Is Your MSP Prospecting and Candidate Shopping for Technical Talent?

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May 19, 2020

Video Above: Hannah O'Donnell, Director of Sales at Collabrance, talks with Denise Miller, Senior HR Consultant at PathShare® HR Services (a GreatAmerica Company), about what MSPs can do now, to work on acquiring talent for their managed services business tomorrow.

PathShare Q&A on Finding and Hiring Talent for MSPs in 2020

Finding, hiring and retaining technical talent in the IT Channel has been continuously identified by managed services businesses as a top challenge. To find out why now might be a good time for an MSP to prospect for potential candidates to fill their candidate pool, we talked with subject matter expert, Denise Miller from PathShare.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) has been a topic of conversation amongst the MSP community recently. To help MSPs gain insight on M&A best practices, a GreatAmerica hosted a webinar with Paul Dippell from Service Leadership, where they spoke a lot about the opportunity for MSPs to pick up competitors’ customers and to also consider the competition’s target customer, their technology stack and overall alignment to make a good purchase.

What about the people component in an M&A?

One the reasons an M&A can fail is because the cultural alignment of the two companies may not be a good fit.

I think considering the people part is very important too. The culture and people component matters, but I’m not sure how much time is spent on it with all the details that go into an M&A. However, evaluating if there is a strong culture and personnel alignment can help determine if the M&A is a good fit, and successful.

What are some of the things an MSP should consider with M&A personnel?

Going in with an eye for a good culture fit will be of added benefit to making the M&A more successful.

For example, let’s say you’re excited because with this M&A, you’ll gain a SME and a vCIO, something that fits well with your needs. You’ll want to consider, will they stay? Will you want them to stay? We’ve worked with companies on identifying those core cultural values, and interview questions to discern if a candidate is a good fit. In a M&A, while you won’t be interviewing employees, there are questions surrounding your core values that you can ask leadership to get a better sense, like: “Tell me about how your team collaborates?” You should also look at the reputation of the company in the employment market and ask, “What do people say about them as an employer?” After the M&A goes through, think about how can you communicate, and share your culture with those joining so the team feels the M&A is like there is an “US,” versus “THEM” environment.

Why is now a good time to be prospecting to fill your candidate pool?

Use today as an opportunity to see what talent is out there and available in the managed services market. MSPs can use this time to build their talent pipeline and candidate funnel.

Now can be a good time to go “talent shopping!” Spending time cultivating reach outs to top talent now may save you time later. It’s true some candidates may be unemployed due to the pandemic. It’s also true some are still employed but may not be happy with the way their company has handled them or COVID-19 and would be open to other options. Given this, potential candidates may be more receptive to having a conversation and you may see your response rates improve.

Candidates like companies and leaders who are forward thinking.
Reaching out to candidates now can show that you’re preparing for the future and recovery to sustain your managed services business. Finding and hiring talent can take time. There will be a point where more communities open up, there will be an influx of activity and things to get done – and you may not have dedicated time to build your candidate pool, so having these conversations now can be helpful.

What can MSPs be doing, even if they aren’t actively hiring? Should they still accept resumes?

Accepting resumes is acceptable. This can help others build confidence in your managed services business as a strong, growing organization. It shows your company is looking forward, and you can be green and growing, or brown and dying.

However, I would offer one caution if you’re accepting resumes. One of the top frustrations of job candidates is they never hear back once they submit their resume. I would recommend for MSPs who are accepting resumes to take that extra step, show courtesy, and differentiation by responding. Customer service is important to your business, show that to your candidate by being responsive. Even an automated response that their resume has been received and they’ll be contacted if their skills and experience are aligned with an opening is an acceptable response.

In addition to accepting resumes, what else can MSPs be doing during this time to fill their candidate and talent pool?

Now is a great time to review your candidate journey, as well as promote your culture and benefits of working for your company on your social media and careers webpage.

It can be attractive to a candidate to see what all you’re doing for your company right now. Why should someone work for your company? Spend time with current employees to help understand what’s so cool about your company, what they value, and incorporate their thoughts into your messaging. What the leaders may think is cool may not be what their team members think is cool.

Three other recommendations for MSPs to work on right now include:

  1. Get very clear on what the ideal candidate for the role(s) looks like. Update your job description so when you look at candidates or talk with potential candidates, you’re really dialed in on what success looks like.
  2. If you struggle to find qualified candidates or assess talent, now is the time to hone those skills.
  3. Prepare for the questions candidates may ask you. This is the time to really market your opportunity, be prepared with thoughtful answers that paint a picture in their mind of why it would be so cool to work for you and your company. It helps to be prepared so it comes out genuine and sincere.

How is PathShare helping MSPs during this time?

At PathShare, we’re actively working with MSPs who are eager to grow their IT business with the right people and talent.

There are several areas we can help, but here are some of the things we’re doing now to help MSPs find and attract talent:

  • Helping create and update job descriptions/success profiles
  • Doing assessments using benchmarks specifically for the managed services space customized for the company to evaluate, does the candidate have the necessary behaviors to be successful in THIS role in THEIR company
  • Conducting interviews. (For technical interviews we ask a member of the Collabrance team to sit in on the interview as well)
  • Preparing classroom/workshop content in the key areas of assessing talent and sourcing top talent.
  • Assisting in cultivating the culture MSPs desire now and in the future.

For more information how PathShare can help your managed services business hiring needs, please visit:

Find & Hire MSP Talent with PathShare

About Denise

Denise Miller
Senior Human Resources Consultant

Denise is a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Certified Professional and holds an additional Talent Acquisition specialty credential allowing her to help GreatAmerica customers be more successful within their hiring process. Her certification with the Activity Vector Analysis (AVA) allows her to assist in assessing talent for behavioral fit within the role they are being considered. Denise regularly conducts Professional Selling Skills® sales training classes to help support consultative selling skills. Prior to joining the PathShare team in 2013 Denise spent 10 years in a sales role at GreatAmerica working directly with dealers in the office equipment industry helping them grow their customer base.

Category: Personnel

About The Author

Hannah O'Donnell

Hannah O'Donnell, Director of Sales, is responsible for building the strategic vision for sales and marketing while providing business planning, education, training, and sales assistance to partners. She is also responsible for originating new partnerships for Collabrance. She was recognized as one of Women of the Channel by CRN, a brand of The Channel Company in 2019 and 2020. Hannah started at Collabrance in 2013 as a Strategic Business Advisor. In 2014, Hannah was nominated by her peers and won Rookie of the Year, and in 2015 became a member of the 100% Sales Achievement Club at GreatAmerica. Hannah earned her business degree in Marketing and Management Information Systems from the University of Iowa.