When his company's closing rate isn't what he'd like it to be, Camille Saleh, corporate sales manager for Cincinnati-based Champion Window, sometimes gets the urge to run a help-wanted ad for new salespeople. But for more than three years, he's resisted that urge, primarily because Champion, like some other contractors, continues to have luck recruiting through referrals from current employees.

Rick Grosso, an industry consultant based in Lake George, N.Y., and in North Hutchison Island, Fla., encourages his contractor clients to dangle incentives before their own salespeople as a way to recruit reps from other companies.

“Who better to persuade them than someone in your own company who's making six figures,” he asks. Grosso also believes that a reputation for honesty and integrity will get people to work for you.

Denver-based Accent Windows' human resource manager, Scott King, thinks newspaper help-wanted ads are “a waste of time.” Instead, Accent has entertained the idea of participating in job fairs and of recruiting through the search engine CareerBuilder.com. The Internet option has been used successfully for several years by 11-branch K-Designers, based in Rancho Cordova, Calif., which regularly places ads on the Monster, CareerBuilder, and Yahoo Web sites, says vice president of marketing Kim Renstrom. The company also places ads in newspapers and has had some success buying lists of salespeople from trade publications.

The content of K-Designers' recruitment ads varies. In Internet postings, the company will “toot our horn,” to use Renstrom's phrase. That is, they play up such company credentials as its 27 years in business, and industry accolades. Renstrom says that K-Designers also stresses the fact that the company “provides our salespeople with a constant supply of leads,” a big selling point for reps looking for a steadier income stream.

But K-Designers won't always state what a salesperson can earn, partly because “it looks high to some people and increases skepticism,” Renstrom says.

Saleh, on the other hand, says that when Champion used to run ads, they called attention to the fact that “the job requires no cold calling, and that a salesperson can earn, on average, $75,000-plus in commissions.”

K-Designers maintains a call center that handles all its recruiting and interviewing. But Grosso recommends that help-wanted ads request resumes only and avoid encouraging applicants to call for an interview.

“Resumes are usually sent by people who are already employed and are looking for advancement and opportunities,” he points out.