, increasing the competition among businesses for candidates. Advertised tech roles have skyrocketed by an astonishing 42%, yet many organizations are still struggling to secure the right candidates for these pivotal positions.

As the IT industry continues to reshape the modern business landscape, the pursuit of exceptional talent has become critical. With a holistic understanding of the challenges and opportunities that characterize IT recruitment, armed with the strategies and insights highlighted in this guide, organizations can rise above the competition and secure the IT support professionals who will fuel their growth, innovation, and success in an increasingly digital world.

Discover More About Our Expertise in IT Recruitment 

Whether you are an employer looking for new IT talent to join your team or a candidate who wants to land your next IT job, we are here to support you. Franklin Fitch’s team of IT infrastructure consultants are passionate about offering exceptional recruitment services for clients and candidates; you can read all about them here

We encourage you to get in touch with us today so we can talk about your recruitment goals.