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So far Justin Carlson has created 7 blog entries.

Five Unique Ways to Widen Your Candidate Pool

Finding qualified candidates can be a challenge, especially when it seems like the same types of people are throwing their hat in the ring. The following tips can help you approach the hiring process from a new direction, realize new opportunities to widen your candidate pool, and ultimately streamline your hiring process.

A more diverse candidate pool means more options, and that means higher chances of finding an experienced and dedicated long-term employee.

Attract more candidates to your open positions while increasing the chances of filling those positions with the most qualified applicants by leveraging these tips:

Highlight Your Company Culture

One of the most important ways an organization can widen their candidate pool is to simply be transparent. Job seekers in today’s business world are looking for much more than just competitive compensation and benefits packages. They want to be part of a company that resonates with them on a personal level. Company culture plays a vital role in the hiring process.

According to a Deloitte study, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe strongly that a distinct company culture is vital to a business’s success.

Think of the aspects of your company culture, your workplace, and your team that make your brand unique, then leverage these as selling points when you post job listings and interview potential candidates.

Expand Your Hiring Criteria

Hiring can be difficult, and that’s why many companies are simply turning to recruiting services to handle it for them. In fact, about 40% of U.S. companies have turned to recruitment process outsourcers to find new candidates.

Consider the positions you’re trying to fill and think carefully about whether your posted criteria are too stringent. By lowering your hiring requirements a bit, you could be opening up your potential candidate pool by a wide margin.

Launch a Social Media Recruitment Campaign

The business world has a firm foothold in social media. Regardless of legalities, about 70% of employers use social media to screen potential employees.

Virtually everyone has some kind of online profile, so why not try to forge some meaningful connections with potential applicants?

Work with your marketing team or with your outsourced hiring specialists to come up with an effective social media strategy that targets people who resonate strongly with your company’s mission and values.

Get Creative With Job Postings

The average corporate job posting will attract about 250 applicants, but the company will likely only call a handful of those applicants for an interview.

Review the job postings you currently have open and try to read them from a job seeker’s perspective.

Does it read as a standard job posting, or does it offer potential candidates something unique? What type of language does it use? Are compensation and benefits details thorough and enticing?

Experimenting with new forms of job postings can have excellent results.

Work With a Talent Analytics Firm

After widening the pool, you need a process for finding the best applicant among a sea similar candidates. Investing in a new hire is both time consuming and expensive, so doing it right the first time can boost your efficiency and your bottom line. One way to make your hiring processes better is by using a talent analytics firm.

Find candidates who are suited to the position, fit in with company culture, and are in it for the long haul.

These tips can help your company rethink your hiring strategy and not only attract more candidates, but also increase the number of applications you receive from candidates who align with your company’s values, mission, and culture.


By |2021-10-27T22:28:54-04:00December 16th, 2019|Research, Updates|0 Comments

Five Recruiting Metrics You Should Know About

Recruitment metrics – the data behind your hiring lessons – outline which hiring methods are working for you and which aren’t.

Without assessing the value of your recruitment tactics as well as the performance of your new hire, you could be destined to repeat past mistakes – and that’s a price you pay from your bottom line.

The actual costs of hiring an employee vary depending on the industry and the employee level, but, on average, companies pay about $2,000 per new hire. And that’s just the onboarding process–interviewing and hiring costs add even more.

The point here is simple: the wrong hire can cost your business a lot of time and cash.

Which Recruitment Metrics Should Earn Your Attention?

Countless recruitment metrics are available to recruiters. You could get dizzy just trying to narrow them down from a Google search. However, leveraging these metrics can help ensure you make the best decision during the hiring process so that you don’t have to go through the process again. We’ve gathered a list of the most important metrics to consider and some information on how to measure each.

1. Quality of Your Hires

If you want to know the future, look to the past. Your business has a treasure trove of past data when it comes to hiring – your current and previous employees.

With a Quality of Hires metric, you’re not aiming at determining the general ability of your hire to do their job; instead, you’ll learn how effective your recruiting practices are at finding candidates who accept your job offer and are loyal to your company.

There are many ways to calculate Quality of Hire data. As an example, when using HireScore, we will send an email survey to the hiring manager or appropriate supervisor one year after an employee was hired. In about two minutes, we will collect ratings on the person’s overall performance, technical performance, team orientation and safety.

We summarize our survey with a simple question asking whether you would hire the person again. If yes, then we code the person as a successful hire. If no, then something went wrong and we use the data to learn from past mistakes.

2. Source of Your Hires

Most companies recruit in multiple arenas and use a number of search methods to find candidates. With today’s recruitment sources running the gamut from physical job boards and newspapers to social media and current employee referrals, it is more important than ever to know which sources are providing you with quality hires who are loyal to your company.

Whether tracking in HireScore or simply using a spreadsheet, you should be recording the sources of each hire as well as which candidates were rejected or shortlisted.

Analysis of each will tell you which resources are delivering and which are underperforming. This information can help you make better decisions regarding where to invest your time and money the next time you’re recruiting.

3. Time to Fill the Position

Time to fill is, simply, the amount of time elapsed between the listing of the position and the date of hire. While this metric is fairly straightforward, it can reveal a great deal about the efficacy of your recruitment resources as well as your productivity and efficiency.

Which sources tend to quickly produce good candidates? Which factors produce a bottleneck effect on your process? Time to fill can help you answer these questions and more.

4. Turnover

For some positions, the key metric to determine the success of your selection process is simply whether new hires stay in the job for a given period of time. If you are hiring summer help at an amusement park, you want to know if the person is going to last the full summer.

In some cases, you might even prefer to hire a person who may not perform the job as well but who is more likely to stay in the job.

To calculate turnover, take the percentage of employees who leave (for any reason) in a specified period of time and divide it by the total number of employees that you had in that role during the same period of time.

While turnover is a valuable metric, it is important to understand the context as well. If you lose 5% of your employees, but they are the bottom 5%, then turnover is actually a good thing.

In jobs with a high burnout rate, such as pro football coaching, some turnover is inevitable and is not necessarily a sign of failure. If, on the other hand, you are hiring sandwich makers at a fast food franchise and less than half of them stay for a month, then turnover should be your primary focus.

5. Cost Per Hire

While hiring better tends to have an extreme ROI, often in the hundreds or even thousands of percent, it is still useful to track up front investments. Determining which recruitment tactics are successful and which aren’t from a cost perspective is a key performance indicator.

At a minimum, any assessment or interview should have a significant positive ROI or it’s not worth doing. Tracking cost per hire allows you to determine where your recruiting budget is best spent and justifies your hiring related investments over time.

Calculate cost per hire by adding your total external and internal costs – including advertising, SaaS subscription fees, and cost to sustain recruitment staff – then divide by the number of hires the process produced.

Hire Better With These Metrics

While these five recruitment metrics are certainly not the only metrics you should be tracking to assess your performance, they are among the most important. Whether you’re most recent hiring decisions have proven successful, mediocre, or ill-fated, deeper insight into the many factors that led to each hire should be a key component in your next recruitment endeavor.


By |2019-12-02T10:31:10-05:00December 9th, 2019|Research, Updates|1 Comment

Why You Should Ignore the Resume

The digital age has disrupted virtually every industry. HR and hiring has been similarly vulnerable – the industry has, in recent years, experienced a seismic shift.

Research shows that resumes, traditionally the first-line approach to “getting your foot in the door,” are no longer the most popular form of currency in the hiring process.

In their place are a combination of online application and assessment processes that provide up to four times the information, and a better experience for both the applicant and the hiring team.

Before you lament the demise of the resume, consider these reasons why resumes are becoming obsolete in the first place.

1. They Value Experience, Not Skills

By virtue of their design, resumes focus on a person’s work experience, not necessarily their skill set. Is this such a bad thing? In today’s talent economy, yes. A candidate is, and should be, offered employment based on their ability to fulfill a job description and perform essential job duties.

Focusing on the potential results that a person can generate requires a full understanding of their capabilities, which doesn’t necessarily translate on a resume.

2. They’re Static Documents

In a technology-driven age, workers must continually acquire new skills to stay current and provide value to employers. Since technology – and how we use it – is always changing, job seekers across industries must frequently update their resumes to reflect new skills in new formats.

Resumes become outdated quickly and become too cumbersome to continually update.

3. Resumes Are Too Much Work

A close friend recently took a day off of work to create a new resume for her dream job. While she may be more of a perfectionist than most, consider the time people spend (waste!) making a document perfectly reflect an image that may or may not be accurate.

New hires who have gone through the HireScore (no resume required) process often say, “I was happily employed elsewhere and I wouldn’t have applied for this job if I was required to make a resume.” In essence, resumes are asking for too much, too soon in the hiring relationship.

4. Resume Sorters Miss Out on Valuable Talent

The act of requiring a resume also screens out a portion of the workforce that could provide talent to your organization. For example, many people have valuable work skills, but they lack the knowledge of how to write a resume, let alone optimize it for hiring managers.

This approach naturally caters to people who have a talent for writing resumes, not necessarily to those people who have the necessary skills to efficiently execute their work duties.

5. Resumes Invite Unintentional Bias

Lastly, the resume has the unintended consequence of inviting bias into the workplace. Research from Harvard Business School showed that minorities who “whitened” their names got more callbacks and interviews, despite no changes in skill sets or experience. The legal consequences to these research findings have yet to play out but resume defenders are unlikely to be happy with the final outcome.

Resumes may be on their way out, but what’s a job candidate or hiring manager to do in the meantime? Even LinkedIn sorts applicants by their job experience.

The bottom line is that you need to use tools that are customized exactly to your jobs and diligently collect assessment data you need to best predict future job performance. Combined with broad recruiting and intelligent algorithms, there is no better way to rank a world of potential candidates.

Most importantly, employers would do well to leverage technology and tools to find the right candidate for the job – not the candidate capable of producing the best resume.

By |2019-12-02T10:34:31-05:00December 2nd, 2019|Careers, Research|0 Comments

Job Descriptions – how do they fit in the changing talent picture?

“Bill D. is retiring, finally. He kept talking about it but we never thought he’d make the decision. Such a great department manager, he will be missed! Oh…right…I guess we need to look for a replacement! Can you ask Sally in HR to give me a copy of the job description?”

This may be simplified, and yes, widget company leader should have had a succession plan in place. That’s for another blog post. However, this scene plays out in companies all over the country, and all over the world, on a daily basis. Whether it’s a retirement, unfortunate illness, poor performance, or resignation (gasp!) for another job…we all know that moment where we have to think about filling a vacancy. If it’s been held by the incumbent for any length of time, we probably haven’t updated the job description. If we have annual reviews, they may be tied to the job description, but that is not a given.

How does the job description translate to the job posting? The search criteria? If handled properly, a search will include assessing for skills, knowledge, and experience as well as personality, behaviors and aptitude. Simply listing a set of “required” and “minimum” qualifications does not ensure a well-matched applicant pool. What if there were science behind the job description? Science that helped your company not only recruit for a great fit, but measure performance and offer training gap analysis on a regular basis?

There is hard evidence based on long-standing research on which facets of personality and behavior traits best fit certain types of jobs. When you customize for work environment and industry, as well as variances in each job’s responsibilities and duties, you make a big difference in being able to be more specific up front (in recruiting and onboarding) and being better able to communicate and coach more clearly all along the way.

Hmmm… coaching, communication, training – have you heard those words thrown around lately regarding “what matters to the next generations of employees”? Your employees are tired of standard issue tools and performance evaluations of times past. They want someone to see them. To really notice them as individuals. To want them for the job for who they really are, and to help them develop their strengths and overcome their challenges to make a difference in their job and their career.

Still want to photocopy the old job description, send it to HR, and then hand it to the new hire? Be prepared to keep it handy, you might have a vacancy again fairly soon!

To try a new idea, which is actually even simpler, work with a firm that has done the research and can lead you through to customized job searches and descriptions. We’d be happy to talk with you in a confidential consultation, free of charge. We enjoy seeing the relief in using a more accurate process lead to happy companies and employees!

By |2018-03-07T16:37:20-05:00June 6th, 2017|Careers, News, Research|0 Comments

Laser North, Inc. finds hiring success through SDS

We are always incredibly grateful to hear from clients who tell us our services have helped them hire great talent or fix a problem with filling difficult positions. One of our clients, Laser North, Inc., recently reached out to us to express how our services were integral to helping them fill several difficult positions with the right people.

Mark Niemela, Vice President of Laser North, told us that as a growing metal fabrication firm, they face the common challenge of filling open positions with suitable employees. In the past, they have met this need to varying degrees of success. Recently, Mark had a conversation with a respected business associate about how they find quality help.

“He said that they have been using Stang Decision Systems (SDS) for some time, and were very happy with the results,” says Mark. “We contacted SDS, and they explained their whole process and pricing structure. It made sense to us, and we wanted to move forward with it.”

Mark was put in contact with Jody Johnson, HR Advisor/Project Manager at SDS. Jody worked closely with Mark and Laser North to put a selection and assessment system in place for the key positions they were looking to fill–Outside Sales Representative and Production Manager.

“Jody stepped right in and has done a great job for us in locating, screening, interviewing, and then recommending competent candidates to us. She has been with us in the on site interviews here at Laser North, and has very professionally questioned the candidates to draw out their strengths and weaknesses, and then turned it over to us for further discussion.”

Mark says the process put in place by SDS worked very well and allowed them to fill their needed positions with quality candidates, and that they plan to continue using SDS for future openings.

[Stang Decision Systems] is an important part of our move to the next level.”

Laser North, Inc. (http://www.lasernorthinc.com/) is a state-of-the-art laser cutting and precision metal fabricating firm providing carbon steel, stainless, and carbon products for equipment in industries including Agriculture, Defense, Mining, Energy, and Transportation. Laser North, Inc. is headquartered in Baraga, Michigan, and located close to the pristine shores of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula.

You can view Laser North Inc.’s open positions at https://lasernorth.sdsjobs.com/.

By |2018-03-07T16:37:21-05:00June 28th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Job Candidate’s Journey Through the SDS Application Process

As most of us know, the job search and application process is not always fun nor easy. However, there are ways to make the process more efficient to save both the applicant’s time as well as the employer’s. One way to do this is to create an application that is split into several steps, and the process ends if the candidate is disqualified following any of those steps. This way, the candidate’s time isn’t wasted going through unnecessary steps if it is already determined that they are not qualified.

Another way is making the applicant assessment as accurate and specific to the job as possible so that, ultimately, the best-fitting applicant can be hired and have a better chance at succeeding in their new role.

As an employer, you may be wondering what our application process is like from the candidate’s perspective. In this article we will walk you through what it’s like to apply for a job through Stang Decision Systems’ hiring process.

Finding the Job

When a new job is created in the SDS HireScore Talent Portal, that job is posted to your company’s own custom SDS job board, to JobOdds.com (our proprietary job board), and over 100 of the most popular job boards. The applicant sees the job posting on one of these sites, where they can then click the posting to get details about the job and apply.

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Applying for the Job

Once the applicant clicks through to the job application, they are greeted with a page asking the most basic questions for that particular job. These include questions concerning their highest degree earned, right to work in the U.S., and specific base skills required for the job.



The skill-related questions will require the applicant to answer on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 meaning “Expert” and 1 meaning “No expertise in this area.” This helps quickly determine the applicant’s proficiencies in several key areas.

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If the applicant passes this first portion of the of the job application, they move on to the Employment Application Form, which asks more detailed information about the applicant–including their education, work experience, and contact information.

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The applicant then continues on to the SDS Big Five Inventory, which measures the applicants’ behaviors in five specific areas: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Although this is a relatively short assessment (it takes about 20 minutes to complete), it yields powerful results to help paint a complete picture of the applicant’s behavioral traits as they relate to a specific job.

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Following the Big Five Inventory, the applicant will be taken to the final part of the application–the Situational Judgement Test–where they are asked a series of questions that put them into dealing with real-life scenarios for that particular job, and asks how they would respond. These questions gauge the applicant’s common sense problem solving and cultural fit as well as their competency in their particular field.

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Following the completion of this application, the applicant’s HireScore will be generated and ranked with the other applicants for this position. This score is determined by a customized, job-specific algorithm that weighs the values from this application against the optimal values for that particular job. The employer can then contact the top-ranking applicants and continue the hiring process.

Final Thoughts

After taking a sample SDS job application for an optometrist position, your humble correspondent had the following thoughts to offer on the process:

  • The application was straightforward and easy to understand. It was organized in a logical manner and did not ask any questions that felt out of place or too personal.
  • The Big Five Inventory personality assessment contained short and simple questions, but it was clear that the number of questions combined with their specificity would accurately reveal significant negative (or positive) personality traits.
  • The Situational Judgement Test for this application (in this case for an optometrist position) asked questions that seemed to have relatively obvious answers, but also questions that were more difficult and required specific knowledge–such as converting eyeglass prescription values from one format to another.

So there you have it. The SDS application process itself might not be entirely different from some of the other processes out there, but the customized and specific questions combined with the knowledge that the values from this assessment are weighed against the optimal values for this job and then combined to produce a single comprehensive score gave the feeling that this was a fair and accurate process that minimizes human bias. And this certainly would increase the confidence in the system for both applicants and employers alike.

By |2018-03-07T16:37:21-05:00June 1st, 2016|Updates|1 Comment

Marathon Petroleum Named America’s Best Employer by Forbes

One of our largest clients, Marathon Petroleum, was recently ranked Best Employer in America by Forbes Magazine. The list was compiled by Forbes by asking more than 30,000 U.S. workers employed by companies with more than 5,000 staff to 1) rank from zero to 10 how likely they were to recommend their employer to someone else and 2) rank how they felt about other employers in their industry.

The list included 500 employers from 25 different industries. Marathon Petroleum, headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, employs more than 45,000 people in the U.S. One of the key features to Marathon’s success was a significant turnaround of a Texas refinery that was plagued by an abysmal safety record and disgruntled union.

As Forbes details in their feature story on Marathon, the Texas refinery had a tragic past involving numerous disasters that killed and injured employees. Federal investigators cited a broken safety culture as the cause, where managers had a “check the box” mentality and were more “worried about seat belts” than outright catastrophes.

Marathon’s CEO Gary Heminger said, “We’ve taken our culture into that refinery. We’re going to operate it with the best safety and environmental skills available.” With a heavily unionized workforce, this was no easy task. However on the first day Marathon took ownership of the refinery, all of the plant’s workers were put through personal responsibility training, putting each and every employee in the mindset that they are collectively responsible for the safety of the organization. Managers were given more responsibility to make safety-related decisions without having to go to a higher level first.

“We collaborate; we do not compete,” said Connie Bradley, a refinery manager at Marathon. One of the key outcomes is that rather than profitability, the metrics for employee performance include safety and mechanical availability. “This leads you to a culture of preventative maintenance and of really looking after your assets,” said Heminger.

Lastly, ’employee grooming’ is a policy that Heminger works to maintain at Marathon. Employees aren’t pigeonholed into one position or another; rather, employees are given the opportunity to learn new skills and be put into positions where they may excel at better than their previous position. When an employee goes on vacation, “we will bring someone in from another plant to take a look at their job,” said Bradley. “The intent is to give them the opportunity to look at something different.”

Marathon Petroleum’s strategy of fostering a more effective culture of safety and responsibility was vital to the successful re-management of an catastrophe-ridden Texas refinery. It probably goes without saying that the single most important factor in making a strategy like this work is the quality of the people themselves.

Since 2005, Stang Decision Systems has been working closely with Marathon to help them hire and develop thousands of employees throughout North America, including: all operators and maintenance personnel at all refineries; all pipelines and TT&R non-salaried employees; all marine ops and maintenance employees; and various specialized roles including security, warehouse, lab techs, and sign makers.

We would like to congratulate Marathon Petroleum on being named Forbes’ Best Employer for 2015, and we look forward to being a part of their success in the coming years.

By |2018-03-07T16:37:21-05:00April 25th, 2016|News, Updates|0 Comments
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