After Boston-based investment bank Leerink Swann & Co. (#30) suffered the consequences of a bad hire made by its executive-search firm, CEO Jeffrey Leerink decided he'd learned his lesson. Now the company evaluates members of its would-be recruiting firms as if they themselves were recruits. "Formerly, we had placed a lot of blind faith in a firm," says Leerink, "and it proved to be costly for us in a lot more than dollars." Now Leerink Swann puts recruiters through a series of interviews and conducts extensive background checks with their customers. Many of the recruiters don't make it through the rigorous process, the CEO notes. "We've passed on at least 50%," he says.

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