Before you write your job ad, complete a job analysis and description. This information will help you write an ad that will attract candidates to your company. The best way to avoid wasting time on interviews with people who do not meet your needs is to write an ad that will lure qualified candidates and discourages others. Consider this example:

Interior designer seeks inside/outside salesperson. Flooring, drapes (extensive measuring), furniture, etc. In-home consultations. Excellent salary and commission. PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE NECESSARY. San Francisco Bay Area. Send resume to G. Green at P.O. Box 5409, San Francisco, CA 90842.

This job description is designed to attract a flexible salesperson and eliminate those who lack the confidence to work on commission. The advertiser asks for expertise in "extensive measure," the skill she has had the most difficulty finding. The job location should be included to weed out applicants who don't live in the area or aren't willing to commute. Finally, the capitalized "PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE NECESSARY" underscores that she will hire only candidates with previous experience.

To write a similarly targeted ad for your business, look at your job specifications and pull out the top four or five skills that are most essential to the job. Don't, however, list requirements, other than educational and experience-related ones in the ad. Nor should you request specific personality traits (outgoing, detail-oriented) since people are likely to come in and imitate those characteristics when they don't really possess them. Instead, focus on telling the applicants about the excitement and challenge of the job, the salary, what they will get out of it and what it will be like working for you.

Finally, specify how employees should contact you. Depending on the type of job (professional or nonskilled), you may want to have the person mail, fax or e-mail a cover letter and resume, or simply call to set up an appointment to come in and fill out an application.

Excerpted from Start Your Own Business.