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How to hire the right Zendesk admin. Part 1

Jude Kriwald

August 15, 2023

3

min read

It’s a common dilemma; your company is growing fast and you know that a tool like Zendesk is going to help keep your customer service personable, manageable, and cost-effective. With such a powerful tool at your disposal, it’s likely you’ll want an experienced or budding Zendesk administrator to take the reins of it. After all, there’s little point in having an excellent tool at your disposal if you don’t know how to get the most out of it.

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Challenge

Hiring the right Zendesk admin can sometimes seem harder than choosing the right customer service software. After all, Zendesk has thousands of reviews to attest to its abilities. Potential Zendesk admins might have a testimonial or two but that’s likely not going to be enough to reassure you that you’re hiring the right person for the job. In addition to this, demand for Zendesk admins currently outstrips supply, meaning you need to be extra careful when checking the suitability of any candidates, as your choices are limited. Our challenge then, is to learn some tried and tested ways to ensure you hire the right Zendesk admin.

Direct experience vs. applicable experience

I like to break down relevant experience of potential Zendesk admins into two key areas: direct experience (people who have administered Zendesk before) and applicable experience (people who haven’t used Zendesk before but have demonstrated the knack to think in similar ways to what Zendesk will require).

If hiring an external Zendesk admin on a contract basis, you will almost certainly want to look for someone who has previously administered Zendesk. This is a much more transactional approach, in which you pay for someone’s services and get the outcome you desire.

On the other hand, if your operations department is fast-growing and already requires more staff, you might look at hiring a person to join in-house. Zendesk need not be their full-time focus within your business, at least not to begin with.

Let’s look at how to approach hiring both of these types of candidates.

Direct Experience

Interviewing candidates with direct experience is potentially the simplest option. With a few simple questions, you can quickly ascertain if the skills a candidate has match the requirements of the Zendesk administration work you need help with.

Here are some helpful questions I’d always ask an experienced Zendesk administrator:


1. How many years have you been working with Zendesk?

This is a fairly obvious question although remember that years’ experience doesn’t necessarily equate to skill


2. How many different clients/companies have you administered Zendesk for?

Most clients of mine have quite different requirements. Similarly, a candidate who has worked for multiple clients will probably have to have learned a good variety of skills. A candidate who has worked on Zendesk for multiple years, but only ever for a small, slow-growth company may not have had to learn many key parts of Zendesk.

3. Which Zendesk subscription tiers are you familiar with?

Similar to the above, this gives you an idea of the breadth of their skills. The more advanced plans (Professional and Enterprise) are used by companies that require more advanced features.

4. Give me an example of a bespoke Zendesk solution you created to help your client

This is a great question to see how proactive a candidate can be in terms of finding solutions to problems. Many requests for Zendesk improvements that come from stakeholders can’t simply be solved by using a single Zendesk feature. Instead, creativity and an understanding of how Zendesk’s multiple features can be used in harmony is required.

5. What are your limitations on Zendesk?

A Zendesk administrator might think they know everything on Zendesk, but this is almost unheard of. There are different levels of complexity, some of which won’t be required for your role, and some which will. It’s worth checking that your candidate’s skills meet your requirements. For example, an administrator may be a whizz at the Support basics like views, SLA, macro, ticket fields and so on, but what about reporting, custom metrics, API requests, SDK development? As mentioned, most Zendesk jobs won’t require all of these skills, so try to gain an understanding of what you’ll need first.

This is also a great way to gain an understanding of the candidate's inquisitiveness and desire to learn.

6. Give the candidate a brief example of a problem you’re currently facing on Zendesk and ask how they’d solve it

Not only is this a great case study-style question, it can also give you an idea of how you might work together. Hopefully, the candidate will ask some questions in return, before providing an outline of how they would solve the problem. It’s a great way to check you’re hiring at the right skill level.

STAY UP TO DATE

Tips & tricks from Zendesk masters

Subscribe to our newsletter to learn how to customize Zendesk and keep your agents happy

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

This is a monthly email with educational content. No spam (we promise).

What if Zendesk was 4x less work?

Request a Demo ≥

What if Zendesk was 4x less work?

Request a Demo ≥

Applicable Experience

In Part 2 next week, we’ll cover the best approach, including essential interview questions, for hiring a candidate with applicable (but not direct) experience with Zendesk. Stay tuned!

WRITTEN BY OUR EXPERT

Jude Kriwald

Zendesk Consultant

Jude Kriwald first learned to administer Zendesk in 2015 and has been helping businesses improve their customer operations as a freelance consultant since 2018. Offline, he can be found making maps, paragliding or exploring remote places.

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Salto for

Zendesk

Zendesk

SHARE

How to hire the right Zendesk admin. Part 1

Jude Kriwald

August 15, 2023

3

min read

It’s a common dilemma; your company is growing fast and you know that a tool like Zendesk is going to help keep your customer service personable, manageable, and cost-effective. With such a powerful tool at your disposal, it’s likely you’ll want an experienced or budding Zendesk administrator to take the reins of it. After all, there’s little point in having an excellent tool at your disposal if you don’t know how to get the most out of it.

What if Zendesk was 4x less work?

Request a Demo Get started with Salto

Challenge

Hiring the right Zendesk admin can sometimes seem harder than choosing the right customer service software. After all, Zendesk has thousands of reviews to attest to its abilities. Potential Zendesk admins might have a testimonial or two but that’s likely not going to be enough to reassure you that you’re hiring the right person for the job. In addition to this, demand for Zendesk admins currently outstrips supply, meaning you need to be extra careful when checking the suitability of any candidates, as your choices are limited. Our challenge then, is to learn some tried and tested ways to ensure you hire the right Zendesk admin.

Direct experience vs. applicable experience

I like to break down relevant experience of potential Zendesk admins into two key areas: direct experience (people who have administered Zendesk before) and applicable experience (people who haven’t used Zendesk before but have demonstrated the knack to think in similar ways to what Zendesk will require).

If hiring an external Zendesk admin on a contract basis, you will almost certainly want to look for someone who has previously administered Zendesk. This is a much more transactional approach, in which you pay for someone’s services and get the outcome you desire.

On the other hand, if your operations department is fast-growing and already requires more staff, you might look at hiring a person to join in-house. Zendesk need not be their full-time focus within your business, at least not to begin with.

Let’s look at how to approach hiring both of these types of candidates.

Direct Experience

Interviewing candidates with direct experience is potentially the simplest option. With a few simple questions, you can quickly ascertain if the skills a candidate has match the requirements of the Zendesk administration work you need help with.

Here are some helpful questions I’d always ask an experienced Zendesk administrator:


1. How many years have you been working with Zendesk?

This is a fairly obvious question although remember that years’ experience doesn’t necessarily equate to skill


2. How many different clients/companies have you administered Zendesk for?

Most clients of mine have quite different requirements. Similarly, a candidate who has worked for multiple clients will probably have to have learned a good variety of skills. A candidate who has worked on Zendesk for multiple years, but only ever for a small, slow-growth company may not have had to learn many key parts of Zendesk.

3. Which Zendesk subscription tiers are you familiar with?

Similar to the above, this gives you an idea of the breadth of their skills. The more advanced plans (Professional and Enterprise) are used by companies that require more advanced features.

4. Give me an example of a bespoke Zendesk solution you created to help your client

This is a great question to see how proactive a candidate can be in terms of finding solutions to problems. Many requests for Zendesk improvements that come from stakeholders can’t simply be solved by using a single Zendesk feature. Instead, creativity and an understanding of how Zendesk’s multiple features can be used in harmony is required.

5. What are your limitations on Zendesk?

A Zendesk administrator might think they know everything on Zendesk, but this is almost unheard of. There are different levels of complexity, some of which won’t be required for your role, and some which will. It’s worth checking that your candidate’s skills meet your requirements. For example, an administrator may be a whizz at the Support basics like views, SLA, macro, ticket fields and so on, but what about reporting, custom metrics, API requests, SDK development? As mentioned, most Zendesk jobs won’t require all of these skills, so try to gain an understanding of what you’ll need first.

This is also a great way to gain an understanding of the candidate's inquisitiveness and desire to learn.

6. Give the candidate a brief example of a problem you’re currently facing on Zendesk and ask how they’d solve it

Not only is this a great case study-style question, it can also give you an idea of how you might work together. Hopefully, the candidate will ask some questions in return, before providing an outline of how they would solve the problem. It’s a great way to check you’re hiring at the right skill level.

Tips & tricks from Zendesk masters

Tips & tricks from Zendesk masters

Subscribe to our newsletter to learn how to customize Zendesk and keep your agents happy

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

This is a monthly email with educational content. No spam (we promise).

Applicable Experience

In Part 2 next week, we’ll cover the best approach, including essential interview questions, for hiring a candidate with applicable (but not direct) experience with Zendesk. Stay tuned!

WRITTEN BY OUR EXPERT

Jude Kriwald

Zendesk Consultant

Jude Kriwald first learned to administer Zendesk in 2015 and has been helping businesses improve their customer operations as a freelance consultant since 2018. Offline, he can be found making maps, paragliding or exploring remote places.