Standard interviews, resumes and references aren't much help for small-business owners seeking top talent, says Scott Lerner, founder of Solixir. You can fill lower-level positions with the best and brightest by giving job seekers a chance to prove themselves as interns or part-time employees before hiring them on a full-time basis, he says. As for higher-level jobs, it's a good idea to interview candidates outside the standard office setting to learn more about who they are.

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