4 Traits to Look for When Hiring a System Administrator


A system administrator is an integral part of a strong enterprise IT team. Though positions may vary from business to business, systems administrators typically manage server maintenance and performance, security programs, and hardware upgrades. These IT professionals work closely with employees to install updates on computers and provide tech support when issues arise. Because of the hands on nature of this job, certain personalities tend to be a better fit for the position than others.

Here are four traits to look for in candidates when hiring a systems administrator.

1. Technical Knowledge

Arguably the most important trait of any good systems administrator is a comprehensive understanding of hardware, software, and computer equipment. Strong technical knowledge helps reduce business downtime and allows them to perform their job optimally. Strong systems administrators typically have professional experience in an enterprise environment, plus numerous relevant certifications in their field. They also will hold at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. If you’re hiring a new systems administrator, ask candidates questions related to their technical knowledge. This can help you make the right decision for your business.

2. Personable Nature

IT administrators work frequently with employees. Some may come to the rescue as technical support when trouble arises; others may be in charge of company wide hardware and software upgrades. Because these positions collaborate with staff at every level of the organization, choosing someone personable for the position is important. Look for system administrator candidates with the ability to communicate clearly, manage difficult personalities, and stay calm under pressure and tight deadlines.

3. Patience

Another key trait of any good systems administrator is patience. Many times, employees may be unfamiliar with certain functions on their computers. When it comes time to upgrade or make changes, administrators need to have the patience to walk employees through complex processes both in person and over the phone. This trait is especially important when communicating with employees who are having hardware or software problems. In this scenario, the user is likely to be irritable because their computer isn’t functioning properly. Your systems administrator needs to be able to respond in a patient, understanding manner to help resolve the problem and minimize employee frustration. When it comes to managing computer problems, a little patience goes a long way.

4. Flexibility

Imagine being in the process of rolling out a major company-wide software upgrade, then all of a sudden one of your main servers fails. Effective systems administrators are able to quickly prioritize and be flexible in the wake of a potential hardware crisis. In this case, they would probably need to put the upgrades on pause and switch gears to manage the server failure. A flexible approach and good decision making skills help IT support prioritize your company’s most pressing issues. When hiring, look for a candidate who is an excellent multitasker. You want someone who is able to shift their focus quickly and effectively to manage any pressing issues that may arise.

When it comes time to hire a new systems administrator, you’ll want to make sure to look for a few key traits. Most importantly, they need to have the technical knowledge necessary to do their job effectively. Other key personality traits of strong systems administrators include a personable nature, patience, and flexibility. Look for a candidate that possesses these four traits when hiring, and you won’t be disappointed with your choice.