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5 Tips for Hiring the Best Service Desk Staff

March 26, 2020

5 Tips for Hiring the Best Service Desk Staff

Finding the best employees for any discipline can be a challenge, and good candidates don’t have much patience for a lethargic hiring process. Hiring the best service desk staff requires the hiring manager to research things like new trends in the industry, average asking salaries, new technology, hard and soft skills, etc. Good preliminary planning can help you avoid interview and hiring nightmares. This blog provides five tips to help pinpoint the top tier service desk team members.

1. Give the candidate a hypothetical

A great way to determine how well an applicant would handle the job is by proposing hypothetical situations. Think of common occurrences that your current service desk technicians need to resolve. Hypothetical questions may look like:

  • How would you handle an influx of support tickets if you’re the only technician working that day?
  • An employee sends a frustrated message about how long it’s taking to service a laptop. How do you respond?
  • You escalate a ticket to the network team, but no one has responded. What are your next steps?

Their answers can demonstrate their level of professionalism, critical thinking, and if they can communicate effectively.

2. Learn about their career so far

A successful service desk professional must have strong technical skills and a good understanding of the IT industry and digital transformation. To find out what the candidate knows and has done so far in their career, go beyond their resume. Use professional resources like LinkedIn to see what their interests are, common connections you two share, and endorsements other professionals have given them.

The interview process should be a two-way conversation. Let the candidate talk freely. Have them express what they enjoy about the IT industry, what projects they’re working on, and how they define success. This will provide insight into what you can expect from them and their level of dedication to the job.

3. Determine if there’s chemistry between you, your team, and the candidate

Think of this like a first date. You usually know within the first few minutes if something is going well. Does this person keep your interest, or are they just talking to fill space? Do they maintain eye contact? Is their posture open or closed off? These scenarios are no different when looking for the ideal service desk professional. In the role, they’ll be in constant communication with other employees to ensure those employees have the resources to do their jobs. It’s crucial for them to work well with others and effectively communicate verbally and non-verbally.

Include other members of your IT service desk team during the interview process to ask their own questions. Watch as they engage and look for chemistry cues. After the interview, talk with those current employees to see if the conversation felt natural and if the candidate is worth moving forward with. Their insight can be valuable, especially since they would be working with this person daily.

4. Assess the candidate’s work ethic

This is where tough questions should be asked. Like the above hypotheticals, this area can give cues on how motivated the candidate is.

  • What tasks are you least interested in doing?
    • What is your approach toward those tasks?
  • What’s one of the toughest decisions you had to make as an IT professional?

As I mentioned in my recent Q&A, top soft skills IT service desk pros need, these questions should be thought-provoking and leave the candidate thinking about their responses even after the interview.

Some interviewers give job applicants a list of hypothetical projects and ask them to prioritize the projects. How a candidate prioritizes work can clue you in on their commitment and willingness to get the job done.

5. Do a thorough check of their references

If you think you want to move forward with the candidate, give their professional and personal references a call. Pay attention to the tone and language those references use to describe the candidate. Depending on what you’re looking for, that person may qualify for a second interview or may not need further consideration.

Finding the right IT service desk pro is no easy feat. It can be a drawn out, daunting process. But if you do your research both before and after bringing in candidates, ask the right questions, and have a solid plan in place, you can smooth the process.


With nearly 15 years of experience in the IT industry, Matt Cox is a lover of creating technical solutions and successful customers. As the Senior Director, Technical Operations, ITSM, he leads the talented team of ITSM solutions engineering, on-boarding, and support teams, working with customers of all sizes and across many different industries to create tailored service management solutions using ITSM and ITIL best practices. Fun fact—he once went hang gliding off a cliff in Ecuador.