EP 35: 3 Reasons You Need To Trash The VA Job Description! Do This Instead.

August 29, 2023

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An expert OBM taking the operational mental load off agency owners so they can become better leaders.

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Episode Notes

Job descriptions are a necessary evil for your business. I understand how easy it can be to create a template and then leave it alone for a while. However, that can lead to problems you may not see until you hire a new employee.

However, they can be used strategically to avoid those pitfalls! 

In today's episode, we will discuss three reasons you should ditch the templated VA job description and update it to maximize your hiring process. 


Read the Transcript:

“The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.”

To be someone with an innovative mind, I often find myself wondering if I need to reinvent the wheel because the wheel hasn't been working and everyone has been tolerating it OR if I need to humble myself under what is tried and true. I definitely challenge the way things have been done in the past by nature. I will tell you that doesn't always result in finding a different solution, but it's always worth exploring other avenues and opportunities that could best serve the way that you do things. Just because we do things differently than other people does not mean our way it's less valid or important. We need to make sure that when we are making decisions about doing things differently that we can check some boxes to make sure that it's actually worth the time investment to make the change and build a new process.

In this situation, I believe that challenging the way that people have always done job descriptions is extremely valid and a worthy conversation. Does that mean that you need to trash all of your job descriptions tomorrow? No. But it doesn't mean that you can use them as a starting point to modify them to make more sense for your business structure and culture.

One of my biggest frustrations with the way that a corporate company does things is that there is so much dependence on other people to train the new hire, in addition to that there is a lot of unknowns when you enter a new job because you either have to wait for the person training you to become available, or there's not a clear path of where you are today to where you need to be. There's not a lot of in-between explanation of what it looks like to be successful in the role. Of course, if you have a supervisor that is good at their job, they're gonna communicate that with you and what those things are. But even so they are still missing the piece that allows the new employee to self-evaluate. If there is not a clear path for them in their job of what success looks like then they are still guessing in between meetings or a valuations with that supervisor. Now, if you ask me, that's not all that empowering. What I love about online business is that I think we do a lot of things differently that are more supportive of humans being humans. Now, I don't think that every corporate company is trash, but I do think that they get into a rhythm of doing things a certain way that challenging the status quo becomes a moot point. Online business on the other hand is on the front lines of innovation, and how to better support people by giving them empowerment, autonomy, and more understanding and clarity around what is expected of them. This allows them to find their best fit quicker and also allows you to find your best fit quicker.

So I think there's definitely a place for us to challenge the tradition and intention of job descriptions. But there's also level of humility that comes with knowing that we very rarely have brand-new ideas. Is it possible for us to take a new idea that someone has done before and do it our own way? Absolutely! That is what puts us in business. That's what fills us with passion and drive and ambition to get after something. But it's also good to remember that the industry does not start and stop with our ideas. So I want you to hear everything that I am saying today, and putting it under the humility, lens and under the lens of your business, and make sure that the adjustments you make accordingly are supportive of what you're building, while still honoring what others have built.

I feel like I'm probably gonna have some people come at me for this title, but I promise you that it is worthy of being said and stated. I'm going to walk through some reasons why maybe a job description is not the best option to bring someone in on your team.

Just so that we can paint a picture here a job description is typically a word document, or a PDF of an explanation of who needs to be in the role, that includes the attributes and characteristics and skills sets of the person that you want to hire, any knowledge that they need to have on applications or tech, as well as the responsibilities they would have in the role. Now that sounds well-rounded and great but it's actually missing some very key pieces. Let's go into them:

It lacks the clarity/structure needed to give autonomy

Job descriptions will tell you what your responsibilities are, but what they don't tell you is how you're going to execute them and what that piece looks like. You may be thinking well we don't want to give people training materials from the very beginning because we want to onboard them softly and steadily, so they don't get overwhelmed. I agree with you on that however, there is a middle ground between giving them bare-bones information and giving them all the information and that is what we want to accomplish. That sweet spot of what to share when someone onwards into a new role is not just the responsibilities but the requirements for the role and the relationships that they will need to build to make their job successful. An online business, we have smaller teams, which means a lot falls on one person very rarely. Are you going to have one person doing one specific thing and that's all. We are the Swiss Army knives of our generation. An online business owners are multi, passionate, multi skilled experience, so we need to honor that and other people by making sure they understand the big picture of why their role matters not just the black and white responsibilities but the core reason why the role exists and how they contribute to the big picture. Not only does this provide more clarity, but it also provides more buyin. It shows your team how there, seemingly, smaller role, actually contributes to the bigger picture into the overall mission of impact in the business.

Doesn't include relationships/collaborations that people will need

I touched on this a minute ago, but I want to go into this more because I think there is a big topic here. Team collaboration is something that we all want as business owners, but not always something that we know how to accomplish. We can't force people to work together, or to work together well. In online business we also have it going against us that a lot of us are working on different time zones, and different parts of the country or even different countries. So facilitating collaboration on your Team and building relationships is imperative. I have a recent episode of the podcast that I'm gonna link in the show notes for you its Ep 31: How To Build A Collaborative Team Culture Remotely. If you were wanting to learn more about how to do that this is the episode for you.

It doesn't include results (which serve as KPIs for the team member)

This is a big one for me not only do the team members joining your team. Need to know what the overall purpose of their role is they need to know the results that you're looking for to prove that they are successful in it. One of my biggest pet peeve's in the online team building, business, virtual assistant industry is that we lack the capacity to be clear and upfront with the results that we need to see from the people we hire. And I'll just be really strict with you. That's a leadership issue. If you were lacking capacity to even take a step back to decide what your business needs. Then you need to speak to a coach who can help you gain some perspective around that next step. I am currently working with a couple of women who are hiring a virtual assistant, or to have a virtual assistant, but they don't know how to offload tasks effectively and ultimately they are just scraping by giving them things with a big question mark and aren't getting the most out of their outsourcing. That is not a VA problem that is a CEO problem. And let me be clear you're not a bad CEO, you're just an overloaded one and it's possible to get out of that headspace take a step back look at the big picture and plan out logically what this role needs to be and then empowering your person in it. A tricky thing about this too is that people are messy. We all have different working styles. We all have different personalities and so someone with ADHD may need an assistant to treat him differently than a client who doesn't have ADHD that doesn't mean that the CEO is any less of a CEO, it means that we have to be more clear about what our expectations and needs are, the results that we need to see from the role, the relationships that people need to have in order to execute the role effectively, and the non-negotiable requirements of what it's gonna take to be qualified for this role.

I will tell you guys you're probably thinking wow that's a lot of work when I could just go out and find the VA tomorrow. You totally could go out and find a VA tomorrow, but my concern is that when you do, it's gonna feel chaotic, you were gonna feel less empowered and like your tasked with more work because you're now having to figure out what you're even going to give to your VA. You're going to question if the VA you hired is the right fit. Sometimes they are and sometimes they're not. But ultimately, you don't know the answer to that until you do your work too take a step back, give yourself permission to be imperfect at this, and start somewhere, and work from the big picture down.

Here's what I don't want for you. I don't want you to hire someone that's not a good fit because you feel overwhelmed and someone told you that you need to outsource and hire a VA. I don't want you to chaotically approach your hiring process by either leaning on your virtual assistant, going through their own process, and thinking that's going to cover all the bases. I'll tell you when I train a virtual assistant, and how to build their business I'm gonna have them build an excellent onboarding process, but that is not always gonna solve your side of the problem. I don't want you stressed and overloaded after you hire your first VA. The whole purpose of outsourcing and bringing someone on to help you is to maximize your capacity and to minimize your stress. I don't want you to not hire your first VA or your next VA because you're either fearful of failing them, because you don't feel like you have the capacity to train them, or because you've been burned in the past, or have heard other people stories, and you're just simply fearful that it's not gonna work out.

Your virtual assistant should feel like your better half.

Here's what I do want for you. I want you to feel clear about how a VA can serve you in your business, maximize your effectiveness and amplify the impact that your business already has.
I want you to find a virtual assistant that doesn't just support you by checking things off of the list, but shares and removes some of the mental load that you carry in your business right now.
I want you to hire a virtual assistant, who is excellent, teachable, wicked, smart, and better than you. Your virtual assistant should feel like your better half. And lastly, I want you to feel prepared and empowered and energetic about bringing on a new team member. Because I will tell you that a lot of virtual assistant marketing is around speaking to the overwhelmed pieces of your brain, but ultimately, it's not their responsibility to sort through that for you.

So here's my solution. And it starts with a story. I started out as a virtual assistant and was experienced in administrative and support roles. Regardless of how long you have done something like that, there will always be a learning curve, because when we hire people in our business, our business will operate differently than someone else's. And I am seeing that in my DM's. I would say over the last six months, I have spoken to several women who are trying to figure out how to improve, optimize, and streamline elements about working with their virtual assistance. Or they message me because they're looking for someone excellent. Now, lucky for them I have a membership for virtual assistants that trains them on how to be more proactive more effective for you. So I have a network of people that I have played matchmaker with. But at the end of the day, the piece that's missing for these business owners is the structure, the reflective work that it takes to sort through their own needs and how they operate, two then delegate effectively, train their virtual assistance, efficiently, and ultimately get themselves to a clearer place to do the work they were meant to do.

I think the coolest part of this is the fact that not only is that the goal for the business owner but that's also the goal for the virtual assistant. We want to work together to support each other in the work that we do. It is a cycle that is supportive and sustainable. It is an opportunity for a business owner to support the virtual assistant and create impact through their business while the virtual assistant helps create impact in the business owner's business. So often we think of these relationships on opposite sides of the fence, probably because we have different skill sets, and typically one finds another when there is a gap between what is and what's needed.

But instead, we're actually in the same boat and have some of the same goals. I would even venture to say some of our WHYs are the same or very complementary of each other.

So here's what I would love to see for you. I would love to see you take a step to build a structure that is going to empower your virtual assistant moving forward. I have this structure already built for you. To get the ball rolling you're going to download my virtual assistant success plan. This success plan takes the common 5R work plan and customizes it to the virtual assistant role so that you can have a very clear plan from this day forward about how your virtual assistant is going to FULLY serve you in your business.

The link to grab this is in the show notes!

Until next time, I am cheering you on. Talk to you soon.

Alright friends, that is it for this episode! Thanks for joining me today! I appreciate you!

Be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts or at You can also continue the conversation with me on Instagram at @jilliandolberry.

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