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The ONE Critical Hiring Skill You Must Master
 in 2022 and Beyond (Part 1)

In 2022, across the land, in every industry, there are more open jobs than candidates. It has never been truer in the Smart Buildings niche.

Skip Freeman Founder & President
of Smart Buildings Talent

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and careers in the Smart Buildings industry.


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The ONE Critical Hiring Skill You Must Master in 2022 and Beyond (Part 1)

In 2022, across the land, in every industry, there are more open jobs than candidates. It has never been truer in the Smart Buildings niche.

For the week ending February 19, 2022, the Association of Controls Professionals research tells us that there are 74,997 BAS vacancies.


When you have an open role, finding the candidate (which is hard enough) is easy compared to landing the candidate.


You can no longer make an offer, have it accepted, and expect to see your candidate show up on the start date.

Every step of the way now, you must assess, test, calibrate, and measure your candidate’s CTS Score (Compelled to Start).

How “compelled is the candidate to actually start YOUR job?


For as long as we have a talent short market, this skill must be mastered and applied. Unless something changes, that will be for at least the next 20-years.

The Talent Pool is Even Smaller Than You Think

Since, in Smart Buildings, I am writing to a “smart audience” (while a play on words, I truly mean that) I want to share with you one critical view, one critical understanding, that you must have in your hiring process. 


With 74,997 job openings, every time you (or I) get a candidate interested in taking a look at your opening, they will, at some point in the process, want to know “what else is out there.”


Therefore, speed is of the essence.


The longer your hiring process takes, the more a candidate ponders the “what else is out there” question?


Therefore, you must assume every candidate will get two or three offers.


This reduces your probability of hiring them.


If there are 35,000 candidates who decide to consider a new job this month, and every one of them can get 2, if not 3 job offers, that’s equivalent to dividing the talent pool by 2 (or 3).


35,000/2 = 17,500

35,000/3 = 11,667


This means your pool of available talent dropped from 35,000 to 17,500 or even 11,667!


Look at These Three stories – All Current Real Situations




Meet Robert: Robert is a Business Development pro. He is interviewing for one of our roles. He is also interviewing at 3 other companies.


Robert told me he believed 2 of the other firms would make him an offer…and they did.


How did we make sure he accepted OUR CLIENT’S OFFER and ACTUALLY STARTED?

We tracked Robert on the CTS Scale during the entire process.




Meet Peter: Peter is a highly regarded BAS Control Technician. He is currently working, not unhappy, and not looking for a job.


Then we come along and interrupted his day with an opportunity.


After providing additional information and having two more phone calls, he decided to interview with our client.


Fast forward 9 weeks (YES, 9 weeks!) That’s how long it took to develop the process to the point of him saying “yes” to an offer.


After accepting (and signing) the offer, he went in to resign the next Monday.


We had “inoculated” him against the counteroffer.


The week passed without incidence until Friday…and that’s when our candidate received a message that his bosses’ boss wanted to see him.


As expected, he was hit with the counteroffer & it was strong.


The company he’s currently employed with knew exactly what they were doing. Because they are a very large company with tenured HR folks at the helm, they knew how to “play the game.”


“What’s the game,” you ask?


Giving a very very nice counteroffer right before going home for the weekend.


They knew it would sit and marinate in the candidate’s (and spouse’s/partner’s) head.


Did you know that in hiring, the #1 motivator in the candidate’s head, heart, and soul is fear? Unless the candidate is unemployed, hates their current boss, or MUST relocate, it’s fear.


The fear of loss.


Losing what is comfortable – losing your boss (who our candidate liked), losing your colleagues, no longer being clear on expectations, losing the culture you know so well…and stepping into the unknown.

Our candidate’s current employer not only just re-leveled the playing field, but they tilted it solidly in their favor.


In the candidate’s mind, “What’s to gain by taking the new job now that the counteroffer is better than the offer from the other firm (in dollars anyway)?


He goes home.


Talks to his wife over the weekend.


Monday, he accepts the counter.


He calls our client, thanks them for the offer, but tells them he is backing out.


He calls me.


I get back to him mid-week.


We have a conversation and I re-deploy the skills I will go over below.


I wait.


At this point, you can’t push. It will backfire.


Then…he texts me over the weekend wanting to know if we could talk.


We discuss the counter and, most importantly, the reasons he accepted our client’s offer in the first place.


On Monday, at Noon, he asks if our client might reconsider.


I knew they would, so I told him they wanted him and I could speak on their behalf. We scheduled a new start date.


I called our client and let them know we had “re-landed him” and what the new start date is.


We now have one ecstatic client along with one happy candidate & spouse.




Finally, meet Vanessa. She is employed, interviewing for her next role, and is a finalist for 2 jobs.


Vanessa does not have the time to meet with 4 people from your company on 4 different occasions, have a final interview with you, only to yet turn around and discover she has to have a final final with your boss.


6 interviews.


We call that “death by interview.”


You will NEVER win Vanessa in 2022 with a process like that.


CTS = Compelled to Start


Unlike 4 or 5 years ago, today, just because a candidate says they are ready to take a new job, doesn’t mean they are ready to take a new job.


Ironic, isn’t it.


Today, from the first sentence you have with a candidate to the last -- in every conversation -- you must assess where your candidate is on how COMPELLED they are to START YOUR JOB.


Determining a candidate’s skills, qualifications, and experience  that’s the easy part.


Trying to decipher and uncover where a candidate’s head is with respect to their really stepping foot into your office (symbolically speaking, of course) on the start date and going to work, well, that’s a whole different (and new) skill level on your part.


Every time you engage (email, voicemail, text, phone, zoom) with your candidate (or fail to engage), they are at one of these 5 levels on the CTS Scale, and your engagement (or lack thereof) is going to move their needle forward, keep it the same, or make it go backward.


The CTS (Compelled to Start) Scale

Because the needle can move, often quite dramatically, in the wrong direction between conversations with you, having a professional recruiter (either internal or external) keeping a read on the sensitive and fluctuating scale is critical.


There is NO Luck in Recruitment


It takes hard work and skill on your part to move a candidate from “curious” to “compelled to start.”


What is that skill?


The art of persuasion.


Unless a candidate:


…landing your candidate requires you to apply the art of persuasion to influence the outcome. You will not win your candidate because of luck.


And Your Generous Offer Can – and Will – be Used Against You


NOTE: 30,286 voted in this poll. (Even if it isn’t a scientific poll, the size of the respondents’ pool makes the results quite meaningful. In other words, it’s a wake-up call.)


A recent LinkedIn poll (February 11, 2022) piggybacking off a Harris Poll asked this question:


“Is it OK to use a job offer from another company as leverage to get a pay increase from your current employer?”


A whopping 78% said yes! Only 12% said, “That’s not right.”



Now, to help you get the hang of the CTS Scale, I am giving you two questions to put on post-It notes and stick everywhere you interview candidates so that you don’t forget them and can use them.

  1. Has anything changed since we last spoke?

  2. Money aside, given where we are in the hiring process right now, what are your thoughts on the job?

  3. End game  question 2 is modified to:

If we ask, “What would make it a 10,” the candidate is telling us what WE have to do to satisfy them.


But when we ask, “Oh! Why so high?” NO MATTER WHAT THE NUMBER, the candidate now has to defend their position. And this is where we learn what is truly important to them in the end game. And once we know what those are, we use them continuously in our closing process.


Next month, in part 2, I will share additional insight from my 19-years of recruiting on how to ensure your candidate of choice is pinging the meter at compelled to start.



 The CTS (Compelled to Start) Scale


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