12 traits hiring managers look for in help desk job candidates

1. A real desire to help people.

This person does a great job because they truly want to help others, not because it’s “their job”. They work hard to play hard, find joy in their day-to-day tasks, and have passion for their role.

2. Works ‘with’ and not ‘for’ the customers.

A superior support agent sees the customer as an equal partner, and considers themselves an extension of the customer’s team. Identifying with the customer as a partner helps support agents treat problems as their own and provide a level of service that they would expect themselves.

3. Positive and optimistic approach to problem-solving.

Support jobs can be difficult, but this person doesn’t allow negative customer interactions to become contagious. In the face of a tense or charged situation, this person knows how to stay logical and focus on solving the issue at hand. They approach customers with empathy, don’t complain about customers when things get tough, and look for what can be learned from the situation.


4. Creates and cultivates a playful and relaxed work environment.

This person enjoys themselves at work, spreading a positive can-do attitude. A great support agent integrates a bit of fun into their daily tasks to make everyone’s loads a little lighter. Office pranks are always a fun way to do this.

5. Collaborative team spirit.

This person feels responsible not only for their own tasks, but also cares about their team’s workload, too. They know when to ask for and offer help, and understand how much they can take on at a time. They care about the team’s success, and are happy to sacrifice personal goals when needed to help the team achieve its goals. There are times you will get pulled into a call that lasts for hours on end, so it’s good to know the team can cover for you.

6. Passion for the product.

An awesome support agent is an informed champion of their products. They’re enthusiastic about using them, understanding how they work inside and out, and seek to improve them. This natural curiosity drives them to tinker, and truly understand how the product works, not just how to fix it when something breaks. This type of passion for the product shows up in customer interactions, and it’s infectious.


7. All-star communication skills.

A great help desk agent simply enjoys communicating with customers. They know it’s essential to listen and understand before being heard. This person strives for transparency, and communicates with tact. They know how to adapt their style to different kinds of customers – from those that want to be your best friend, to those that just want the problem solved. Their natural teaching skills help customers understand the product enough to even solve issues on their own.

8. Advocates for the customer – with balance.

This person feels the customer’s pain, and uses their resources to go above and beyond to help the customer reach a solution. They look beyond 1:1 customer interactions to solve problems globally, and in turn, help even more customers. This could be something as simple as updating knowledge base information or filing a bug or feature request. At the same, they know how to prioritize their day, and are careful not to dive too deep into one problem at the cost of other customers.

9. Real respect for the customer.

In a help desk job, it’s important to acknowledge customers by name and build meaningful relationships with them. This person caters to the customer’s needs regardless of where they fall on the technical and product knowledge spectrum, always doing so in a respectful manner which is never condescending or patronizing.


10. Detective-like troubleshooting skills.

From the moment a ticket is submitted, this person knows how to ask the right questions and gather the available data to narrow down the root cause of the issue. Like Sherlock Holmes, they leave no stone unturned in figuring out what’s really going on.

11. Analytical and process-oriented approach.

This person understands support processes are important, and not only follows them, but helps improve them. They take an analytical approach to driving change, and use data to support their assertions.

12. Care for quality over quantity.

When you have a long list of tickets, and know there are more coming in, it’s tempting to work on as many as possible, without truly solving the problem at hand. Focusing on the quality of the support you give, as opposed to the quantity of tickets you touch, will ensure you’re actually solving problems and creating happy customers.


Land the job

All of these traits help hiring managers know if help desk job candidates would be a good fit, from an experience and cultural perspective. “Will this person embody our values and help cultivate a culture of customer success?” “Will they continually seek to learn, grow, and make the product better?” Being able to demonstrate this cultural fit is just as – if not more important – as the technical skills you possess.

Being a help desk or support agent isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s a rewarding career for those that want to help others and learn a lot. At Atlassian, we are always looking for new people to join our awesome support team. Check out out the jobs we’re hiring for.

Want more? Learn about the different types of help desk, read our blog articles about customer service, or learn more about Jira Service Desk, our customer service and IT support tool used by over 20,000 support teams.

This article is located at: https://www.atlassian.com/blog/it-teams/12-qualities-help-desk-job


Help desk technicians (and all IT professionals) need a full range of hard and soft skills to excel in their career. Hard skills are specific, measurable abilities, such as configuring Windows or troubleshooting a Cisco network, while soft skills refer to a person’s capacity to effectively interact with others. As demand for IT talent continues to rise and the workforce becomes more competitive, those who compliment their knowledge and training with superior soft skills will be in the best position for long-term success.

Here are five of the most advantageous soft skills for IT help desk technicians:

  • Critical Thinking

    Oftentimes, help desk technicians have flow charts or predefined procedures they can follow to resolve known problems. However, it’s impossible to create documentation for every possible situation. Successful technicians employ critical thinking skills to evaluate the current issue and compare it to past problems they've seen. They can then draw on this experience to troubleshoot and resolve unique and more complex problems.

    Critical thinking typically includes the following activities:
    • Actively thinking: Technicians use their intelligence, experience, knowledge, and creativity to explore a problem and identify a solution.
    • Questioning: Critical thinkers often ask themselves questions about a problem or issue, and then seek out the answer. When troubleshooting, technicians identify a theory of a probable cause and then attempt to validate the theory.
    • Changing perspectives: Solutions are often more obvious when a technician looks at a problem from a different perspective, such as that of a user.
    • Evaluating evidence: The critical thinker is able to use reason to evaluate existing facts and arrive at a substantiated conclusion.
  • Written Communication

    Effective written communication is vital in help desk and technical support job roles, especially in organizations that use a knowledge-base or CRM (customer relationship management) system. Technicians use these systems to look up common problems and solutions. In order for these databases to be useful, technicians must succinctly document their actions after they resolve a problem. Managers and supervisors also use these systems to review and evaluate your work for promotions.

    Consider these two entries written by different technicians:
    • "System broke… fixed it."
    • "System was manually configured with incorrect IP address. Reconfigured to use DHCP. Verified problem was resolved."
    The first entry is cute; it might even earn some chuckles from fellow technicians. However, the second entry provides valuable information for a knowledge-base, which can be easily indexed and searched by keyword.
  • Active Listening

    Active listening is among the most valuable interpersonal communication skills. Think about a time when you were talking to a friend and it was apparent he or she wasn't paying attention. How did that make you feel? Ignored? Angry? Resentful? Users know when you aren't listening to them and have the same feelings.

    Active listeners pay attention to what someone is saying; they make eye contact, nod and occasionally voice their understanding. When they don’t understand something, they ask questions to get clarification (sans interrupting). Small nuances like this in the way you interact with people, when taken over a period of time, go a long way in building a positive relationship with users, coworkers and management.
  • Verbal Communication

    Verbal communication skills are critical to your success as a help desk technician. For example, a user might complain of something vague like “The server is down” or “The Internet is down.” A technician might know an organization has more than one server and it’s unlikely the Internet is down, so he needs to gather more information to diagnose the problem.

    Consider these two questions used by technicians to get more information:
    • "Why do you think the Internet is down?"
    • "What symptoms are you seeing?"
    Both questions are open-ended, which is useful when you’re probing for information from a user. However, the first question starts with “why,” which takes on a tone of interrogation. As a rule, it’s best to avoid starting any question with “why.” It puts people on the defensive and can easily create an adversarial relationship. Alternatively, the second question begins to foster a collaborative relationship with the user and indicates the technician is there to help.
  • Conflict Resolution

    While it’s best to use language that avoids conflicts, there are times when a customer will become angry during a trouble call. Successful help desk technicians must know how to handle these difficult situations.

    One of the primary elements of conflict resolution during a technical support call is recognizing that the user or customer is rarely angry with the technician - at least they don’t start out that way. Instead, the customer is typically frustrated with the situation and wants the problem resolved.

    If a help desk technician uses a phrase like “why are you so angry,” it is sure to escalate the problem. However, if the technician stays focused on the problem and expresses some empathy, the customer is much more likely to calm down. It’s as simple as sounding sensitive to the user’s frustrations, and then guiding the conversation to the problem. A technician who’s skilled in conflict resolution may say something like “I’m sorry you’ve experienced this issue, but I want to help you.” Empathy goes a long way in diffusing difficult situations.

Hard skills can get you the job, but soft skills will help you take it to the next level. Help desk technicians (and all career-minded professionals, IT or otherwise) who are serious about performing to their peak capacity, should demonstrate a mastery of critical thinking, verbal and written communication, active listening and conflict resolution skills.

This article is located at: https://www.itcareerfinder.com/brain-food/blog/entry/soft-skills-to-excel-as-an-it-help-desk-technician.html