Recruiting the right people is tough – ask any service desk manager with empty seats to fill. Candidates are in short supply and those that you do see, somehow just aren’t quite what you’re looking for. Common feedback we hear at SDI is “the tech skills were there but just couldn’t see them as part of our team”.
In the world of service desk and ITSM, technical skills are no longer enough. With the emphasis now being put on Customer Experience (CX) never have soft skills been more important. Today’s service desk analyst has to have great communication skills, be an active listener and a fantastic team player. The days of the lone-wolf tech support guy are long gone.
The Shift Towards Soft Skills in ITSM
Historically, IT professionals were primarily valued for their technical skills but the landscape has evolved and effective communication is essential for interacting with customers, understanding their issues, and conveying technical solutions in a ‘non-techy’ manner.
Adept problem solvers will troubleshoot issues efficiently, identify root causes, and implement effective solutions. Teamwork is vital, as collaboration ensures streamlined processes, efficient service delivery, and a more cohesive working environment.
Transferable Skills and the Unlikely Sources
One fascinating aspect of the emphasis on soft skills in ITSM is the recognition of transferable skills. SDI, along with forward-thinking hiring managers, acknowledges that some of the best service desk analysts may come from unconventional backgrounds. Some of the best customer service experience can be gained in the most unlikely places for a career in IT – think fast food outlets, high street shops and contact centres.
Service desk analysts often serve as the frontline support for end-users and represent the entire IT service to the business, requiring strong communication skills, the ability to handle pressure and a talent for problem-solving. All these skills are honed behind the counter, on the shop floor or taking calls all day. By acknowledging the transferability of these skills, managers can tap into a diverse talent pool, ensuring a broader range of perspectives and capabilities within their ITSM teams.
When hiring younger candidates – Gen Z’s ‘digital natives’ – the tech skills are often already there, and just need to be refined, or training given to support bespoke apps. It has always been said that you should hire character and train skills, and never has this been truer.
As a hiring manager, next time you see a CV but dismiss it as there isn’t any tech support experience, perhaps have a re-think, look at where the person has gained experience and understand that hospitality, retail and call centres have their role to play in providing service desk staff.
Look at hobbies too: gamers are amazing problem solvers and sport players are often focused and determined team players.
As the ITSM landscape continues to evolve, soft skills are becoming the differentiator between candidates. The person who may not yet know all about your software but has great communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills, probably has all the aptitude and attitude needed to enhance your team. As one of our clients said last week, “I want candidates who are coach-able”…
By understanding the transferability of these skills, you can identify top talent from diverse backgrounds, ensuring a well-rounded and capable ITSM workforce.
At SDI we ensure that our candidates not only possess the technical acumen required for the role but also excel in areas crucial for effective service delivery – after all ITSM is not solely dependent on technical knowledge but on the ability to understand and address the needs of end-users.