About a year ago, Jim Sasko, president of Teakwood Builders, found that he was spending too much time interviewing job candidates who simply wouldn't fit in with his company. To solve this problem, he developed a series of questions designed to measure an applicant's realistic potential for the job. The following form is attached to the bottom of his basic employment application.

Sasko isn't searching for a golfing buddy or someone to play cards with, but he is on the lookout for habits that might affect someone's job performance. Certain hobbies might also indicate someone's aptitude at working in team environments or holding responsibility.

Questions like this measure a prospective employee's true interest in working for the particular company. Sasko will sometimes interview a person with good answers to this section before seeing their resume. "The ones who take the time to fill out the form are usually the ones you want to talk to," he says.

Please answer the following questions:
1. Why are you applying to Teakwood?
2. How do you spend your free time?
3. What has been your greatest accomplishment?
4. What are some of your strong points?
5. Who was the best boss you've ever had? Why?
6. If hired, how long do you expect to work with Teakwood? Why?
7. Why do you think customers hire Teakwood?
8. What is customer service?
9. Why do so many small businesses fail?
10. How many 1/8" are in one inch?
11. What is the actual length of an 8' precut stud?
How would you handle the following situations?
1. You often work with Steve and he never does his share of the work.
2. You have noticed that Robert took a box of nails home with him yesterday.
3. Some people in the company got a raise and you didn't.
4. A customer is not happy with the paint color in her remodeled bathroom and wants it redone.

"You'd be surprised how many people -- even those who say they have experience -- can't read a tape measure," Sasko says.

This question, of course, isn't so simple. But the answer -- 92 5/8 inches -- is basic industry knowledge. If an applicant responds incorrectly, Sasko knows that he is probably lying about any prior experience he claims to have had.

These four queries are the most important on the questionnaire. There are no "right" answers, says Sasko, but there are definitely "wrong" ones. Like most employers, Sasko is looking to hire people with good problem-solving skills, cool heads, and a sense of responsibility. This last section can go a long way in revealing a person's character and compatibility with company culture.