Storytelling About JobSage With Jacob Rios

What if you could revolutionize your job search and find perfect company culture fit? Join us as we chat with Jacob Rios, founder of JobSage, about how his company is transforming job search transparency by focusing on growth, purpose beyond making money, flexibility, inclusion, and feedback. Learn how JobSage is helping job seekers with children find flexible work options and enabling employers to hire individuals with realistic expectations.

Discover how companies can compete with larger organizations on salary, recognition, and brand. Also, Learn how feedback tools can help collect data on cultural dimensions from employees. Jacob shares his insights on how companies can choose to make feedback public or keep it private for internal operations. We also delve into the dynamics between employee and employer, exploring ways to help applicants and candidates thrive in the right job or company. And finally, we discuss money as a motivator and how to uncover the unique qualities that people bring to the table.

Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.

Thanks, William

Show length: 23 minutes

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Jacob Rios
Co-founder & CEO JobSage

I care about two main things in my career:
- Working with good people
- Working on something I'm passionate about


Storytelling About JobSage With Jacob Rios

William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup and you are listening to the Use Case podcast. Today we’re on with Jacob and we going, we’ll be learning about the business case, so the use case as prospects and customers use to purchase Job Sage. Let’s just jump right into it. Jacob, would you do us a favor and introduce yourself and Job Sage?

Jacob Rios: Yes. Nice to meet everyone. My name is Jacob Rios. Quick personal. I’m from El Paso, Texas. Dad’s a police officer. Mom was a teacher. I got three kids, so my joke is, unless you wanna talk about work or kids, I got nothing else for anybody. I didn’t watch much [00:01:00] of the basketball or anything yeah, I’m excited.

We’re talking about work, but we can talk about kids too.

William Tincup: How old are, what’s your ages?

Jacob Rios: 10, almost eight and six.

William Tincup: Yeah. So you went the every two year route.

Jacob Rios: I gotcha. Yeah. Basically, yeah. Every two years. I forgot how hard it was. And I

William Tincup: see the problem with three kids is you have to play zone coverage now.

Now you, there’s not, you can’t go man on man. So i’s the problem everyone, when they’re, when people tell me they’re gonna have their third child, I’m like, yeah, that’s a problem. Somebody’s gonna be uncovered. Yep. So yeah,

Jacob Rios: the jump from two to three was, it’s wonderful, but it was definitely big in that zone.

Coverage for sure.

William Tincup: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. It’s oh, do you have two? I know I got this one. You got that one? Which way are you going? Yeah. Yeah, so tell us a little bit about Job Sage.

Jacob Rios: Yeah. Yeah. I’ll I just give you the super high level, like one or two second pitch, and then obviously we can jump in more.

But sure. Yeah. O overall our mission is just like, how do we bring more transparency to the job search process? These days, like on the job [00:02:00] seeker side I talked to a ton of job seekers and the number one thing I hear is. Unless you happen to know somebody who works at the company, it’s actually really hard to figure out, what it’s like to work there and whether it’s gonna be a good fit.

There are sites out there, Glassdoor is the biggest one. But, most of those sites tend to review sites in general just tend to skew negative. There’s a lot of, yeah. So we’re just trying to do a better job of that. On the jobs you said. Yeah.

William Tincup: And again, Glassdoor wonderful company, et cetera.

Yeah. But again they’ve been around for a while, and so having, it’s always nice to have fresh eyes on something like this. Somebody that’s gonna come can come in and then say, okay I like what Glassdoor did. We need to do it. Differently than maybe more attuned to millennials and Gen Z or something like that.

Like the audience has changed, their needs have changed, et cetera. Maybe that’s not generational. Maybe that’s just, yeah. Pre post covid, we’ve all

Jacob Rios: changed. Yeah, that’s true. I don’t even know why I’m anymore. Yeah, no, I think you’re right. I think, Glassdoor, I should know the stats, but they’ve been [00:03:00] around, I think 20 or so years and Yeah, they did a great job in terms of transparency and yeah, we’re, we’ve got a, what I believe is a different take one that’ll be, continue to be valuable to job seekers and, hopefully also, continue to be even more valuable to employers.

William Tincup: There whistle in that was they didn’t do a lot of marketing in the space, but it was, I think it was called comparably. And, but they were really more on the salary stuff. Like the culture was great. I think it was culture and salary, but they didn’t really do any, that was their thesis, right?

So you wanna know about their culture and you wanna understand what you should be asking for what again, different solving, different algebra. So you’re with Job Sage, the audience that you’re serving. What do they want to know? And we won’t talk about anymore about Glassdoor Compare, because, cuz again, you’ve got a new look a refreshed look at some of those types of things.

So let’s focus on what your audience, what they care about.

Jacob Rios: Yeah. Yeah. I’m happy to, like I said, there’s, I would generally a pretty positive person, so [00:04:00] to me all of this is good stuff. But yeah, for a job, s I would say, where there’s two things. That we’re trying to do a little bit better or just better in general.

One is, yeah, we very specifically focus on topics around culture. More specifically, our default it doesn’t have to be this, but our default set of topics is growth. So what I have the opportunity to grow, you can learn about does the company have a sense of purpose beyond making money?

Flexibility, obviously a really big one these days. Inclusion. And then the last one is feedback. So those are, generally like the five categories. And for some of us, I just mentioned I have three kids, right? So flexibility is super important. Then of purpose is still really important to me.

Maybe not as much these days, it still is, but but yeah, flexibility is huge for me. And so the thought is like, yeah, there’s no, I’m old enough now to know, like there’s no good and bad companies, the ones you wanna work with are the ones that are [00:05:00] willing to be a little bit more transparent with you and tell you what their strengths and their weaknesses are.

So that. Those job seekers can find a good fit for them. And then the employer gets to hire somebody who has realistic expectations around what it’s like to work there. And, they don’t quit six to nine months later, which is just a much more expensive problem. So

William Tincup: is there a ranking of the five things or does everybody have a, like a different kind of a matrix in which they look at those?

Jacob Rios: Yeah, it’s a good question. We don’t do any kind of rankings yet. I imagine eventually we will do them, but we do ask it depends what you mean by rankings we do when we collect this feedback. I can go into this a little bit more if needed, but we work pretty proactively with companies to collect this feedback.

Just to ensure that the general, you’re gonna have an online reputation whether you want to or not as we, we do it pretty authentically and pretty transparently. But yeah. When we do collect this feedback we are asking employees to basically give their employer a score from.

Five, strongly agree to five, [00:06:00] strongly disagree on, where their company stacks on those five categories. And yeah, again, like it’s not meant to be like, oh, they’re good or bad at this one category, but it’s more meant to be like, Yeah, if you wanna work for a company with great flexibility, we have some companies on our site that do really great at that.

We have some companies who don’t do as great at that, but they’re really great for, opportunity for growth, stuff like that.

William Tincup: So when, let’s say do you serve like new fresh grads or early stage career? Do you have a specialization or do you see anything in the data that kinda susses out and okay, this is the audience right

Jacob Rios: now?

Yeah. It’s a good question. We don’t really okay. Let’s see. So I actually really like your, I was looking at your podcast earlier and I. Before this I was, I basically did product management for 10, 15 years. And the way I like to think about this is jobs to be done is like another framework.

And so it’s basically like our target audience is not defined by yeah. Age or really anything. Maybe stating the [00:07:00] obvious here, but our target is just for people who care about those, one of those topics, right? It does tend to skew a little bit younger, but but even then, like in some categories and actually the reason we picked those fab categories is regardless of demographics.

Those were the top five categories, again, across age, gender, so on and so forth. People told us like, these are the big factors I consider when looking for a new job outside of compensation and benefits, obviously.

William Tincup: What do, how do companies, or let’s say, how, let’s not assume that. What if there is a way that companies interact with or employers interact with it, how does that play out?

Jacob Rios: Yeah. Let’s see. Basically the, the use case or the value proposition to an employer is and it is changing a little bit with kind of this market’s changing very quickly, the use case is, look, I’m an employer, I. Maybe can’t compete on salary the way like a Google or a Facebook can.

Maybe I’m not as well known as, I don’t have that brand recognition, but [00:08:00] there are a lot of good reasons to work at my company. And so those are the companies that we tend to hire or that we tend to work with us. Again they offer either flexibility or growth or something.

So the way it works is, We have feedback tools that we give a company or we can also leverage existing feedback. But let’s just, for simplicity’s sake, I’ll just stick to the first category, right? We basically just say, Hey, let’s collect some feedback across, all these cultural dimensions from your employees.

We let a company, so they collect the feedback. We then let a company look at that feedback and they can make one of two choices. The first choice is they look at that feedback. It’s fair, it’s honest, it’s an accurate representation of who they are. It’s not all perfect, but again, at least it’s honest and transparent.

And, if they feel like, Hey, this is gonna help recruiting efforts, then we build a public profile with all of that feedback that’s public. So you can go to Job Sage and read about these companies. You don’t need an account, you don’t need a login. You don’t need to give data to get data as a job seeker.

[00:09:00] And you can read what you know all of their employees have to say. The big caveat though, cuz we do this part for free for companies is when you publish the data, we can’t just pick like the best data and or the best feedback and negate the more constructive stuff, right? Yeah, if not, then I would just lose all trust with job seekers.

Or, yeah. Then it’s what’s the point of all this? But if you know the other choices, let’s just say they look at the feedback and yeah, there’s clearly gaps. There’s work to do. Then the company can, choose to just keep that private and almost treat it like, like an internal engagement survey.

I’m sure you’re familiar with those. Oh yeah. Yeah. And then, yeah, just, it’s almost like a mini light engagement survey that they can use to improve their internal operations, with the goal again, of eventually making that data public. Yeah. Cause you know, I think, sorry I’ll stop here after this, but, I think to me, I just very strongly believe that it’s just like any relationship.

The more transparency, the more authenticity, the [00:10:00] more you’re willing to be a little bit vulnerable when going into a relationship. Like those are the people you wanna work for, those are the companies you wanna work for. Those are probably the personal relationships you want to be in. And so we’re trying to create those dynamics between employee and employer.

What if.

William Tincup: And this could be true of at any stage in one’s career, what if you don’t know where you

Jacob Rios: thrive? Yeah. Like you mean as a company

William Tincup: or as an, as a job? Yeah, as a, as an applicant or a candidate. Cause some of it’s assumptive that you would know or you would think that you would know where you thrive.

And I literally that you keyed in there’s not a bad culture, there can be toxic culture. Of course there can people that do illegal things. Fair enough. But yeah, totally. Yeah. Amazon, has a type A personality, wall Street type of culture. I wouldn’t thrive in that environment.

However, I know my, I, I’ve been around a block a few times. Yeah. I know myself well enough to know that I wouldn’t thrive in that environment, but, so how do people, how do candidates figure that out?[00:11:00]

Jacob Rios: Eventually it isn’t our plans to help with that. The short answer is we’re just relying on the candidate to know that about themselves.

But yeah, in the future, yeah. Part of starting a company is fighting the temptation to not try to do a thousand things. Oh, yeah.

William Tincup: Oh. Yeah. That’s a real temptation too, by the way. A lot of people go mission creep or scope creep, or whatever. This is vision creep. And and everything’s a good idea.

Yeah, totally. That’s the thing.

Jacob Rios: So yeah, I’ve thought about it and one of the hypotheses, I I guess hypothesis that, that may be too fancy of a word, but there’s a saying that people get hired for their skill, but fired for their behavior. And like when I think about the job search process, even LinkedIn, like I love LinkedIn.

I’m on LinkedIn all the time, so no knock against you LinkedIn if anybody is listening, but it’s still for the most part, a dig a print resume brought into a digital format with a, a very obviously healthy and robust community on of it. But [00:12:00] yeah. There should be something where instead of just trans, talking about my skills, like maybe there’s something where I can talk about my behaviors, my what stresses me out, what doesn’t stress me out, what motivates me, and that’s the thing you bring to the Tali, or at least part of it, to get to the question you’re answer you’re asking me is like, how do people find out? Where their strengths are. And there are things like DISC and all those other profiles, but we haven’t tackled them personally. We’re just assuming that people have a general sense of what they’re looking

William Tincup: for.

And salary. So let’s talk a little bit about money now or even in the future. Do you see that as something, as a part of your mission is to educate them as to what their market value is?

Jacob Rios: Yes and no. So in our original plans, We did, and we actually still may ask this question, what is your compensation?

What is your benefits? I think after one of my co-founders is like an HR professional and has been for a long time, and I’ve talked to a lot of professionals in this space and I [00:13:00] think the conclusion I came to is that it is very hard to. Create apples to apples comparisons for self-reported compensation data.

And so I think ultimately we came to the conclusion that we’d probably be adding, we wouldn’t be adding any value if we just did things the same way. And yeah. You mentioned Glassdoor, like there are sites like that Glassdoor comparably and they do a good job of that. Yeah, there’s no need for me to tackle that.

I think, I do think the way we will tackle compensation in the future is less around hey, I’m comparing different companies. What do they pay and more like right now on our site, if you do this whole survey thing I talked about and you share that very, in a very authentic and transparent way, you get.

We call a trusted employer badge. And I have, I do believe that in the future we’ll do a compensation equity badge, right? Meaning, we might look at, we’ll probably look at companies internally, look across. Pay [00:14:00] across demographics levels, so on and so forth, do like a mini audit, not like a in super, in depth audit.

And if to the best of our abilities, we can tell that. Yeah. They have a compensation philosophy. They and, to the best of their ability. They pay equitably across, demographics, so on and so forth. Then we would give them like a compensation equity badge. So at least you may not be able to benchmark against other companies, but at least you know that if you apply.

They take compensation equity seriously, and you can trust that that you’re gonna, be treated fairly.

William Tincup: So tell you without secrets, soft stuff but Sure, sure. Getting reviews. Yeah. So getting employees or candidates or whatever, getting them to review places that they work. How do you do that?

Jacob Rios: Yeah. I wish I had a secret sauce that would be like the real billion dollar idea. It’s this is, as a product person it’s weird for me to say this, but a lot of, we’ve done a really good job of collecting feedback. We’ve done a really good job of and very thankful that.

[00:15:00] Employees, people leaving back have shared things like their demographics so you can see, you know how things break down by parents and this is the part that feels weird to say, a lot of it is just like simply the brand and the messaging and who we’re just trying to be as a company.

Like when you come to our site to leave a review, like our messaging is look like just. Enable and help out your fellow job seeker give the type of advice you’d give a good friend. So don’t just like, not just the negative or not just the positive. Give real honest advice cuz that’s the only way, like you’re gonna help other job seekers and So far, I feel like we’ve been pretty successful.

We’re just, putting out a different vibe and yeah, it’s just trying to be authentic ourselves and yeah. So there’s no secret sauce, no technology, or No, none of that. It’s just, yeah just how we present ourselves,

William Tincup: when, as we talked about the employers a second ago, who are the folks that care the most?

My gut tells me it’s like employer branding folks, but who do you find on the employer side that, that wants to be involved in kind of te telling their story or [00:16:00] help tell their story, et cetera? What’s the clients look like,

Jacob Rios: Yeah. Yeah, that’s a good question. It’s evolving and yeah, if you have any feedback, I’m gonna ask you that question back.

So early in our, we’ve been around for a little over a year and I would say the first six months that would’ve been small to medium-sized tech companies. So again, companies who really had some strong hiring needs. Nobody knew where they weren’t Google, Facebook, they had a strong culture or a u something, right?

A unique culture that they. And that’s how they were really looking to differentiate the last four or so months is, you probably know better than anyone. There’s lots of layoffs, everyone’s slowing down, hiring, and so just, it’s not as much of a priority. So going forward, or at least in the last few months where we’ve had the most more success is healthcare, right?

Nurses, physicians things like that. The, a lot of those dynamics, emphasis on culture, those are all still alive. And while there and healthcare is still hiring very much. And then the other one that’s a [00:17:00] little surprising is bigger companies who, like you mentioned like they actually have people who have titles in the company that are like employer, brand manager, things like that.

Our pitch to them is our pitch. That sounds cheesy, but it’s just like you, you have a, you have an online reputation where you like it or not. Let’s work together and let’s at least make sure it’s accurate.

William Tincup: I think I can see them really being, not just intrigued, but really into that because especially if there’s nothing there, they get, it’s a clean slate blank page.

But even if there’s stuff there, like I, I’ve always believed that rating sites work with this kind of 70 30 kind of you. What you want is, yeah, you want 70% of people that visited the sushi restaurant to have a positive review. And 30% you want you, if. If everyone has a positive if it’s a hundred percent all positive, I don’t trust it.

Yeah. And if it’s all negative, I also don’t trust it. So it’s like some trust is somewhere [00:18:00] I, maybe 70 30 is not the right thing, but there’s a place where sentiment, it creates trust. It’s okay, negative and positive sentiment creates stress. And for me

Jacob Rios: it’s. Yeah, no, I think you’re actually pretty, pretty close in those percentages.

So I don’t have this expertise, but I used to work for for somebody who started a review site. Not in any of this industry, but just the commercial space. And yeah, that was the thing that he would always say is it takes four positive reviews to negate a negative one. Oh, ing, so you’re basically right there.

And then the And then yeah, you are right that if everything seems too good to be true, it probably is. So it’s like realist housing sites or dating profiles or company profiles.

William Tincup: So that’s too funny. The, yeah, when you get talk to, I mean you’ll probably, you talk to candidates all the time cuz you’re always trying to make the tech better.

But let’s talk about the employer side for just a second. When do you do demos? Yes. Do y’all do demos for employers? Okay. [00:19:00] Yes. So all the time. What’s your favorite part of the demo? Like when you know that you get ’em to this part? There’s gonna have I call it an aha moment.

That’s kinda cheesy. Yeah. But no. I like that. Yeah. But the favorite part of yours, not necessarily theirs, but yours.

Jacob Rios: Yeah. Let’s see. Favorite part of the demo? This will probably also sound cheesy, but I read a book a long time ago. I always, that Simon Sinek guide, it’s start with why. And so it’s like people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it kind of thing. And so my favorite parts of the demo aren’t like any particular feature, but it’s just when I’m talking to somebody who like very clearly understands.

Gets the same why that I care about or the company cares about. And like I said that why is, I’ll be a little bit briefer this time. It’s just that hey, the best way to hire is. Or the best way to start any relationship is just to be a little bit more transparent, a little bit more authentic.

And yeah, it’s scary, but in the long run, like that’s gonna be so much better for, in this case, things [00:20:00] like employee retention trust over time, all of that. So that’s maybe my like very, like that’s my kind of high level answer to that. And I can tell pretty early on when people are like, oh yeah, I get this, like this makes sense.

This is how the world should be and where it should be going.

William Tincup: Okay. Partying advice for candidates. Searching for a job and what they should be looking for that because you get to, you get the, this wonderful vista in which to look out and see Yeah. How people look at jobs and all that stuff. So advice for them.

And then advice for employers. Same thing like what we, if you could just yeah. Magic wand.

Jacob Rios: Yeah. Yeah. For job seekers, I would say two things, and I’ve made these mistakes is, don’t, this is hard right now cause I know a lot of people are looking for jobs, but don’t be afraid to don’t settle, don’t be afraid to, I’ll tell it in the form of a story, right?

I usually only bring up the fact that I have three kids and probably have to leave by five o’clock, even though I work very hard, and do work after my kids. But I don’t ever bring that up until like [00:21:00] at the very end when they’ve made me an offer. And it feels like the tables have turned and, hopefully I don’t have to find another job again.

And I could just work for myself forever. But if I ever do have to go for another job, like that’s one thing I’ll do better is just from the beginning, right? I don’t wanna waste their time. I don’t wanna waste my time. I have three kids if this is not flexibility so yeah, just.

Know what you want or try to the best of your ability and don’t be shy about it. In the end, that’s gonna be good for you. The other piece of advice I would give to job seekers, and this was even before I started this company, was, at the end of our day there’s I don’t know how old you’re, but there’s a song that’s It’s called like everybody’s free to wear sunscreen.

It’s like a nine inch song. And it’s it know song this a song that dispels like a ton of advice. And one of them is wear freaking sunscreen. But

William Tincup: do you know this song? I do know the song. So great. Yeah.

Jacob Rios: I haven’t listened to a long time. I didn’t even go listen to it after this, but One of the pieces of advice was like, don’t be too hard on yourself for your failures.

And don’t be, don’t pat yourself too much on your back for your successes because half of this is all luck at the end [00:22:00] of the day. And so what I would say is I don’t know, it is to me like when I felt like my career changed was when I just focused on I just want work on with good people and I want to work with.

People like on something I care about. And yeah, the rest of it’s all freaking luck. And like the only way I’m not gonna regret my career is if I focus on those two things. So just realize like a lot of this stuff is luck no matter what tells anybody, tells you. I love and then

William Tincup: advice for players. Last


Jacob Rios: Take out Job Sage. I don’t know. No, I think I’ve already touched on it. It’s yeah, at the end of the day, think this sounds, this is gonna sound, I don’t know how to say this. This will sound weird, but Yeah. Long term think long term, right? I know we’re in a short term recession and people aren’t thinking about hiring, I think in the end yeah, if you believe in jobs ages, why?

I’m highly biased, but I think that’s the. That’s the best in the end.

William Tincup: Love it. And this is a good time to be working on your brand, quite frankly. Yeah, absolutely. This is, if it’s slow for the recruiters or employer branding folks or marketing, whoever’s interacting with Job Sage, this is a great time to actually get your house in order before things get busy again, because they [00:23:00] will get busy again.

Yeah. Yeah. That’s inevitable. There

Jacob Rios: you go. That’s a better answer than I give,

William Tincup: I dunno about that, Jacob. Fellow Texan, absolutely love. Yeah. Having you on the show. Appreciate you and I love what you built at Job

Jacob Rios: Sage. All right, thanks William, I appreciate

William Tincup: it. And thanks for everyone listening to the Use Case podcast.

Until next time.

The Use Case Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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