Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) equipment is improved by matching the information needs of an incoming caller with the particular expertise of a telemarketing agent who handles such calls. Each incoming call is assigned up to three prioritized skill numbers that estimate skill requirements of the calling party. Each agent possesses up to four skill numbers that represent various particular abilities of that agent. Numbers 1 through 9 are used. Upon arrival of the incoming call, a search is made for a match between the first caller skill number and an available agent possessing that skill. If no match is found, a similar search is made with respect to the second caller skill number. After a predetermined delay, a search is made with respect to the third caller skill number. When a match is found, the incoming call is connected to the agent possessing that skill. The longer that an incoming call remains unanswered, the larger the pool of agents becomes that will be allowed to handle the call. Although the specific expertise sought may not be matched, the present technique optimizes the matching process when a time constraint is imposed.