In an age of professional résumés, it's difficult to tell much about candidates you are interviewing. One way to assess them is to have them write up "minutes" after a job interview. Victoria Buyniski, CEO of $5-million United Medical Resources Inc., in Cincinnati, has used the approach to hire each of the 91 employees who staff her health-care-administration business -- from the mail room to the executive suite.

Candidates who don't come off well in a face-to-face interview will often show promotable attributes in their writing, while others describe a job markedly different from what Buyniski has to offer, indicating potential communication problems. "Three pages dashed off in 15 minutes tells me they are producers," she says. "Lots of cross-outs tell me that people couldn't even match their socks very easily."