Your technical support specialist is your problem solver, your first responder, your tech paramedic on the job ready to fix what gets broken, and help maintain what needs to keep running. The responsibilities and duties of a tech support specialist vary, depending on the size of the company and how specialized they are. Finding a worthy candidate for this position can be quite the task but understanding hiring options, what to look for, and necessary skills, will improve the hiring process.
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The Development of Tech Support
As the internet grew and dependence on digital systems increased, the demand for our systems to operate incessantly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week also increased. In the early days of the internet, if your site was down, it was not a big deal. Only a select few were online and online sales or engagement were not yet deemed as necessary and valuable as they are in 2020. Today, having your site down for a day might mean a significant loss of revenue and reputability.
Most small, medium-sized, and large organizations and startups use computer systems. All of these computer systems have to be updated, maintained and fixed when something goes wrong. Many companies will hire an in-house tech support specialist and others choose to hire an independent contractor. An in house tech support might be in charge of your own company’s computer software and also serve as customer support.
Many times the work is on-call or shift work, as problems with a system can arise at any time of the day or night. Tech support specialists are the specialized mechanics of technical, hardware, and software issues. They possess a toolbox of technical skills and knowledge that comes in handy when problems arise with connectivity, software, or any number of other issues.
Challenges of Hiring Tech Support Specialists
Like filling any other position in a fast-growing company, finding the right candidate takes time and effort. So one of the challenges of hiring for this position is knowing that you are finding an applicant that possesses the necessary technical and soft skills to meet your company’s needs.
Staffing Services: Direct Placement Hiring and Remote Hiring
The hiring world has seen its fair share of changes. When it comes to hiring tech support or other important tech roles, companies have found that using third party assistance to find the third candidate is not only effective but time-efficient. Using a third party for your company hiring does not mean you’re less involved in the hiring. On the contrary, it allows you to be more involved without spending the hours in searching for possible qualified candidates. So these are two valuable options for companies to use when getting a third party to help with hiring:
- Direct Placement Hiring: Using the staffing agency as a way to bypass the recruitment process and use a third party’s connections and experience in the field to find candidates, while you take care of the hiring. This often transitions to a permanent placement, so the third party only assists on a temporary basis until you have fully taken the employee on permanently.
- Remote Hiring: Staffing services provide direct connections to qualified candidates that have been vetted for quality and experience. This provides your company with access to great candidates that can work remotely.
Who Are Today’s Tech Support Specialists?
The twenty-first century’s tech support specialist is a versatile, organized, and highly analytical systems expert that understands both software and hardware inside and out. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 863,100 tech support jobs in 2018. They work in a wide breadth of industries including financial institutions, hotels, retailing chains, schools, local government offices, and, of course, tech companies of varying sizes. Because the job requires a lot of troubleshooting, a good tech support specialist needs to be a good problem solver. An efficient and qualified tech support specialist will be:
- Provides assistance and maintenance to computer systems and hardware
- A technical expert of computer systems and networks
- Educated in software and hardware
- Experience in working with different systems
- Enthusiastic about solving computer glitches and problems.
What are their Main Responsibilities?
A tech support specialist has many responsibilities. These may differ from day to day, depending on your company. A typical day of the tech support specialist might involve the following tasks:
- Installing new technology and networks
- Configuring new technology, programs, and software
- Providing regular maintenance to existing hardware and software
- Troubleshooting systems and applications
- Providing assistance to other company employees or customers
- Replacing malfunctioning or damaged parts or hardware
- Writing status reports on hardware and software
- Running diagnostics of software
- Ensuring all systems are secure
- Conducting electrical safety tests
Technical Skills to Look For in a Tech Support Specialists
Someone who is the tech support specialist for their company needs to possess deep knowledge of a wide variety of software and hardware, as well as a technical understanding of how systems and networks operate. Their technical skills typically include:
- Software and hardware installations
- Proficiency in all operating systems
- Spreadsheet applications
- Advanced database manipulation
- Network design and implementation
- Database performance modification
- Software performance modification
Soft Skills to Look For in Your Tech Support Specialist
In addition to the list of technical skills you want your tech support specialist to have, there are several soft skills that are necessary for the job. Soft skills refer to unquantifiable skills that are an asset for any company but are not always easy to spot, as they are not the kind of things that go on paper.
These soft skills include:
- Adaptability and versatility: These two are key in any tech role, as these jobs require the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, technology, and dealing with problems.
- Analytical skills and attention to detail: Tech support specialists are problem solvers. They, therefore, have to possess analytical skills and attention to detail that allows them to troubleshoot or work backward from a problem.
- Communication: Many times, a tech support specialist is helping people that might not have the experience or knowledge they have in the field. This means that having to explain a problem to someone, or what went wrong, is part of the job. The ability to communicate technical information clearly and concisely is always a plus.
Common Interview Questions and Skills Assessments
There is any number of questions one can ask when finding a person for this role. Many times, it will depend on what the tech support specialists role will be in your company and whether they’ll be working with other employees or for customers. It’ll also depend on whether you need them to be highly specialized in a particular type of system or need them to be more well-rounded.
Here are a couple of sample questions we gathered that might be useful:
- What is your troubleshooting process? An interviewer can learn a lot from this question, as it reveals the problem-solving skills and process of the candidate and gives an idea of their knowledge.
- Have them solve a sample network problem. Create a specific scenario and ask the candidate how they might troubleshoot or try to fix the given problem.
- How confident are you in your ability to explain complicated IT issues in a way most people could understand? Your IT person will likely need to explain complicated problems to customers or employees. It’s important to know that communication skills to do this are present.
- Can you explain what subnetting is that doesn’t have any technical background? This is an example of question 3, as it gives the candidate a specific concept to communicate.
- What is the difference between the router, switch, and hub? You likely want to dig into their technical knowledge a little more and find out how they understand these concepts.
Job Description for a Tech Support Specialist
You want your job description to communicate or convey your company ethos. You might even have it state your company mission and the top priorities that you’re looking for in a candidate. Also, include any specific systems or hardware that your company uses, and that will be needed by your tech support, whether it is a specific kind of software, hardware, etc.
- Expected hours of availability: some tech support specialists have to be on call 24/7 if the company requires after-hours maintenance and assistance. Make sure to specify this in your description.
- Soft skills that are particularly important to your company. For example, if you’re looking for someone that will be working with customers, maybe technical communication might be on the top list to include.
Job Title: Highly Qualified Tech Support Specialist
Years of Experience:
- 0 to 1
- 1 to 3
- 4 to 6
- 7 to 9
- 10 to 14
- City, Country
- Full time
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a computer support specialist can expect to make around $53, 470 a year or around $25.70/hour.
Get the Support You Need: Find the Right Tech Support Specialist for Your Company
Whether you are a tech company or not, you’re likely using some kind of computer system or network to keep your operation running. There is likely some kind of software, hardware, and office-wide secure network. Finding the right candidate for your tech support specialist role means finding someone with the flexibility and technical skills required to fix and maintain all of it.
CodersLink can help you find good candidates for your company. Have questions about the hiring process or how a staffing agency can help you? Let us know.