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Peering In

Peer-to-peer interviews give you a closer look at how prospective employees will get along with your staff--but be careful whom you introduce them to.

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This story appears in the January 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When Bruce Fenton gets a good vibe about a job applicant, he doesn't dangle a job offer right away. He wants the applicant to meet a few of the company's employees first. "People act differently with different people," says Fenton, founder and president of Atlantic Financial Inc., an investment firm in Westboro, Massachusetts, with annual sales topping $1 million. "If someone is abrasive to the junior people, we're not interested. They wouldn't be a fit."

Fenton, 32, uses a technique called the peer-to-peer interview, where applicants meet one-on-one with rank-and-file employees to ask questions about the job and the company. The employee sizes up the applicant and tells the boss what he or she thinks.

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