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CEDIA Find: New Full-Service Recruitment & Staffing Agency for Home-Tech Industry

Debuting at CEDIA 2017, two former integrators launch High Demand Manpower for Integrators (HDMI Staffing), providing recruitment and other employment services for home technology integrators — from entry-level techs to experienced execs.

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There are plenty of search firms in the world to help high-level execs find well-paying jobs in any industry, including “ours.” But where does everyone else go for CEDIA-oriented jobs and employees?

At CEDIA 2017, two former integrators are launching High Demand Manpower for Integrators (HDMI Staffing), a new employment agency for home-technology integrators.

The start-up is serving every aspect of the industry – every experience level (entry-level to senior) and every discipline (installation to operations).

Brent Wiseman, one of the principals of the new venture, spent 14 years heading operations for high-end integration firm DSI Entertainment Systems and its successor VIA International. There he led staffing, recruitment and other operational initiatives, using plenty of third-party recruiters along the way.

“They kept sending me people that I had no use for,” he says. “Nobody has really focused on the custom installation channel.”

When he started his own consulting firm in 2016, it was more of the same:

“A lot of time they take the first guy who walks through the door because they need a body.”

— Brent Wiseman, HDMI Staffing, on typical hiring process.

“The No. 1 thing that everybody opened with was: How can you help me find staff?” he says of his consulting business. “Whether it was technicians, engineering, sales, whatever, they all needed staff.”

In the new venture, he says the company will offer “any placement from entry-level techs to senior-level management, and anything in between.”

Wiseman’s business partner, VIA alum Tres Huber, previously worked for Tradesource, the “skilled workforce specialists” for the construction trade.

With 20 years of construction staffing under his belt, Huber knows a thing or two about the process, especially on the back end with systems that track applicants and manage employers.

At the same time, the duo will create industry-standard job titles and descriptions to improve the hiring process for seekers and employers alike.

A Full Service Firm                                                  

You can find many business models among search-firm companies, from basic resume aggregators to skilled screeners to full-service providers that recruit, vet and select the best candidates for any given job or employer.

HDMI Staffing is going the full-service route, presenting the strongest candidates to employers “on a silver platter.”

In the process, they check references, perform background checks, and thoroughly screen candidates for their capabilities, personality, work ethic, goals, growth potential and other subjective criteria. At the same time, the company is getting to know employers beyond their staffing needs.

“We don’t look at just the technical aspects,” Wiseman says, “but also the cultural fit.”

Would-be clients might be skeptical, Huber concedes. They want to know, “How can you do it when we can’t?”

They answer, he says, is that HDMI Staffing is “doing it 24/7.”

That’s why HDMI Staffing requires a deposit from clients up-front, Wiseman explains: “We’re actually working for them, not just shuffling resumes.”

On top of that, employers pay the company about 20% of a new employee’s annual salary (subject to change), which might be hard to swallow, especially for integrators who don’t typically use outside agencies, even for higher-level jobs.

“We believe they’re already spending that much or more,” Wiseman says. “They’re putting ads on Craig’s List and Indeed, vetting candidates, trying the wrong people three or four times ….”

And that’s if employers even get to that point. Typically, they keep unproductive – or even destructive – employees on staff because they think they need someoneanyone. And when hiring, Wiseman says, “A lot of time they take the first guy who walks through the door because they need a body.”

The two entrepreneurs agree there’s “definitely going to be a learning curve” for an industry so unaccustomed to paying for employment services.

Huber has seen it before: “They had never done this before when I got into construction recruitment.”

HDMI Staffing opens in August, making its first big appearance at CEDIA 2017 (booth #2745) in September.

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About the Author

Julie Jacobson
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Julie Jacobson:

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson

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