IT Support technicians are crucial to businesses as they provide technical assistance and support by diagnosing and resolving software, hardware, and network issues. They play a vital role in installing, configuring, and maintaining computer systems and software, responding to inquiries, troubleshooting problems, and offering guidance and training to users. Ensuring the efficient operation of computer systems, addressing performance and security concerns, and collaborating with IT teams for upgrades and enhancements are among their responsibilities. Accurate documentation of support activities and staying updated on emerging technologies further enhance their support capabilities. Getting the right candidate for the job is essential to handle these critical tasks effectively and efficiently.
IT Support technicians are often referred to as 1st, 2nd or 3rd Line Support, with the different levels referring to the complexity of the issues they deal with.
Larger organisations with extensive IT infrastructure and a high volume of support requests may find having an in-house IT support team more cost-effective. In contrast, smaller businesses with limited budgets might outsource their requirements to a third-party provider. Outsourcing can be more affordable as it eliminates the need to hire full-time staff and manage their associated costs.
Whether you’re an employer seeking in-house IT support staff or an IT service provider looking to expand your team, below are the considerations to consider when looking for your next star hire.
Technical Skills to Look For on an IT Support CV
While there are many technical skills to look for in IT support candidates, the specific requirements can vary from one company to another. Your company size, industry, technology infrastructure, and regulatory compliance will influence the skill set you seek. However, below are some basic skills that all first-line support should have:
Look for evidence of solid troubleshooting skills, including the ability to diagnose and resolve software, hardware, and network issues efficiently. Candidates may be certified in CompTIA A+, but this is optional.
Check for proficiency in popular operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, or Unix and the ability to troubleshoot and support users on these platforms.
Hiring Managers should assess the candidate’s familiarity with computer hardware components, peripherals, and their installation, configuration, and troubleshooting. Setups vary from company to company, and professionals in this field should be fine transitioning from one structure to another.
Look for experience supporting and troubleshooting typical software applications such as Microsoft Office Suite, web browsers, email clients, antivirus software, and specialised business applications.
Certifications like Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) or specific application-specific certifications can demonstrate proficiency in software applications. However, this is optional, as practical experience and hands-on troubleshooting skills are often considered equally important for IT support roles.
Employers should verify the candidate’s understanding of networking concepts, including TCP/IP, DNS, DHCP, VPN, wireless networking, and troubleshooting network connectivity issues. Industry-recognised certifications to look for include CompTIA Network+, Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Juniper Networks Certified Associate (JNCIA), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) or Certified Network Security Professional (CNSP).
Assess their experience with remote support tools like remote desktop software, VPN clients, and ticketing systems to provide remote assistance efficiently.
Look for knowledge of Active Directory basics, including user account management, group policy, and security permissions.
Check for familiarity with backup solutions, data recovery techniques, and disaster recovery procedures to ensure data protection and business continuity.
Assess their understanding of basic IT security principles, including user access controls, password management, and best practices for data protection.
Determine if they have experience in hardware and software upgrades, such as RAM installations, hard drive replacements, operating system updates, and software patches.
Check for familiarity with mobile operating systems (iOS, Android), mobile device management (MDM) solutions, and the ability to troubleshoot mobile device issues.
Look for candidates who document support activities and contribute to knowledge-base resources for future reference.
Soft Skills That Make Excellent IT Support Technicians
In addition to technical skills, IT support professionals require specific soft skills to excel in their roles. Individuals with the below qualities are more likely to provide effective support, build positive relationships with users, and contribute to a productive and collaborative IT environment.
Effective communication is crucial for IT support professionals to understand user issues, explain technical solutions in non-technical terms, and provide clear instructions. Strong listening skills and the ability to convey information concisely are essential.
IT support professionals interact directly with end-users, so having a customer service mindset is vital. Patience, empathy, and the ability to remain calm and professional, even in challenging situations, are character traits that make for excellent customer service.
IT support professionals must be adept at analysing problems, identifying root causes, and developing practical solutions. Strong problem-solving skills help them navigate complex issues, troubleshoot effectively, and find innovative solutions to technical challenges.
The IT landscape evolves rapidly, and IT support professionals must be adaptable and quick to learn new technologies, tools, and processes. They should embrace change, stay updated with industry trends, and continuously enhance their skills to meet evolving IT demands.
IT support professionals often handle multiple tasks and support requests simultaneously. Effective time management, prioritisation, and meeting deadlines are crucial for providing timely support and managing workload efficiently.
IT support professionals frequently collaborate with colleagues, IT teams, and external vendors. Working effectively as a team, sharing knowledge, and contributing to collective problem-solving efforts are essential for seamless collaboration and achieving common goals.
Accurate documentation of support activities, troubleshooting steps, and resolutions is essential for future reference. Attention to detail helps IT support professionals ensure thoroughness in their work, reduce errors, and maintain accurate records.
IT support professionals handle sensitive data and have access to confidential information. Upholding professional standards, maintaining integrity, and adhering to ethical guidelines are essential to ensure the privacy and security of systems and data.
Is A Degree Necessary for IT Support?
Degrees in IT or Computer Science or an apprenticeship in IT Support or Infrastructure could be advantageous to someone in this role but are optional. Employers should focus on practical skills and hands-on experience rather than formal education. I
Challenges Employers Face When Hiring IT Support
Employers can face several challenges when hiring IT support professionals. Here are some common challenges they may encounter:
The demand for skilled IT support professionals often exceeds the available supply, leading to a skill shortage. Employers may, therefore, struggle to find candidates with the right combination of technical expertise, troubleshooting skills, and soft skills required for the role.
The IT landscape constantly evolves, with new technologies and systems emerging regularly. Employers may find it challenging to keep up with the latest developments and identify candidates with up-to-date knowledge and skills in emerging technologies.
IT support roles can be highly competitive, and other organisations may pursue employees with valuable skills. Retaining skilled IT support professionals can be challenging, especially where strong competition exists in the local job market. High turnover rates can disrupt support operations and increase recruitment and training costs.
Entry-level IT support positions often require practical experience, but many candidates may lack hands-on experience in a professional work environment. Employers may need to invest in training and mentoring programs to bridge the experience gap and develop the skills of new hires.
Organisations have diverse IT infrastructures and support needs. Employers may face challenges finding candidates who can adapt to their specific technology stack and support requirements. Different industries and sectors may also have unique compliance regulations or security considerations that further complicate the hiring process.
While technical skills are crucial, employers also value soft skills such as communication, customer service, and problem-solving abilities. Finding candidates who possess a strong blend of both can be challenging, as it requires assessing technical competence and interpersonal capabilities.
IT support professionals often work closely with other teams and end-users. Employers seek candidates who align with the organisation’s culture, values, and work ethic. Identifying candidates who possess technical skills and fit well within the organisational culture is often challenging.
How We Can Help
With two decades of specialised expertise and IT industry knowledge, Adria Solutions can assist employers in overcoming the challenges of hiring digital marketing managers in the following ways:
When you work with us, you gain access to a broader network of IT professionals and assistance with sourcing and attracting qualified candidates for IT support positions. We employ various recruitment strategies, including job postings to multiple job boards, candidate screening, and networking, to identify suitable candidates with the necessary skills and qualifications.
Our specialist IT recruitment team has a deep understanding of the IT industry and the specific skills required for IT support roles. Their expertise in the IT industry positions us excellently to guide employers on the technical skills, certifications, and qualifications that are most relevant and sought after in the market. This expertise ensures that employers clearly understand the skills they should be looking for when hiring IT support professionals.
We conduct thorough candidate assessments to evaluate their technical skills, experience, and suitability for the role. This comprehensive screening saves employers time assessing candidates’ proficiency in troubleshooting, customer service, communication, and problem-solving. This evaluation process helps identify candidates who have the technical capabilities and possess the necessary soft skills for success in IT support roles.
Our team stay updated with the latest trends and developments in the IT industry so we can provide employers with valuable market insights, including information on salary benchmarks, industry demands, and emerging technologies. Our clients find this information invaluable in making informed decisions and staying ahead of the competition to attract and retain IT support professionals.
Employers have unique requirements and challenges, so we tailor our services to meet our clients’ needs. Whether that’s identifying candidates with expertise in specific technologies, managing high-volume recruitment, or providing specialised support for niche industries. The flexibility and adaptability we provide help employers find the right IT support professionals for their organisation.
The information on this page is correct at the time of publication. However, as technology evolves so rapidly, the requirements of this role may change. For tailored hiring advice unique to your circumstances, please speak to our expert team of IT, Digital and Marketing recruiters.