Once you get past being a one-man shop, you are no longer "the company." The people you hire are the company. And a company is only as good as its people. That's why a contractor should be in recruiting mode 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The best contractors are the best recruiters. Since recruiting is such an essential component of running a successful service company, you should learn all you can about recruiting. There are numerous courses, books and audio/visual products on the market that will give you a general education in recruiting.

The only way to have a quality company that you can be proud of is to keep your hiring standards almost impossibly high. If the right person comes along and you don't have a position open for that person, make the hire anyway.

If you really, really need someone, and the right person doesn't come along, do without. Never lower your hiring standards because you're in dire need of someone. Do less work. Take on fewer jobs. A bad hire costs more than turning down work.

When you recruit an appointment seller, don't recruit a paper-pusher who is also willing to answer the telephone; hire a telephone sales professional who also possesses office/clerical skills.

You're not looking for someone you can train over a period of time and eventually turn into a good telephone sales professional. You're looking for a sure-fire winner with a proven track record who already knows how to talk on the phone and just needs to learn some of the more common terminology used in your field, what's good about your company, and how to work your software.

There are many telephone sales professionals whose entire job consists of selling appointments. Many of those people have to do primarily cold-calling. Selling appointments on incoming calls would be a piece of cake to people who've already held one of those positions.

Your company website should have a "careers" section with job descriptions and requirements of most of the positions in your company, and a way to complete an employment application online.

When a position opens in your company, post it on your company's Facebook page and Tweet about it.

Businesses receive several telemarketing calls per day. These calls are normally regarded as a nuisance. Instruct your operator to ask telemarketers who sound engaging if they're local. If they are, have them put the call through to you. Listen to what they have to say. If the telemarketer you're listening to sounds like someone you believe people would like to speak to when they call your company, say so and see if that person wants to come in for an interview.

You can run a classified ad in the newspaper if it's reasonably priced, but the newspaper classifieds just ain't what they used to be, so you can skip that expense, if you like.

I've never had a good experience with an employment agency, so I'd skip that expense as well. You can hire the wrong person for the job just as well as they can.

I'm an advocate of devoting a fair amount of effort to whatever free resources are available online. For the last three years, every hire I've made has been by posting an ad on craigslist (www.craigslist.com). Be aware, however, that things change on an almost daily basis when it comes to social networking, so no one knows how long craigslist will continue to be a good source of potential employees. Wherever you decide to advertise this position, put it with the sales jobs. Don't put it in the section advertising clerical or office jobs.

Here's the content for your ad:

TELEPHONE SALES

  • Selling appointments on incoming calls
  • Career position
  • Regular, daytime hours
  • Hourly wage plus commissions
  • Employee benefits package
  • Established service company. Requirements:
  • No industry experience required
  • You must be an award-winning telephone sales representative to apply for this position
  • Some typing skills
  • Some computer skills
  • Clean criminal background
  • References.

For details call Mr. Jones at 555-XXXX. You can also fax your resume to 555-XXXX or email it to (your email address).

Finally, put your company name and address at the bottom of the ad. Ads that don't show the name of the company are called "blind ads" and are usually the way the lousy sales jobs in lousy companies are advertised. Many experienced, quality salespeople won't respond to a blind ad. Next month I'll cover the interviewing process.

Charlie Greer has worked with HVAC contractors for more than 20 years. He's the creator of "Who Answers the Phone?" an audio series that teaches HVAC contractors how to recruit and train an appointment seller, and teaches appointment sellers how to do their jobs better. Check it out at www.hvacprofitboosters.com or call 800/963-HVAC (4822). E-mail Charlie at charliegreer@gmail.com.