Do you find screening and interviewing job candidates an overwhelming time drain? Keith Alper, president of Creative Producers Group, in St. Louis, uses an interviewing method that screens as many as a dozen promising candidates in less than two hours. Potential hires at the 40-employee corporate communications agency are invited to a 20-minute presentation about the company, followed by a question-and-answer period. Then, each candidate meets with a senior staff member for five to seven minutes. The strongest candidates are invited back for more in-depth interviews. The other candidates, Alper claims, generally appreciate not having wasted a lot of time.

This group interview method serves a number of functions. "It lets us have a feel for all the candidates in one room," says Alper. A few participants disqualify themselves right away by being late or asking inane questions, he reports. The company's managers also get a chance to observe the candidates interacting with one another. Finally, the group presentation saves the company significant amounts of time.