How to Hire a Desktop Support Analyst

By Robert Half on July 14, 2020 at 2:20pm

Technology has enabled the modern worker to be more productive than ever. The flip side? Even minor IT hiccups can leave employees struggling to complete important tasks. That’s why every company that relies on technology also relies on desktop support analysts, or DSAs. Their job is to swoop in and solve IT problems quickly.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has prompted a temporary mass shift to remote working, talented desktop support analysts are more in demand than ever. They’re often the ones helping employees handle the glitches that can arise when working from home, and they’re also helping organizations to upgrade and expand their IT infrastructure to meet the needs of a remote workforce.

Unsurprisingly, qualified candidates are in short supply right now. To find a first-rate desktop support analyst, you’ll need to define the role you want them to play, convey that information in a compelling job post and then quickly assess applicants — before they look elsewhere.

Here are tips on how to hire a desktop support analyst:

Define the role

Depending on your organizational structure, a desktop support analyst might deal directly with users or with an internal intermediary, the help desk operator, who receives requests from users and, in turn, assigns them to a DSA. Typical issues handled by desktop support analysts include:

  • Software configuration
  • Connectivity issues
  • Hardware repair and replacement
  • Screen-sharing and remote access tools to assist users
  • Set-ups of new workstations and mobile devices, including phones and tablets

DSAs also contribute to other IT projects, such as system upgrades and rollouts of new software.

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Craft a precise desktop support analyst job description

The scope of the desktop support analyst role can vary enormously so you need to be as specific as possible in defining what it entails in your particular organization. Pinpointing the skills you need in a desktop support analyst will discourage the flood of applicants you’d get with a vague job posting. Also, having a clear idea of the DSA’s core tasks will help you identify the kinds of abilities and experience ideal candidates should possess. Make sure you highlight your main requirements, including:

Core technical skills: A desktop support analyst must know how to work with the essential elements of your tech stack (your technology infrastructure). This can include your email servers, cloud systems, databases and networking and security systems. The best candidates will know how to install, configure and maintain the entire stack.

Desirable technical skills: Other tech skills might be desirable, without being deal-breakers if an otherwise great candidate lacks them. Examples include experience with network configuration, coding and data analytics. Be sure to specify which skills are must-have and which ones are nice-to-have. 

Soft skills: Desktop support analysts must have excellent communication skills, particularly if a large part of their role involves talking remote workers through problems. Excellent problem-solving skills and a willingness to take initiative on projects is critical. Written skills are important too, as DSAs need to complete reports and may also contribute to other documentation.

Education and experience: Most employers look for a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline. However, given the current demand for desktop support analysts, many companies will accept candidates without a degree if they have substantial experience. Some relevant qualifications include HDI, CompTIA, Microsoft Certified IT Professional or Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate.

Work with a specialized recruiter

For an in-demand tech position such as desktop support analyst, it’s often best to go straight to a staffing firm specializing in placing IT professionals. Robert Half Technology recruiters understand the specific requirements of the role and they maintain a deep and broad network of highly skilled IT professionals. 

After learning which systems your DSA needs to support, they can suggest people with relevant experience. They can also help you narrow your search for specific needs. Robert Half Technology also makes it easy to hire professionals who can work remotely.

Keep the hiring process moving

Professionals with in-demand skills, such as desktop support analysts, may have multiple job offers. If you don’t want to lose a promising candidate, you shouldn’t delay the hiring process. To ensure you don’t miss out, you’ll need to:

  • Get all your relevant colleagues to sign off on the job description. Otherwise, there may be a time-consuming debate about what kind of candidate is needed for the DSA role.
  • Ask the right technical questions. You’ll need to ask questions about user-facing systems, as well as any back-end systems that the DSA might interact with. You’ll also want to cover security and compliance issues.
  • Ask the right nontechnical questions too. Establish whether the candidate has the required soft skills by asking open-ended questions. These require thought and elaboration and help you understand a candidate’s motivations, work ethic and work style. And asking how candidates handled interpersonal situations in past jobs can give you insight into whether they are a fit with your company culture.
  • Schedule second interviews quickly. Second interviews can add to recruitment time. Should you need to conduct one, set it up as soon as possible.

When you’ve found the right job candidate, don’t delay in making the offer.

Research desktop support analyst salary ranges

The Robert Half Technology 2020 Salary Guide reports that the median starting salary for a desktop support analyst is $61,500. This varies according to location and experience, of course. You can use our Salary Calculator to find out what kind of salary job candidates might expect in your market.

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