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Hands On IT Technical Support Manager

By Choppit ·
I'm interested to know what everyone understands by the term 'hands-on' in the context of an IT Technical Support Managers role. What does it mean to you? Also, is this role usually predominantly managerial or technical?

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It very much depends

by Jaqui In reply to Hands On IT Technical Sup ...

on the Managerial style of the manager.

to me, hands on means spending at least 25% of your time doing the same work as the rest of the team. If the manager is organised right, they can spend up to 75% of the time working with the team.
If a manger is not willing to do the same grunt work as the rest of the department, then they are not "hands on", as well as they lose an extremely valuable tool for team morale and for respect. Most people that are good at thier jobs have no respect for a Manager that never shows they can and will do the same work. these same people will bend over backwards to help out if the Manager is always ready and willing to help when asked.

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My dilemma

by Choppit In reply to It very much depends

I've just attended a second level interview for such a position at a well known online retailer fulfilment centre and things are looking positive. They're expecting 40% hands on with a team of 4 direct reports. From what I understand the team consists of IT savvy members of the FC staff and will be installing/ swapping hardware, performing UPS/aircon checks etc. under my direction. About 60% of my time will be man management, planning, contract review etc. My concern is that I can't see much scope for technical development, or 'hands-on' network management which are the parts I really enjoy. I've been told that there will be 5-6 interview stages to pass and I'm on a shortlist of four candidates. What I'm trying to ascertain is whether I should bail out of the interview process now or see it through to the end.

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When companies says hands on manager

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to My dilemma

They mean they haven't got the resource for you to be a 100% manager, so they need you to do some of the 'grunt' work. Or they don't feel that management of the existing resource is a full time job, so they can save on a 'grunt'.

Given what you want I'd be going back and asking what do you mean by hands on. Do they mean you are out installing printers, or do they mean you are technically savvy enough implement a new network, so less printers have to be installed?

Probably both isn't it?

They might actually be thinking more of a leadership role than a man management one, another question to ask.

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The interview

by Choppit In reply to When companies says hands ...

Thanks for your input. They've already made it quite clear that ALL infrastructure decisions and hardware, software will be specified by head office so I know that I'm unlikely to have any major involvement with these except for perhaps implementation. The job profile suggests a technical role, but the interview suggested a management role. Most of the questions have so far been geared around dealing with difficult situations with staff or senior management and as far as I can tell the technical portion of the interview has been done. This consisted only of the following questions from the Regional FC IT Manager.

How good is your Linux knowledge?
Tell me about NFS, POP, IMAP, AD, DNS

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Sounds like

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to The interview

they are more concerned with a tech's ability to manage than a manager's awareness of tech doesn't it.

Dunno mate, I suppose it's how much you'd get out of managing vs high level tech.

I'm faced with a couple of paths myself, hands on Team Leader or principal developer, I feel the leadership role will challenge me more, which is why I'm plumping for going for it.

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Same situation as Tony

by Xenotron In reply to Sounds like

I'm at the crossroads of Team Leader or Operations Manager or Systems Architect. Out of the proffesionals I've talked to, leadership is the one thing lacking in most IT organizations. In the business world, leading the technology is more important than doing the technology. I've been doing the technology for 15 years. For me, it's time to lead.

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how technical was the interviewer?

by gus.swan In reply to The interview

If the job spec sounds technical, but the interviewer did not ask specific technical knowledge questions, its possible they don't have the knowledge to benchmark you. With the comments earlier about the lack of clarity in what 'hands on' actually means - it sounds like it could be under-resourced with actual techies and overstaffed with bosses, and you might find yourself overworked. Incidentally a six-stage process! I don't the the sec gen of the UN has to go through that. What a load of nonsense and potential waste of your time.

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Not very

by Choppit In reply to how technical was the int ...

To be honest I have no idea how technical the interviewer actually was, but my gut feel was that they themselves were a hands off manager and had been for some time.

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6 part interview?

by AllGeek2Me In reply to The interview

1. Make sure it's goooood $$.
2. Make sure Job description is written.
3. Post results

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May no longer apply

by Choppit In reply to 6 part interview?

The six part interview may no longer be relevant to me. At the last interview the recruitment Manager told me that he was having great difficulty filling the post, he had two types of applicant, Managers who wouldn't (or couldn't) do hands on and techies that couldn't manage. I have both skillsets and experience , but prefer technical, so when asked if I was interested told him that 40% was not enough technical exposure for me. A week later he called me to say that a "senior" technical position may be coming up in the very same team with 90% emphasis on hands on.......

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