From file "038_pss" entitled "PSfline10.qxd" page 01
From file "038_pss" entitled "PSfline10.qxd" page 01

There is a message from the boss saved on my voice-mail. I listened to it once about a week ago and it filled me with such dark terror that I just couldn't face the message's implications.

Lucky for me, the boss is on vacation. I dumped it right into the “saved” mailbox.

The dreaded message, from what I remember, starts off very positive. He complimented the sales figures for the quarter, commended the staff's ability to keep up with a nice sales increase, and mentioned the improving margins. All great stuff—until the end. He signed off with a quick six-word sentence that froze my blood: “It's time to hire another salesperson.”

I know, I know. I should be excited. We're growing. And growth must be supported by increasing the size of our staff. But the thought of crafting job descriptions, wading through applications, scheduling interviews (only to have candidates cancel or simply not show up), and muscling through reference calls and then second interviews just doesn't appeal to me. And that's before facing inevitable salary discussions.

When it finally comes time to face the boss's request I'm going to give myself a leg up. I'm going to spend a little more effort on a carefully crafted advertisement—not just a few haphazard lines in the help-wanted section. This will be a quarter-page ad filled with information that will provide a thoroughly accurate picture of who should apply.

Here is my first draft:

“If you don't know that a 2x4 is not really 2 inches thick, or if you think OSB is a rap band, please stop reading this.

We are looking for a lumber and building material professional salesperson. By professional, we mean PROFESSIONAL. If you thought about interviewing in a T-shirt, don't bother. By salesperson we mean someone who sells. Preferably a lot.

Please be prepared to display your knowledge of the building industry. Be forewarned that having built your kids a swing set or having a cousin who is a plumber will not count. Nor will your addiction to home improvement reality shows.

While we're on the topic of addictions—don't have any.

And another thing—please, please, please list references other than family members. Really—it's embarrassing for me to ask your Aunt Hilda about your work ethics.

So, if you've read this far, you're probably wondering what I have to offer you. That's easy—nothing! Absolutely nothing! Well, except the obvious: We're hiring, so you know we are a growing company. To be growing means we must have a great support staff, solid service levels, and quality management.

If we have all those great people, we must offer an aggressive compensation package. If we can afford to do that, we must be profitable, meaning we offer you long-term job security.

So send me a resume if you want to; otherwise, leave me alone, I'm busy.”

I'm a little nervous about being so straightforward, so I haven't placed the advertisement yet. But I'm sure I'm not the only one who wonders if doing this would help prevent wasted phone calls and uncomfortable interviews.

I'll take any suggestions on rewriting the ad. But please hurry—the boss is due back tomorrow.

Tad Troilo is a manager for Cranmer's Kitchens by Design in Yardley, Pa. 215.493.8600. E-mail: