In this episode of the WorkingTech show, Kevin W. Grossman talks with Mitch Stephens, the founder, president and product architect for HRTMS, creators of JDXpert, the groundbreaking job information and description management system.
Listen to the show to discover:
- Why JDXpert was founded and the key primary challenge it addresses
- What separates JDXpert from the competition
- How does your solution improve the lives of talent acquisition and/or HR pros?
- The unique reporting offer by JDXpert for executive leadership, directors and everyday users
- How JDXpert improves the candidate experience
Listen to the WorkingTech Interview with Mitch Stephens here and read the edited transcript here:
Kevin Grossman: Hey everybody. This is Kevin W. Grossman, creator and co-founder of the Working Tech podcast and one of the cohosts. Bill and I welcome you to our podcast series where we’ll talk about all things tech in the working world around us including HR, recruiting, and related technologies. Our guests will include those who make the magic happen so we can all work better. Enjoy this conversation cohost, Kevin W. Grossman had with Mitch Stephens, the founder, president and product architect for HRTMS creators of JDXpert, the ground-breaking job information and description management system.
Mitch, thank you so much for being on the Working Tech podcast. First why don’t you tell us a little bit more about who you are and what you’re doing these days.
Mitch Stephens: Yeah, good afternoon, Kevin. My name is Mitch Stephens. I’m the president and chief software architect for HRTMS. We are a software company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. We focus most of our energy on job description management. We have a flagship product called JDXpert, which we believe is the definitive enterprise job description management tool.
Kevin Grossman: Tell us why not only the company itself was founded but whyJDXpert and what’s some of the primary challenges you’re solving today?
Mitch Stephens: So, a little bit of background on our company. We started in talent management. Actually in performance reviews and planning. In one of our early engagements, one of our customers came to us an described this problem of job descriptions, which we weren’t aware of at the time. She explained that she had about 1,500 job descriptions that were constantly needing updating. She went through a list of challenges they had with traditional tools like Word and Excel and SharePoint and those tools.
So we built a small tool for her as part of an add on into our application. That was the genesis for our product. We ended up taking that tool which worked really much better than she expected in her company. She actually got control of her job descriptions and we took it and showcased it to other companies and before we knew it, we’d discovered that in fact almost everybody has this problem. In a nutshell, it’s difficult of keeping a job description up to date when you need more than one party to participate in the completion of it, notably the hiring manager who knows the job and the HR professional who understands what a job description requires. So a key part of what we do is bring those two parties together in a secure and collaborative fashion.
Kevin Grossman: You know, Mitch, I’ve been an old dog in the space. Primarily in the HR recruiting technology side for closing in on 20 years now and I can tell you that it’s been a long time issue for talent acquisition professionals. I mean there’s the proverbial painful job description of keeping it updated on a regular basis and getting it out there. That as well as scheduling which is a whole other conversation that we’re not gonna talk about today. So, it’s always been a pain point. Obviously, you saw that there was a market for that there, right?
Mitch Stephens: Yeah. So, I think what we see is the software as a service platform has afforded us an opportunity to use technology that would have been much more difficult in say 15, 20 years ago and what we’ve identified is that most companies that use SharePoint and a Word document approach, which is probably the most common mechanism that people have for storing job descriptions, that whole type of generation of technology in our opinion, doesn’t really meet the requirements for what larger complex organizations need especially with the back drop of the level of compliance that’s required, the need for accurate postings and a host of other reasons.
So, as you know, Word documents are … We all love Word. It’s a great tool, but it’s not a data-driven tool. It’s very difficult to get in there and really understand all the data elements that exist in a job description.
Kevin Grossman: Right and that’s not even counting rev control, which was always very painful even with Doc sharing tools that are available today. It can still be quite messy and you know that it’s one of those things where you’re constantly revving and building on one template A that becomes this bastardized job that nobody in the world ever has the skills to actually apply for. Right? But so that said, there’s a lot more too, obviously, a job description. Right? That’s really important. So, how … There’s a lot of sensitive data also. There’s compliance issues that you have to look at. You can go further with how your system, your platform is helping an organization. We’re talking about companies that have hundreds if not thousands of jobs, that are out there.
Mitch Stephens: Absolutely. So, our product today is aimed at larger organizations, say 800 to 1,000 employees and above. I should mention, we’ll talk about this later, we are looking at a mid-tier product as well for the smaller organizations. But let me just describe to you the general approach that we took. The first thing is instead of thinking about a job description as a Word document, we’ve shredded it into many pieces and we treat it as a collection of data elements which are stored in a database and give you the ability to look at the information in their actual data context.
For example, you could compare education requirements across the company or do an analysis of physical demands across the entire repository. So, fundamentally what we did is took a data-driven approach and what we end up with is a Word document which we assemble from all the individual pieces. Beyond that, there’s a much bigger problem that happens when you get into very large organizations, Fortune 500 companies. What happens in those organizations is there’s literally thousands of job descriptions. I mean when I say thousands it can be 20,000, 30,000 job descriptions. Numbers of job descriptions that just go beyond what a department of humans can really get their arms around. In those cases, we have the technology we call peer and child where you can define base jobs and manage them in a more efficient way. It’s actually technology that we’ve patented where we can deal in a mathematical way with very large numbers of job descriptions. That’s one of the appealing points of our reputation, the ability for companies to really get their arms around this and effectively manage what is a constantly moving target.
Kevin Grossman: Right. Just the myriad of iterations that and even nuance, if that’s not even the right term, of job descriptions and job families.
Mitch Stephens: Right. So a common scenario is let’s say that you don’t have a system to manage job descriptions and organize the progressions of different positions. What happens in a lot of the clients that we go into, we call it the wild west where a recruiter and a manager may get together, host a job on the fly without really thinking about the impact of that position on the existing jobs that exist in the company.
One of the goals that a lot of our clients put out there is the ability, is the business process of pre-validating or pre-approving a position in advance of it getting posted. So that when you hire somebody, they come in and have the correct grade. They have a progression of responsibilities. Their position fits into a family that is escalating responsibilities and grades and so on. So, done right this can really improve the hiring process as well as what happens after the person’s hired in terms of onboarding them. Making sure their performance and so on.
If you think about it, job descriptions really are the foundation of almost everything you do in HR. It’s ironic that they have been the neglected part of the HR space.
Kevin Grossman: Right. Again there’s the … It goes all the way back to the intake sessions, right? Between hiring managers and recruiters and getting that information right. Having a repository of knowledge of all these different job descriptions and better matching … Does your system actually help make recommendations then to companies when they’re putting a job description together?
Mitch Stephens: Well one of … Yes. There’s a number of different techniques that we use. I wouldn’t say that there’s a silver bullet or you know, the easy button that you can push. In many ways what we do is introduce best practices in this part of the HR landscape. So, for example, first thing is finding the elements that you want in your company’s job description so that when you have this repository, you’ve got an apple to apples comparison of different job descriptions.
We also have a content library that we provide as part of our application which is sourced from a number of different places. We have about 5,000 job descriptions with responsibilities and key descriptions that are available to create well-formed job descriptions. In addition to that, we have a couple hundred thousand job postings which are integrated with our system so that you can actually see what is being used out there by your competitors in different industries. So, you might be … Just to see how your jobs are lining up against those other companies.
We are exploring ways of actually sharing job description information across companies. We always run into the issue of privacy about some organizations are much more sensitive about what information is shared. That is a goal of ours is to actually have a common repository where organizations can contribute and actually see what other people have.
Kevin Grossman: Something else that you told me before we did this podcast was that there’s always the compliance consideration of what has to be included in the job description, what shouldn’t be included and just in the US alone, there’s federal, state, and local employment regulations and considerations that have to be made. I think you mentioned to me that you have many of your customers also help bring those to the table, but how do you … That’s a great differentiator as well, right?
Mitch Stephens: Absolutely. So, if we look at the compliance landscape at large. There’s just one federal or state regulation after another. One of the features of our application is to bring the department of labor questionnaires in and actually have the determination done in our tool so that there’s a documented consistent way of determining exemption for different positions. That’s just one of many compliance things.
The other ones like the physical requirements which is particularly for regulated industries like healthcare and pharmaceuticals, is a lot of ADA type of things that have to be addressed with job descriptions.
Kevin Grossman: So, Mitch based on everything that you’ve shared then so far, kind of summarize for us how the solution, I mean it … We already got a lot of these pieces, but how is this really improving the lives of talent acquisition and HR professionals?
About Mitch Stephens
Mitch Stephens, the Founder and Chief Software Architect of HRTMS Inc., a human resource software company specializing in Job Information and Description Management, has over 30 years of experience solving problems for industry with simple yet powerful software solutions. In his role as Chief Software Architect, Mr. Stephens is responsible for the design and development of JDXpert and meeting the complex needs of JDXpert clients.
Mitch has launched numerous software products that make common business problems and back office functions easy, painless, and efficient. As a software architect and programmer, he developed many of the approaches to talent management that have become industry standards, particularly in job description management, performance management and compensation.
His successes include commercial releases with Report2Web, Redwood Software, OnSphere, and most recently, HCR Software, where he developed their industry-leading compensation software.
In 2009, Mr. Stephens began the development of the first stand-alone SaaS (Software as a Service) Job Description Management application, HRTMS Jobs. HRTMS Jobs, now known as JDXpert, allows users to not only edit and store their job descriptions but also make them the centerpiece and “record of truth” of their Talent Management Operations. Since its release in 2010, HRTMS Jobs/JDXpert has been the leader in Job Information and Description Management Software and remains the most comprehensive, powerful, and easy-to-use solution on the market today.
Mr. Stephens has worked with companies such as Xerox, Cedars-Sinai, Abbott Laboratories, Lincoln Financial, Haemonetics, Dollar/Thrifty Automotive Group, Böwe Bell and Howell, Panasonic, Wake Forest Medical Center, US Department of Defense, Wachovia.
This episode of Working Tech was sponsored by JDXpert by HRTMS. Are your job descriptions outdated or inaccurate? Are you frustrated by the limitations of editing your job descriptions via Word and email? If so, then it’s time to turn to an expert, JDXpert by HRTMS. JDXpert is a highly configurable, extremely powerful web based job description management tool that allows you to efficiently construct, manage, and store job information. If you’re ready for a solution to your job description woes, then look no further than JDXpert by HRTMS. For more information visit hrtms.com.