Last week I had a conversation with a colleague who asked for my help in hiring a new sales rep. She's looking for an inside rep whose sole function would be to set up appointments.

Now, I'm not a recruiter or a human resources expert. But one thing I do know is that inside reps need to sound good on the telephone. In addition, they must be able to follow directions. I've seen too many clients spend far too much time going through resumes and interviewing inappropriate candidates. So I told my colleague the same thing I tell my clients.

When you place your ad, rather than accepting resumes, ask candidates to leave you a voicemail. Set up a dedicated line that will not be answered to record their messages. Make sure applicants have several minutes to leave their contact information. Ask them to convey what made them respond to the ad and add a sentence or two about themselves.

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