Bowman Williams is a permanent staffing firm that serves the MSP industry. They partner with their clients to source strong IT generalists who are experienced in autonomously supporting multiple sites in the field or remotely. They can act as your outsourced HR department to help you find the right IT and sales talent.
John Davenjay, CEO of Bowman Williams shares some of his insights into finding and hiring new talent.
John, why is it that most MSPs have trouble finding the talent they need?
There’s no secret to staffing and recruiting. It just takes time and money. Bowman Williams does this for our clients. We place ads around the country – we have 500 ads circulating in all the major U.S. cities at all times. We conduct 40 to 60 Skype interviews each week with MSP candidates. Because we do this all day, every day, our clients never lack the talent they need.
Most MSPs don’t have this process in place. Plus, they wait too long to hire and don’t start looking for new employees until they have a staffing crisis on their hands. Bowman Williams has the talent ready to send. We’ve already interviewed and vetted the best candidates. As one of our clients, all you need to do is press a button, and you'll have half a dozen MSP candidates in your inbox within 48 hours. Now you can be picky about who you hire.
Do you search for MSP sales professionals as well?
Yes, Bowman Williams recruits professional MSP salespeople. Most companies with five to 20 employees, doing an annual business of 1 to 5 million dollars, find it difficult to hash out the right sales equation to do this. Nor do they have the processes or business model in place to hire the right salespeople. This must come first. It’s about sales inputs and outputs and closing these deals. Instead, they go out and find a junior-level salesperson to work part-time. This isn't the way to succeed in the MSP industry.
MSPs need a professional salesperson to develop and implement sales campaigns, get their name out there, generate inbound leads, and manage all the sales tactics. Most MSP companies haven’t begun to develop this process, much less find the right talent to carry it out.
What about vetting for experience, skillsets, and culture fit?
To screen out the bad hires, you’ve got to “kiss a lot of frogs” and interview tons of candidates. Then you must match their skill sets with your needs. The technical skills simply come from having a background in managed services, SLA-driven environments, infrastructure support, and determining their capability as a Tier-1, 2 or 3 technicians.
Recruiting for culture fit isn't so black and white. For this, we do 30-minute Skype interviews, and we record them with the candidate's permission. The following day, the teams from our six offices watch these Skype interviews, and we weigh in on client-facing skills, troubleshooting skills, logical-thinking skills, and overall placement capability. We “connect all the dots” to ensure a good culture fit.
We think this works well. On average, when we send four candidates to a client, they hire one.
Do you conduct any type of testing?
We provide an MSP Technical Assessment that's comprised of tests we've collected from managed service providers over the years. We're transparent with this assessment and always send it to a client beforehand so they can add to it or change it to fit their unique requirements. However, we don't feel the need to do DISC personality profile assessments. Some of our clients use them, but we find that our Skype interview assessments cover this.
If an MSP is crazy enough to do their own hiring, what are 3 lessons you’ve learned that you can share so they don’t make any glaring mistakes?
- You must develop your own hiring model and process first. However, most will find this to be very difficult and time-consuming.
- Don't settle. Many MSPs do this just to hire someone quickly to fill a need, or because they can't spend the time to find the right talent.
- Make sure your candidate meets all your technical requirements, and that they can handle your pace and demands.
What mistakes do MSPs make when hiring a sales professional?
Many tend to look for sales professionals who mirror their own skills and characteristics. This isn't the right approach. MSPs are good at what they do based on their technical skills. A salesperson should be good at what we spoke of above – building the input and output of the sales process. You wouldn't just put a "Band-Aid" on an IT problem rather than putting a procedure in place to correct it. Your salesperson shouldn't go out the door with sales materials under his arm without a sound and proven strategy in place.
More About John and Bowman Williams
Bowman Williams is a national MSP recruiting firm with offices in Washington D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles. Forbes recently rated them 137th of the best-recruiting firms in America.
John knows about MSPs. He used to be one and started a successful company with eight employees. Then he started his own MSP recruiting firm and parlayed this into his position as the CEO of Bowman Williams.
Do you need help with recruiting for your MSP business? For more information, visit BowmanWilliams.com.
Or, visit John at LinkedIn (That’s how Ulistic found him. LinkedIn is a powerful business tool.)