What Should You Look for when Choosing an IT Company? The People.
As someone who has been in this business for more years than I care to admit, I’m often asked the question of what the most important things to consider are when choosing an IT company to work with.
While things like pricing model, location, areas of expertise and technology stack are certainly important, I actually think the answer is one that most customers often don’t think about (until it’s too late): people.
The reason I say this is because when you run into a problem with your infrastructure at 3:00am, it isn’t going to be “state-of-the-art modern technology” who picks up the phone when you place that urgent call.
It’s going to be a living, breathing human being on the other end – and you need the confidence that only comes with knowing that person has your best interests in mind.
This is a topic that I’ve been thinking about quite a bit over the last few weeks, as our hunt for a new Senior Technical Support Specialist came to a close. The hiring process is something that we take very seriously because in my mind, our people are the ones on the front lines, working day in and day out with customers. In this particular case, we needed someone who could do all that AND work well with the rest of our technical support team, too.
Our hiring process is something most clients don’t think about because they never really see it, but I think it’s important to change that perspective. I believe that understanding how and why we select our people, will help you understand why that process is so important to you, our customers.
Our Hiring Process So Far
Frontier Solutions has been incredibly lucky in our own selection process as the right people have always been there at the right time for us. However, things are much more competitive than they were in the past in terms of the strength of the job market. We’re witnessing a shift take place right before our very eyes, so we’ve had to create a more intense screening process to make sure we get the best people as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Whenever we interview people, I’d say over half of it is personal in nature for that reason. We don’t want to hear about your laundry list of certifications.
Sure, we were searching for all of the “high concept” stuff – education, technical certifications, experience, etc. – but we also knew we had to dig a bit deeper, too. Someone can be a whiz with Microsoft MCSE, Active Directory, Office 365 and more and still not be the right fit if they’re not able to function in a team environment.
We want to hear about the person sitting across the desk.
We need to know what motivates people to get up in the morning and come to work every day. We need to know how they’re going to act when working one-on-one with customers. We want to make sure they grasp the subtle nuances that this type of job requires.
We always make it a point to find someone who will actually ask for help when needed. We depend on people who are not only courteous, but who also have an exceptional attention to detail.
For the last position I was mentioning earlier, we accepted literally hundreds of resumes. We then narrowed that down to about 20 phone interviews, and condensed our options further to about 12 before we found the right fit.
In terms of the person we selected, their humility and willingness to serve was immediately apparent. Even in a short phone conversation, you could tell it was in their bones. They had a strong, organic desire to do a good job because for them, there was literally no other option.
For this person, they weren’t motivated by money. They were motivated by their own willingness to push themselves, farther, faster, harder.
It wasn’t about a paycheck, it was about pride.
In my mind, that made all the difference in the world.
Certification Don’t Support You. People Do
When you go looking for a new IT company who is supposed to intimately understand your business and help you accomplish your long-term objectives, you need access to an army of people who meet those qualifications. Yes, certifications are important, but they’re not the end of the story. Anybody can go out and get certified if they have enough time and money. But there’s something else – something that you can’t teach or pay for – that is definitely more important.
A partner is someone who is there for you through the good times and the bad. An IT company can promise you everything in the world but it ultimately won’t mean a thing if they don’t have the people to back all that up. Because without those people, you don’t have a partner at all – you have a company that probably sees you as little more than a line item on a balance sheet.
Rest assured, that is not a position you can afford to be in.
The right IT people will help you day and night because it simply won’t occur to them that there is another option. If you’re less than thrilled with your current crop of IT specialists, we might be able to help.
Are Your Current IT People Leaving You Cold? Let's Change That
The right IT people will help you day and night because it simply won't occur to them that there is another option. If you're less than thrilled with your current crop of IT specialists, we might be able to help.
Chantale Benoit is the CEO of Frontier Solutions, a Calgary IT support company that has been helping small businesses get the most from IT in a way that allows it to drive their business forward for the past 23 years. Learn more about Chantale and Frontier Solutions here.
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