I manage a tech support team at a mid-sized software company. We are the last line of support, so issues that we can't fix need to be escalated to the development team. When I joined the company, our team wasn't capable of much beyond using a specific set of troubleshooting steps to solve known issues and escalating anything else to the developers.
It's always been a goal of mine for our team to shoulder as much of the support burden as possible without ever bothering a developer. Over the past few years, I, along with several new hires I've made, have made pretty good progress in that direction. We've coded our own troubleshooting tools which now ship with several of our products. When users have never-before-seen issues, we analyze stack traces and troubleshoot down to the code level, and if we need to submit a bug, half the time we've already identified in the code where in the code the bug is and offered a patch to fix it.
Here's the problem I've always had: finding support people capable of the work I've described above is really difficult. I've hired 3 people in the past 3 years, and I've probably looked at several thousand resumes and conducted several hundred phone screens to do so. I know it's pretty well accepted that hiring good people is tough in the tech industry, but it seems that support is especially difficult -- there are clearly thousands of people walking around calling themselves support analysts, but 99%+ of them seemingly aren't capable of anything beyond reading a script.
I'm curious if anyone has experience recruiting the sort of folks I'm talking about, and if you have any suggestions to share. We've tried all sorts of things -- different job titles/descriptions, using headhunters, etc. And while we've managed to hire a few good folks, it's basically taken us a year to find an appropriate candidate for each opening we've had, and I can't help but wonder if there's something we could be doing differently.