October 2021

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DIY Recruiting – Part one (of three)

This will be a no BS series to give you immediate actionable items that you can do today to improve both the speed and quality of hires.

Skip Freeman

Founder & Recruiter - Smart Buildings Talent


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This will be a no BS series to give you immediate actionable items that you can do today to improve both the speed and quality of hires. 

Because most of us in building automation and smart buildings like data, I will provide some. But for those of you who like theory, you will find that in later articles that will be available as reference materials.

The month of October starts the top four months of recruiting & hiring.

Since many of the readers of AutomatedBuildings.com are small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), these action items are especially for you! (Larger companies with big HR departments have developed unique processes that they follow.) 

But you, the SMB, on the other hand, can execute Guerrilla Recruiting tactics that give you a particular advantage over the larger firms. (Of course, there are certain benefits a large firm can sometimes provide that SMBs cannot offer. If a candidate wants one of those, then the SMB is not a viable option for them anyway.)

NOTE: At any time during this series, if you need help or want input on anything discussed, please reach out. I am more than happy to help. I know you are thinking, “Of course, Skip is willing to help. He’s a recruiter, and he wants to charge me.” I indeed hope to earn the right to do business with you at some point in time. But if you need/want help on anything that deals with the “do it yourself” process, I want to help. Test me on this. 

Let’s start with your Recruiting “Control Sequence.”


During the 18 years I have been a recruiter, this sequence has evolved. And, as with any “feedback loop,” it will continue to evolve. We will cover all parts of the Recruiting “Control Sequence” in this three-part series.

In this article, part one, we are going to specifically work on Attract (1a) “Determine what you can do for the candidate,” and Identify (2a), “Inbound leads.”

Both of these go hand in glove, so I will tackle them as one. 

Let’s start with this well-known fact: there are more open jobs in the smart buildings world than there are candidates. The latest report from EMSI (EconomicModeling.com) illustrates the number of unique open jobs posted on the internet looking for someone with skills in building automation, BAS, DDC, systems integration, controls, BMS, EMS, and/or Tridium Niagara. 


There are currently 19,526 unique open jobs. (The program eliminates duplicate postings.) 

And this is only OPEN JOBS. The HIDDEN JOB MARKET is generally estimated to be an additional 40% to 60% of the open jobs.


I will tell you how to cut through the clutter and get the people you need.

Attract (1a) - “Determine what YOU can do for the CANDIDATE.”

Here is where I can go on and on for several pages. I am not going to do that. TRUST ME ON THIS and execute the Nike way, “Just do it.”

I will give you some data simply to illustrate the criticality of executing on what I am about to share with you.

I ran a LinkedIn poll earlier this month. Of course, you hear everywhere about the “Great Resignation.” (And this happens every time after a recession. This is nothing new. In the recruiting world, we call it “the churn.”) The following will help you retain people as well as recruit people.

Year after year, poll after poll, interview after interview illustrates that a person will change jobs for the following main reasons. 

Notice that this creates the acrostic CLAMPS. This acrostic is equally valid for attracting talent as it is for retaining talent.

While a LinkedIn poll is not a scientific poll, it will give us a trend or, if nothing else, something to think about. Since LinkedIn only lets a poll have four answers, I combined “advancement” into “career growth.” “Security” involves benefits, issues with Covid (hence, work from home, etc.) Since so many work from home now, that is not a current/relevant issue to add into the poll.

You can see below what the professionals in our niche are telling us.


You MUST be able to answer this question 

When I am in a conversation with a hiring manager about their critical hiring need, I ask them this question.

“When I am reaching out to candidates, most have their head down, working hard, and are buried in excellence. What is it that I can tell them that will give them “cause for pause,” put down what they are doing, and listen to me…and in the end, quit a perfectly good job and come to work for you?”

Now, let’s evaluate one more dataset. 

Who’s looking to change jobs?

It turns out that it is just about everyone. This poll was also just recently done in preparation for this article series. Now, it could be that people who are not looking to change jobs ignored this poll (which is why it is not a scientific poll), BUT, on the other hand, every poll LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Indeed.com, and Glassdoor have done tells us that between 70% and 80% of all employees are thinking about changing jobs.


Identify (2a) - Inbound leads

For this article, inbound leads refer to people who respond to your job postings. 

The stats in the above poll align with stats provided by the American Staffing Association (of which we are members.)

The job description - a hiring manager's best friend (and worst enemy)

People sit down and think about what they need in the person they want to hire. And this is how it starts. (I know. I have sat in on many of these initial planning sessions…both in person and on Zoom.)

Yes, I just now took every one of the above statements from two job postings on Indeed.com written by two firms looking to hire someone in the building automation / smart buildings profession. 

Do you want to know why I didn’t keep going? It’s because you would get bored! Now, how do you think your potential candidates feel? Only those who are “desperate” would keep reading a job posting littered with phrases like those.

Conclusion of DIY Recruiting – Part One

Referring back to the diagram of the Recruiting Control Sequence, we are going to combine the two principles of:

“Attract (1a) - “Determine what YOU can do for the CANDIDATE”
“Identify (2a) - Inbound leads” 

With that in mind, the following are steps you can take NOW, as an SMB, to improve your odds of attracting talent dramatically:

1.  Do NOT post your job description on any job board. Remember, your job description can be your best friend (and your worst enemy.) It’s when job descriptions are posted that they become your worst enemy.

2. Instead, post an ad! There is NO legal requirement that your job description is your job posting. Just make sure the candidate has the job description in hand before accepting a job offer.

3. At the end of this article, I will show you exactly how to write a job ad for your posting.

4. Let’s review where and how to post your job ad:

a. Indeed.com – technically, you can post a job there for free, but no one will ever see it. Therefore, sponsor the job. A decent rate is usually $30-$40/day. BUT, and this is crucial, evaluate how many people are looking at your job, applying to it, and the quality of those applicants. If you are not watching this, it can get away from you, and you end up spending several hundred dollars for “no one.”

In our niche of Smart Buildings, Indeed.com is best for mid-level positions and below.

In the following article of this series, DIY Recruiting – Part Two, we will discuss Indeed.com’s resume database. It is a very good tool. Much better than their job posting functionality (for our needs.)

b. ZipRecruiter.com – again, you can “technically” post for free. BUT, your job will only appear on page 1 for a few hours before being pushed to the trash heap of pages 12, 18, or who knows where. A paid account is required to keep your job “front and center.” I have never found any success with ZipRecruiter in our niche of Building Automation / Smart Buildings. I bring ZipRecruiter up simply because they do a great job branding themselves, and most have heard of them.

c. For Building Automation / Smart Buildings, do not spend time on CareerBuilder, Monster, Glassdoor, SimplyHired, or any of the other dozens of names out there.

d. Craigslist – works well for lower-paying roles – installer, HVAC Technician, etc. Otherwise, it is ineffective for our niche.

d. Google Jobs – this is a great place to have your job, but it isn’t direct. Your company careers page must be integrated with Google for Jobs via an indexing API (https://developers.google.com/search/apis/indexing-api/v3/quickstart?hl=en) OR, the easier way, have a paid posting on LinkedIn.

e. LinkedIn – Your 1 Free Job Post - USE IT!! – you have two options: the FREE posting and the PAID posting. Take advantage of your free posting ASAP. 

Here is where you can find the place to create your free posting:

Skip Freeman is the Founder & Senior Technical Recruiter at Smart Buildings Talent.

We help build companies & careers in the fast growing profession of Smart Buildings.


Connect with Skip and follow us at Smart Buildings Talent to stay up-to-date on the latest jobs, career advice, and insight into hiring, jobs, and talent in the world of Smart Buildings.


Skip can be reached at Skip@SmartBuildingsTalent.com and 706.986.0833 (text/call)

And when you do that, this happens. (We all know Brother James.)


The purple #hiring gets people’s attention.

f. Your LinkedIn company page critical. If your candidate is on LinkedIn, in addition to your personal profile (and keeping it high quality is a given), they will check out your company profile. Here’s a great example by one of the firms I have had the delightful pleasure of working with on several occasions. 


Trinity does a nice job of posting something to their company page on a routine basis. Candidates notice this.

5. And finally, what do you post to attract your inbound leads (applicants)? What exactly should your job ad consist of?

a. What should not be posted, as apparent by now, is the job description. 

b. As a franchised office of MRINetwork (a recruiting organization of 150+ offices worldwide) and a member of the American Staffing Association, we get insight into recruiting best practices. 



Here are the facts about an effective job ad:

From what was discussed above, you know that the only way to create a compelling job ad is to identify what your job can do to advance a candidate’s career. 

Second, we know from the data that your job must improve a candidate’s life financially.

How? The truth lies in your expectations, not those of the candidate. In 2021 and for the next several years (unless a massive recession occurs) it is, and will remain, a candidate-driven market.

For example: if you cannot pay more than $85k/year to a person, don’t expect someone with the skills of a $90k person to be applying to your role. In fact, don’t expect the skills of an $85k person to be applying. (The only reason someone would apply who isn’t expecting a pay increase is either they want to move to your geography (maybe their spouse has family there, for example), they aren’t any good, they hate their boss, or, if you are lucky, they are good & just got laid off due to Covid.)

The days of people making lateral moves are over!

Realistically, expect someone in the $75k-$80k range to be your target candidate, and it is YOUR responsibility to train them up to the level of skill you need. Hire on attitude and potential. If you need the skills now, you’ll have to pay up.

Job Title – It must be a known title (nothing fancy). The optimal title length is 29 characters.

Job Ad Length – the data shows that an effective job ad is between 700 and 2000 characters, with 300 words (1500 characters) being “spot on.” Ads over 500 words quickly lose effectiveness. The key is “smartphone short.” 

Job Ad Order – this is important. There IS an optimal order for the information in your job ad.

a. The role

b. Compensation (not having compensation in your ad drops its effectiveness by 30%)

c. Responsibilities

d. Must-haves (requirements)

e. Company/mission

68% of candidates consider how well the job description fits their skills, qualifications, and aspirations when deciding whether or not to apply. 

If you have 40 bullet points, the majority of candidates look at them and think, “If I can’t do all 40 of your bullet points, there is no need for me to apply to your job.”

Second, the data shows that female applicants respond better to ads that do not have bullet points.

Be Relevant (to the candidate) – while your mission and vision are very important to you, at this stage, they are not important to 79% of job seekers. That is why you will note that the company/mission is last on the Job Ad Order above. 

Yes, include it. But, PLEASE DO NOT use up the valuable opening section of your job ad with your philosophy or mantras. And if it pushes your ad beyond 500 words, drop it.

Mobile-Friendly – 70% of all job searches are now conducted on a mobile device. You have 8 seconds to pique your candidate’s interest before they move on. Always check to see how your ad looks on mobile before you finish.

Gender Bias – while unintentional, 87% of all job ads analyzed in one study were “masculine coded.” This is more than using words like “he” or “him.” (Or, as I saw in one building automation job ad recently, “Mid-level guy, up to $33/hours. Senior guy, up to $40/hour.”) Gender bias also includes words like “rockstar,” “building” (as in building a team, not building automation), “streamlining,” and the ubiquitous phrase that every job post has, “excellent problem-solving skills.” 

Call to Action – we have piqued the candidate’s interest with our job ad, so what do we want them to do? We must state that in a clear call to action.

Empathy – now go back over the job ad you have written and ask yourself (assuming you aren’t desperate for a job), “Would you apply to the job you have just written?”

Application process – you risk losing 4% of your applicant pool for every minute you add to the application process. For now, keep it simple. A resume (or the URL to their LinkedIn profile) is the most you should ask for. 

Job Ads are 90% science and 10% art.

Below, as an example, is an ad we rewrote for a client recently. After the re-write, the applicant pool went up as evidenced by the job ad performance stats on LinkedIn.

Before Optimization (3035 characters – 1035 characters too long)

Data Center Infrastructure Engineer

Salary – dependent on experience. Will be competitive for the cost of living in the Pasadena, California, area

In order to ensure the high availability and flexibility of this critical physical infrastructure, we are now seeking a skilled Data Center Infrastructure Technician to join our team.

Successful candidates will demonstrate an exceptional understanding of data center operations and possess previous experience building a data center from the ground up.  The ability to work independently within the context of a small, flat organization is essential. This role will be robust and multi-dimensional and will be mission-critical to the ongoing success of the firm.

Ideal candidates for this position will possess some of the following skills/attributes:

Additional desirable skills or experience:

As an employer, we are small, discreet, and highly selective. We look for exceptional people with proven track records of performance and achievement and are far more interested in aptitude and potential than expertise in any particular technology, toolset, or professional domain. If you're inspired by the idea of working on interesting problems with talented colleagues, we invite you to share your resume and explore the possibility of joining our team.


The Optimized Job Ad (1922 characters)

Smart Buildings Talent has an excellent opportunity for an experienced Data Center Infrastructure Engineer based in Pasadena, California. The Engineer role offers a generous salary and benefits package.

For our progressive and inclusive clients, technology is a crucial part of their business. They own and operate a large data center to support their worldwide securities trading business. The Infrastructure Engineer role will be robust and multi-dimensional, critical to the firm's ongoing success.

To give you an idea of how the job will look and feel if you were currently working in this Data Center Infrastructure Engineer role, these are some of the things you would have been tackling this week:

You will need a CDCP or CDCS certification and a degree in IT, Computer Science, or Engineering. Other licenses, certifications, and eight years of experience in related fields will be considered.

For details of this Data Center Infrastructure Structural Engineer job in Pasadena, California, please contact Skip@SmartBuildingsTalent.com today.

As an employer, our client is agile, discreet, and highly selective. They look for exceptional people with proven track records of performance and achievement and are far more interested in aptitude and potential than exact technical expertise or professional domain. If you're inspired by the idea of working on exciting problems with talented colleagues, we invite you to explore the possibility of joining their team.


By now, you may be thinking, “This is hard work!” Yes, it is. If we can help you in any way, even if it is to simply review your job ad, posting strategy, or anything else when it comes to hiring, please reach out.


706-986-0833 (text/call)


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