“Extreme Measures — Puppy Love”

Over the past seven years, Deb Weidenhamer has interviewed about 200 candidates to fill various job openings at her Phoenix-based company, Auction Systems Auctioneers & Appraisers Inc. And all of them took the "Spot test."

Spot is a St. Bernard.

Weidenhamer’s job interviews unfold in stages. First, she chats with interviewees for about 10 minutes. Then Spot, her dog, enters the room.

"When Spot doesn’t like someone, he’ll start barking or growling," she says. "And if that happens, we won’t hire that person."

A trained security watchdog, Spot has a knack for sizing up people. For example, Weidenhamer hired a seemingly strong candidate, despite Spot’s adverse reaction to that individual. The new hire lasted two weeks.

"I’ve seen studies showing that dogs have the ability to know a person’s character," she says. "It’s wacky, but it works."

Founded in 1995, Weidenhamer’s company has 25 employees and a five-year annual growth rate of 2,500%.