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If you dread interviewing prospective employees, you're not alone. Interviews take lots of time, and hiring decisions can be tough.

To help business owners find the best candidates, some companies offer pre-employment tests designed to gauge whether a person has the skills needed to do the job. Wonderlic Inc., a provider of employee recruiting, assessment and selection technologies in Libertyville, Illionis, offers Basic Skills Tests, which quickly gauge math and verbal skills for entry-level applicants. "Many people rely on educational credentials," says Wonderlic president Charles Wonderlic Jr., "but the problem with that is there is no standardization. The Basic Skills Tests give employers the ability to objectively compare candidates to each other."

An introductory kit, includes 25 versions each of the 20-minute math and verbal skills tests and scoring software for $130. Other tests are available for in-depth testing at different prices. Visit for more information.

Also, try AMO Employer Services, a St. Louis-based consulting firm that specializes in employee selection and productivity systems. It offers free audiocassettes on pre-employment testing. You can order one through AMO's Web site at or by calling (800) 245-0445.

Ellen Paris is a Washington, DC, writer and former Forbes magazine staff writer.

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