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WS850: My Job Description For Finding Class A Talent with Whitney Sewell

To scale your business, you need the right team and your executive assistant of one of the most important members of that team. Following on from episode 800, today, Whitney shares his job description tips for landing top talent. Hiring someone who is the right fit takes time and patience, but it is so worth it in the end.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Whitney walks us through his job description and some of the specific things he has included in it, like a company overview, responsibilities, and competencies. We also hear about the application requirements and why they are so involved. A job description is the first interaction you have with a potential hire, so you both must put your best foot forward. You want to show how professional you are so they understand the high quality you expect of them. A good job description and application process is a great way to narrow down the applications quickly, so tune in today to learn more.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Finding an executive assistant is hard because they have to know you really well.
  • It is a big waste of time and money to make hiring mistakes.
  • The importance of getting the title of a job description right.
  • Include a brief company overview, so that applicants understand who they will be working with.
  • Hear Whitney’s job description for his executive assistant position.
  • How taking email management off of Whitney’s plate helped him gain more time.
  • Some of Whitney’s executive assistant’s responsibilities.
  • It is important to give your executive assistant autonomy and decision-making capacity.
  • A few of the importance proficiencies executive assistants should have.
  • Whitney’s application requirements; five things that he asks for.
  • Your network is a great place to find top talent.

[bctt tweet=”Ultimately, I want this person to know me well enough that they can help me and take as much off my plate as possible. — @whitney_sewell” username=”whitney_sewell”]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Whitney Sewell on Twitter

Real Estate Syndication Show Episode 800

Voxer

Asana

Microsoft Teams

QuickBooks

Topgrading

Kolbe A™ Index

About Whitney Sewell

Founder of Life Bridge Capital LLC, Whitney Sewell began his real estate investing career in 2009. Whitney’s passion is working with investors, helping them secure financial security via the exceptional opportunities that multifamily syndication offers. Whitney hosts the Real Estate Syndication Show, a daily podcast where he has now interviewed over 600 experts providing cutting-edge tools and strategies for the syndication business. Whitney and his wife, Chelsea, are on a mission to help other families through the process of adoption. They have personally endured the financial burdens that the process puts on families and have committed 50% of their profits to this goal. Whitney and Chelsea have three children by adoption.

Full Transcript

[INTRODUCTION]

[0:00:00.0] ANNOUNCER Welcome to the Real Estate Syndication Show. Whether you are a seasoned investor or building a new real estate business, this is the show for you. Whitney Sewell talks to top experts in the business. Our goal is to help you master real estate syndication. 

And now your host, Whitney Sewell.

[INTERVIEW]

[0:00:24.4] This is your daily Real Estate Syndication Show. I’m your host Whitney Sewell and today, another solo show. I hope you are ready to hire that executive assistant, that amazing, just class-A talent. I want to help you get there because that was definitely a turning point for myself.

I also want to apologize, I know I did a show leading up to this on the show number 800 and I know that was nearly two months ago but I encourage you to go back and listen to that, if you didn’t hear that one, because I’m going to move forward from that. That helped you to think through some different ways that I found my current assistant, I found other employees. 

I want to help you think through today the job description and I know you’ve probably heard or read different things about the job description and I want to share with you some things that I’ve recently learned just doing lots of research.

I wanted to hire a top-notch executive assistant and I knew that obviously, just like you, you don’t want to hire the wrong person. There’s so many negative things about that but just the time-loss in the time of educating someone and then learning, especially an executive assistant as anyone on the team for that matter.

[0:01:38.4] This person, I needed them to be able to have access to so many things. I needed them to get to know me very well so they can be thinking ahead of me and performing in some avenues, just like I would and understand me that well.

This had to be a specific person and I did not want to make a mistake of hiring the wrong person or at least wanted to go extend every effort possible to hiring the correct person. The time it takes to train someone, but then to fire someone and have to do it all over again, it’s a horrible experience for most companies.

I can’t express or stress enough the time, ahead of time that you need to take to ensure you’re completing this process the best that you can. I hope I give you some good tips today on how to do that and then I’m going to do another show and I’ll probably try to do this within a week and that way, you’ll have some other steps of getting this process going.

I wanted to get into that job description a little bit today and I’m going to go through the job description I used to find my executive assistant and some things that I think is crucial to have in there. Quickly, this job description, I wanted to be obviously very professional.

[0:02:47.1] I wanted to attract that professional individual that is not going to be looking at it and saying, “Wow, they misspelled a bunch of words” or you know, “They don’t really know what they want or what they’re looking for.” I wanted this to be extremely professional, I wanted it to be very clear, what I needed them to do.

Because this step is going to be a big step that’s going to help you to narrow down that process of – you know, you’re not interviewing 200 people, who has the time to do that? In the show 800, I kind of went through how many people actually applied versus how many people were interviewed and submitted documents, things like that.

This, your job description’s going to help you in a big way and so you know, immediately, it’s going to be the title of the position, right? Mine is executive assistant to the chief executive officer and it says full-time position. I want them to know as they’re applying that this is a full-time position.

It’s not a part-time, it wasn’t as you want or as you need to work or you know, it’s full-time position because I need you to be there to support me as much as possible. Right off the bat, I have a company overview. I don’t want this job description to be 28-pages long but it does need to have enough detail that obviously, they understand, that they are interested, that they can be a member of this team that we already have established.

 

[0:04:06.4] Right off the bat, a company overview and I’ll just read part of it to you or all of it. It says: “Life Bridge Capital is a Christian investment business based in Roanoke, Virginia with a mission to glorify God by helping investors create wealth while assisting families with the financial burden of adopting a child.”

Obviously, that references our foundation as well but I want them to just know that about us. Then it says: “We strive to provide high-quality, low-risk investments to investors while giving back. We have more than a hundred million in real estate under management.” And we have a lot more than that now. 

“I have produced more than 700 interviews”, actually over 850 now. “In the last two years in our daily podcast, we are growing quickly and we’re looking for a full-time executive assistant to join our team of A-players to support our CEO, Whitney Sewell. To learn more about us at LifeBridgeCapital.com. If you are a highly organized administrative professional with experience supporting an executive, read on to learn more about this exciting opportunity.”

Then it goes right into, “Position overview” it says, “This is a full-time role assisting the CEO, Whitney Sewell, and reporting to him directly. For this role, you’re able to work from home.” Which is very important by the way, especially right now with everything that’s happening. So many people want to work at home and I don’t blame them. I love working at home.

[0:05:18.6] I said: “From home with very flexible hours.” That’s very attractive to people, right? “On occasion, there is a need to work additional hours on evenings and weekends during an acquisition or other events throughout the year.” They need to know that I can be very flexible on hours, however, there are times where I need you to be available, maybe even longer hours than normal but there’s going to be other times where we’re very flexible.

Then it goes into our mission. The mission of this role of executive assistant. It says, “The mission of the executive assistant is to stay 10 steps ahead of their leader. Tracking all of the administrative details, clearing the path for them to make the greatest contribution to the business possible. The executive assistant will be a key asset to the CEO by anticipating needs at an exceptionally high level, allowing them to develop the vision, strategy for all aspects of the company so that we can reach our revenue and profitability goals.”

“While repetitive tasks are certainly part of this position, the tasks assigned can vary from week-to-week based on the CEO’s needs and the needs of the business. Most important responsibility of the Executive Assistant is to ensure that administrative tasks and projects are completed with a high level of efficiency, confidentiality, accuracy, flexibility, and positivity in order to support the initiatives of the CEO.”

Again, I encourage you to listen to the end of this because I’m going to share with you some very important things at the end of this that you need to have in there so it’s going to streamline this process for you. Next, it goes into the responsibilities.

[0:06:53.4] This individual needs to know as much as possible, ahead of time what’s going to be expected, right? What are they going to be doing on a day-to-day basis? Obviously, this isn’t going to include every detail but you should include numerous things here so they can even ensure that they’re qualified.

It says: “Responsibilities” and it says, “The executive assistant will have the following primary responsibilities. Email management on behalf of the CEO, meeting management including preparing agendas, printing reports, taking notes and distributing action items. Communicating on the CEO’s behalf both internally and externally. Running errands and attending meetings weekly.”

“Complex calendar management and scheduling both personally and professionally on behalf of the CEO. Varying personal and professional administrative tasks, including, but not limited to, booking appointments, research projects, coordinating travel, and ordering gifts, flowers, et cetera. Light project management and accounts payable duties. Weekly reporting to the team and CEO.”

That’s what I listed on there but think through, what do you spend the most of your time on? What can you hand off to someone? Your business model may be different than mine. Ultimately, I want this person to know me well enough that they can help me and take as much off my plate as possible.

[0:08:01.5] We can operate more efficiently, we can get back to investors much faster with information that investors need or questions they may have. One thing that is just a massive time issue or has been of mine is email.

I want to get back to investors as quick as possible, it was always an issue that I would have hundreds upon hundreds of emails in my important and unread, that include all of them but that’s just important and unread.

I would have to set aside hours to make sure that I am getting through that to get back to investors and different people on our team, that’s very important. That was something that was very important to me, it seems so – “Well, it’s not a very big task.” It is a big task for a couple of reasons.

One, it’s important to get back to these people as fast as possible. Two, it just eliminates stress for me when I know that that’s done, right? Now, we have different email management techniques that my assistant and I are using so I ensure that my inbox is like 20 or less per day. 

[0:09:02.4] I set aside a little time to go through it and she takes care of the rest, she knows what to do and then as we move along, that gets better and better and better and she figures out who these people are or how I might respond or things that I want to read, I need to know versus things that I don’t have to look at.

We help people all the time that email me and ask to be on the show. I don’t necessarily need to see that email. She can pretty much qualify, you know, if that person can be a good guest or not and she knows who to send that to on our team that manages our podcast and the booking side of the podcast.

The meeting management, including preparing agendas, printing reports, taking notes, things like that. She may be on a call or I’m on a Zoom call or just a phone call with someone else that I may potentially partner with or just do some type of business with and she may be there taking notes.

I’ll obviously make sure that person knows that she’s there and just for note-taking purposes or maybe it’s something we’re looking for somebody to help us with something specifically in the business and I may have her there because she has lots of experience and qualities that I don’t have and having her opinion about this person or about their qualifications as well.

[0:10:12.4] Obviously I have the final say but I still value her opinion and expertise. Then the next one says, “Communicating on the CEO’s behalf both internally and externally.” She does communicate through my email, however, when she sends an email, it will always say her name, acting on behalf of Whitney Sewell, something like that.

Or it is her name, Executive Assistant for Whitney Sewell. Something, so that individual who receives that email knows that it wasn’t from me but it was from my assistant. I never want there to be any question of who is responding or that you’re trying to have somebody else respond on my behalf.

I am but I want them to know that this is – we can provide the best service and getting back to them as quick as possible. If it’s from an investor or anybody, anything that I need to answer like that and then I’m going to be the one to answer that.

Making that clear and I would encourage you to do that as well. Running errands, attending meetings weekly, some of that. She does do that, she does run some errands for me that she can do local. She’s not local to me, just FYI, she’s not in the same city that I am in and she doesn’t need to be.

[0:11:19.8] There’s very few things, there are a few things that that would be beneficial for but not many that keeps me from only hiring local or within a certain area. She can be anywhere, I care much more about first, her character and her ability and her drive, above her being just in the same town as me.

Complex calendar management and scheduling is so crucial. I need her to know my calendar much better than I do. She needs to be able to look ahead at my calendar and look a week ahead, two weeks ahead, a month ahead and be putting things on there and making sure I do not have conflicts.

Or she’s reaching out to those people to say, “He can’t be here at this time.” Maybe someone emails and wants to speak to me and she’ll ask me, you know, “Do you want to speak with this person? Is this beneficial, is this the best use of your time?”

[0:12:05.2] You know this person is kind of my gatekeeper, right? She’s ensuring that I am spending my time the best way possible to move the business forward and I make sure she knows that. She needs to track my time and ensure that I am spending it the best as possible or if she feels like, you know this is not the best use of time, I want her to voice that to me. I want her to tell me, okay? You want to give them the reigns a little bit to do that. 

To help you think through that because often times, you are spending time on things that someone else can be doing and you kind of open your mind a little bit to that so you can be just more productive. Then I said, a varying personal and professional administrative task including but not limited booking appointments obviously, research projects according and even so ordering gifts and flowers. There’s times where I have sent gifts to people and she will just take care of that. 

I may give her an idea and say, “You go research this and I need to send a gift to this person” and she’ll just find it and I’ll say, “Okay, you know that’s great” or “No, why don’t we try this.” She has a debit card for our business account and she can handle it from there. I don’t have to think about that anymore. I’ve said it before, we use Voxer, we use a walkie-talkie app called Voxer and I may even Voxer her a message to write in a thank you card or somewhere to that individual. 

To say, “Hey, you know this is what I want to say,” and then send this gift so that way it’s done. If I had to wait until I have time to find that gift, it may not get done or it may be a month later or two weeks later and I wanted to be very prompt and so she helps me to do that. Like project management of course, weekly reporting, there is things like that on a weekly basis. We do meet, we have a scheduled weekly meeting. It’s like an hour, sometimes it can be two hours. 

[0:13:43.1] We’re going over specific things that we’re working on to move the business forward and so she is very helpful in that as I am thinking of things through the week, I’ll just Voxer her and say, “Hey, add this to our list,” or “We need to be working on this.” She helps me to get that ball rolling and start putting those pieces together in the background while I’m working on something else, so I cannot stress that enough. That is just the responsibilities, I just went in a little more in depth there.

And then next, I list out proficiencies and I won’t read all the details of each one of them but just a few of the titles here I said attention to detail is so important. A quality communication, high level of discretion, a team player, anticipating needs, affinity for technology. A few things there, obviously attention to detail is at the top of that list. 

This job description is going to help you determine if they have a great attention to detail or not and I’m going to tell you how that happens in just a minute but you know, even the affinity for technology so that’s the last thing but they need to be savvy with technology and not intimidated by learning new technology or they’re really going to hold you back. If you are not using technology right now, you’re operating at such a slower pace than most other people. 

You have to be willing to get into technology. There’s things that my assistant knows about technology that I’ll probably never know and that’s the way I want it. I want to learn those things too. I am not afraid of learning however intimidating. I know I can learn it but that’s her job. I need her to be able to jump in there and just learn to be proficient with specific things. I don’t have time to maybe use that piece of technology but I need to know that is working for us or had people on the team like her and others that are proficient in that. 

I mean just like our CRM or Zoom or just the Google Suite and Asana, I mean there’s lots of things, just Microsoft Office as well. Do they understand how to use Microsoft Word and Excel? Things like that or even QuickBooks if you use that. There’s lots of things especially your CRM but lots of software that is so important. 

[0:15:45.7] The next thing and the last thing, one of the most important things of this whole job description is at the bottom it says, “application instructions.” I want you think about this, application instructions, if they haven’t gotten to this part, which they probably will, they will scroll down and probably skip a lot of what you already said but they need to pay attention here in great detail. 

Right off the bat it says, “To apply, please submit the following via email to…” and I have an email address that’s a separate email address to mine. You know, it’s a specific place that we created within the business for people to apply to work with us but this is where you send it, okay? Then there’s five things listed. The top one it says, “Prospective Candidate Questionnaire,” and that is something that I briefly talked about in show 800. 

I am going to do a whole other show just about this document and hopefully in a week, you’ll hear this next show where I am talking about this document because it is so important and so I put it on the drive and it is in a Word document form. They can download it, you know right here actually I created a hyperlink here so they can click on this and download this form, right? That does a few things. That document is quite long, very extensive. 

I am going to go over it in another show but I encourage you to listen to that show so you can think through this and if you go through the book, Topgrading, you are going to learn a lot about this and even a lot more detail and I didn’t use everything in Topgrading but I learned a lot and it did help me to hire a class-A assistant but that perspective candidate questionnaire is so important and even the fact that it’s a link and they have to download it. 

It just is another kind of wall or barrier to entry, right? Are they tech savvy? Because there are so many, believe it or not, that couldn’t download it and so many that could so I knew it worked, okay? I knew it worked if tons of people have said they couldn’t download it then that’s one thing and so many would email and say, “Oh you know, we couldn’t get it to download. How do I do this?” things like that, while many others just send it right back and complete it but how that document is completed is so important and I’ll go over that like I said later. 

[0:17:49.8] Number two is a cover letter and PDF of your resume. Notice just in cover letter and then it says PDF of your resume, so as they are sending these things in, did they send it in PDF-form or did they send it in Word-form? Did they send it in something else? You will get everything all over the place but there is one more thing that shows you if they paid attention or not. I mean you could put it in any kind of form you want but you know, think about ways that you can put some things in there so you can tell if they are really paying attention. 

Number three says, “Tell us how you heard about this position,” and this is simple as did they tell us? You know, we want to know how they heard about it but ultimately, did they read this? Can they follow this simple instructions? Those three things are top and the fourth one says, “Strengths Finder Top-5 Strengths Report” and I put optional out next to that. I want to give them the chance to, they don’t have to do it but I want to give a space for those who are going to go above and beyond. 

There’s many spaces here for that but this is just another and number five is the “Kolbe A Index Assessment.” There is even free options for these things and I actually put that one as optional as well. I did not link to those things again. I want them to be able to go out there and find it and be able to get that to me, okay? Obviously, I gave them very detailed instructions. They’re very clear, very short so that way when these things are sent to me, I could see, how did they respond?

Did they send it to the correct email even? Where they able to download the form? Did they send me the cover letter and the resume in PDF-form like I asked and did they tell me how I heard about the position? Did they do the other reports or assessment that was optional or not? I didn’t completely throw somebody’s resume out if they did not do the optional ones at the bottom, however it does show me a little more desire there for them to take the time to do that. 

[0:19:43.7] Some people said, “You know I completed that five years ago. Here it is.” Well, you know, that’s not really what I’m asking for. I mean I want to know how you’re willing to go ahead and do it again to give us a more up to date response and things like that but they did submit it but that wasn’t really what I was looking for. I really want to see your desire to do this the best you possibly can. But again, the prospect of candidate questionnaire, I’m going to go over that again in another show.

That I encourage you to listen to show 800 and then obviously another one in probably a week. I will put out another show just talking about that form because it’s so important but this job description is one of you first ways of getting in front of someone and again, we submitted this on Indeed and we submitted it to our network. Your network is going to be a great place to find someone, you know, obviously through referrals. It’s a great place and so we received a ton of applications through Indeed. 

Then not as many through referrals but we did receive quite a few and I ended up interviewing numerous people or a few of them, I interviewed for people and I’ll go through that interview process as well in another show, where we did a tandem interview and I’ll go over that but just remember right now, job description, you need to create that. You need to list out what’s expected of this person, of this executive assistant or whoever and whatever this role is. 

You could use this for any role that you’re hiring within your business. But this is one thing that helped me to narrow down quickly just the mass number of applications and again, I will share with you how we found my top assistant in a later show.

[0:21:21.2] I hope you have learned a lot about just the hiring process how we were successful. There is many other details but just for time sake, I can’t go into everything but those are just some details that I hope you will consider. You know first, you need to consider hiring an executive assistant as soon as possible. They don’t have to be full-time initially but you need to. You’ll grow into that but you need to hire them the best that you can and obviously ensuring that they’re top-talent. 

I hope you are having an amazing day and I hope you will reach out if you have ideas for the show. If you have thoughts that you want me to share about how we’ve closed on over a $100 million in real estate in this past year or anything like that or the podcast, you can always email info@lifebridgecapital.com. You know, our team will take that and we’ll discuss different show options or if there’s other people you would like me to interview or questions you would like me to ask, we would love to learn that. 

If you’re a passive investor, I would encourage you to go to lifebridgecapital.com and click on the “invest now” button. That where you will just sign-up to schedule a call with me and our team or with me personally and so that way, we can discuss your goals in investing and how we can help. We’d love to do that and I encourage you to do that sooner than later. We have deals coming up all the time. 

I hope you have a blessed week and we will talk to you again soon. 

[END OF INTERVIEW]

[0:22:37.2] Don’t go yet, thank you for listening to today’s episode. I would love it if you would go to iTunes right now and leave a rating and written review. I want to hear your feedback. It makes a big difference in getting the podcast out there. You can also go to the Real Estate Syndication Show on Facebook so you can connect with me and we can also receive feedback and your questions there that you want me to answer on the show. 

Subscribe too so you can get the latest episodes. Lastly, I want to keep you updated so head over to LifeBridgeCapital.com and sign up for the newsletter. If you are interested in partnering with me, sign up on the contact us page so you can talk to me directly. Have a blessed day and I will talk to you tomorrow.

[OUTRO]

[0:23:18.1] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for listening to the Real Estate Syndication Show, brought to you by Life Bridge Capital. Life Bridge Capital works with investors nationwide to invest in real estate while also donating 50% of its profits to assist parents who are committing to adoption. Life Bridge Capital, making a difference one investor and one child at a time. Connect online at www.LifeBridgeCapital.com for free material and videos to further your success.

[END]

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