I am in Technical Support, or User Services as we call it. I'm very grateful for my job. I work at a top-tier research university, on a government grant, and I get to help researchers who are trying to use an enormous cloud infrastructure my team has built, that supports cancer research and is part of the cancer moonshot project. The job is aligned with my interests, it pays enough, I enjoy doing it, and I find it meaningful. I do not want to leave, and I don't think I will want to leave, ever. I have two systems administrators on my team who feel the same way about their jobs.
We've been looking for people to add to our team. I'm not the hiring manager; I am not the recruiter (we are using one); I am a team member. It's been a very frustrating process for me to interview people. Because there seems to be a prevailing attitude in tech (supported by some of the comments on this question), that tech support is just a stepping stone to a development or sysadmin position. Our interviewees do not seem to want to stay in tech support. Others see it as a dead-end job.
The people I have interviewed have the following three characteristics which make it impossible for me to recommend them to be hired:
Wrong emphasis: interviewees have been more interested in building things and fixing problems than interacting with users and learning about their problems, and taking their feedback and feeding it back into development plans for the product.
Poor emotional intelligence: they are not passing the empathy-oriented part of the interview.
Lack of interest: when given the opportunity, they ask, essentially "how long do I have to be on your team and how soon can I get out and do something else that I would rather be doing?".
I'm trying to help my team find the right candidate because the candidates we've seen so far have not been even close, and we are getting desperate for help.
What can I, or my team, do to find the right tech support candidate? Should we be looking someplace in particular?
Is the job title wrong? We've changed titles from Tech Support Analyst to Tech Support Engineer. That has only seemed to attract more people who would rather be system administrators.
What is important to put in the job description? Should we say that we are looking for someone who wants to stay in tech support and enjoys interacting with people? Should we downplay the technical skills and hope they can pick them up? The job is supposed to be fairly generalist, it will focus on IT but may bleed over into questions regarding our data and bioinformatics systems.
Maybe when people think Tech Support they think help desk and helping people fix their printers? How can we convey that this is less hardware-focused and more software- and people-focused?
EDIT: This question was put on hold because it was too broad. I edited it, and received only one person's feedback on the updates. Neither that person nor the others removed their flag; and their complaints about the question still say that it doesn't have an answer. I am sure it does. I think there is a better answer out there than "go out there and find people who don't like to be inquisitive". Because Tech Support is inquisitive. It's not just inquisitive about computers. It's also inquisitive about people and their needs. I think way too many people in the tech community are blind to that. Perhaps it's because they've been burned by help desk experiences that were run by scripts, or by co-workers who did not want to be there. But there are people who enjoy tech support. And they are not stupid, or dumb, or enjoy the mundane. To me, building and configuring computers all day is mundane. Mundane is in the eye of the beholder. And there are organizations out there that do tech support right.
Every user that flagged my post and provided no feedback or response on the modifications, even after I asked them for feedback, is a Software Developer according to their profile. Maybe they were too busy or forgot. But I am getting the feeling that they just don't like my question. I have a feeling that they just don't see why anyone in their right mind would want to stay in technical support. Why would anyone in their right mind stay a developer all their life? Or a sys admin? I think there are very good answers to these questions. And there is a good answer to my question. It's just not one of these two.