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Testing the Waters Want to get an idea of how prospective employees may perform on the job? Use a situational interview, and take them on a test run.

By Chris Penttila

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Kim Lopez was looking to hire a director of strategicpartnerships last year, she gave the most promising candidate onelast hurdle to jump: Develop and lead a partnership strategysession involving Lopez and her executive team-a task thesuccessful applicant would do on the job. The candidate prepared astellar presentation and handled the brainstorming sessionconfidently and diplomatically. He got the job.

"We wanted to know we had somebody who could think, andthat's hard to discover in the interview," says Lopez, 37,CEO of Remedy Interactive Inc., a 4-year-old ergonomicssoftware company in Sausalito, California, with 12 employees.Today, the company, which helps clients such as GE, Intel and Visastreamline their ergonomic programs, is incorporating the ideasfrom that presentation into its business strategies.

Lopez is a fan of the situational interview, a hiring methodgaining popularity. Situational interviews help companies getbeyond the resume to see how an applicant reacts in a real-worldscenario. The situational interview takes many forms, such asasking an applicant to deal with an angry "customer"played by one of the interviewers or, as at Lopez's company,having an applicant pose a step-by-step strategy to handle abusiness problem.

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