How to Write a Great Job Description as You Outsource

job_descriptionAs you begin your outsourcing journey, your ability to write clear instructions, including generating an excellent job description, could make or break your ability to attract the right candidates. Far too often, people realize their mistakes only after they’ve started to get applications.


Don’t Make Outsourcing Mistakes at the Getgo

The truth is that the quality of the applications you receive as you outsource is directly in line with the job description you’ve crafted. A proper job description will allow people to self-select out of even trying to work with you. There will be certain barriers included in a great job description that will decrease the chances of you getting applications that are not in line with what you’re looking for. Here’s what to consider in an excellent job description.


The Exact Skills You Expect the VA to Already Have

When outsourcing to a virtual assistant or any other type of contractor, you need to be especially clear about which pieces of software or tools they must already use. Some people will describe themselves as quick learners and may use this to try to circumvent your initial job description if you don’t clarify it exactly.

List the level of proficiency you’re already expecting them to come to the table with. If you are open to someone picking something up as they go, you can list this on the job description as well. Just know that if you do that, you’re going to get more applications to sort through.


The Right Personality Traits for the Job

Never overlook the prospective personality of someone you’re outsourcing to. If they are going to be working closely with you, write your communication and personality expectations. You can phrase this in a positive manner in a sentence such as, “The ideal candidate will…”  This means that someone reading this who falls directly in line with those personality traits will most likely identify themselves quickly and be excited to apply.


What You Are Not Looking For

It is perhaps equally important to include what you are not looking for in a candidate when putting together a job description as you outsource. Although you’ve already listed the tools and personality traits you’re hoping the VA comes to the table with, it can also be valuable to explain the type of person you’re not looking for.

For example, in a recent executive assistant job description, I included that I was not the right fit for someone who is looking to have five or more clients at a time and enjoyed growing their virtual assistant business as big as possible. I was very particularly looking for someone who could give me personalized attention and wouldn’t allow my priorities to fall to the bottom of the to-do list because they were trying to manage ten or more clients before burning out and having to quit anyways.

Although some people who did not meet this requirement still applied, I was able to tell instantly during our Skype interview that they were not the right fit. This really helped to clarify exactly what I was looking for and to ensure that I kept this top of mind as I interviewed candidates.  

Laura Pennington

Laura Pennington burned out teaching 7th grade in Baltimore City and realized that traditional education was not for her in the midst of pursuing her PhD in public policy. She launched a freelance writing and virtual assistant career that allows her to work from home on her own time, teaching others how to build at-home businesses and providing content and strategy for major companies like Microsoft. She is a soon-to-be military spouse who has moved four times in seven years with her Navy man. She is a former competitive tap dancer and enjoys spending time with her cats and reading books like a good nerd should.

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