I have been observing my employers and clients over a 20 year IT support career and can now offer up some advice on the characteristics of the perfect IT support guy, for you to pass on to your recruiting agency. With this guy on your team you will know you have made the right choice.
1. He will speak clear, easily understandable English, not technobabble.
2. He will be well-groomed, clean shaven, etc.
3. He will know the little tricks for shortcuts in all your applications and provide on-the-spot training without notice.
4. He will turn up at your elbow as soon as you discover your system has let you down.
5. He will understand your business and its drivers, care about your success and profit and know every technology from cloud, social media, PCs to servers to email to web servers to security to telephones and security systems and all of your business systems including your general ledger.
6. He will work without breaks for 48 hours at a time to repair a system that has failed (and not develop BO or need a shave).
7. He will never tell you how you should have invested more before it failed.
8. When he finally goes home to rest, he will answer the phone within three rings every half an hour as you or one of your staff find another problem.
9. He will not take sick leave later in the week just because he is exhausted.
10. He will never ask for a pay rise.
11. He has already read the manuals on the technology your company adopted last week, as well as the one you are thinking about buying next week and can advise you whether it will work for you or not with only an hour’s research.
12. He will make sure his holiday backup guy knows everything he knows about everything he has ever touched for you or any of your staff.
13. He will turn up at your office to fix the most trivial of problems so you don’t have to hang on the phone and help him with “his” job.
14. He will never waste your time by asking you for details to log into a ticketing system.
15. He will not trivialise or forget about any of your technical problems.
16. He will always have the connector you need for that extra monitor or memory card in his tool kit, and give it to you for free because it’s a spare.
17. He will understand that problems are always his fault and only charge you when he is certain his efforts have added massive value to your business. (He will never comment that the printer problem was caused by your son’s plastic dinosaur stuck inside.)
Yes, the ideal IT guy is a genius.
He also loves helping people solve the most trivial of problems at least as much as making better strategic use of technology and he cares nothing for money. He has telepathic powers, empathy and communication skills; he does not need sleep and spends his spare time reading technical manuals to feed his photographic memory just in case he is asked one day.
If you have one of these individuals to spare, I am hiring. Of course, if there were more women in IT we just would not have this problem…right?
Seriously though, what we know is that it takes a team of experts across a range of technologies with deep experience in specific technologies to meet the demands of even a relatively simple business.
So the real question is: do you understand the demands you are placing on limited individuals well enough or have you lumped IT into a box with one person’s name on it to simplify your own life?
It may be time to consider a more realistic approach to resourcing your IT department.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that ensures IT is never an impediment to growth.