National Pen Client Story

It allowed us to identify candidates with the skills to become salespeople.


National Pen uses state-of-the-art technologies and quality control systems to create dynamic pens and promotional tools for today’s demanding marketing industries. Founded in 1966, National Pen is a major direct selling specialty company doing business primarily through the mail order channel of distribution. NPC has over a million active customers. The NPC niche is selling highly decorated pens and other products in low minimum quantities at very competitive prices.

Wonderlic Assessments Improve Hiring Decisions

For National Pen, finding good sales employees is a challenge. That’s why Marilyn McKelvey uses the Wonderlic Interactive Skills Test (WISE) to identify candidates with a propensity for sales.

“The Wonderlic Interactive Skills Tests were a godsend,” McKelvey says of the tests, which give her hard evidence about candidates’ ability and attitude toward selling. “It allowed us to identify candidates with the skills to become salespeople.”

McKelvey now asks every prospective sales candidate to take the Wonderlic Interactive Skills Tests online prior to an interview. Their scores give McKelvey insight into whether they can collect client information, make appropriate sales suggestions, identify ways to increase business, and close deals.

And, because the test is online, she uses it as a prescreening tool. “If they don’t meet our benchmark, they don’t come in for the interview,” she says. “It saves our time and theirs.” When candidates meet expectations, McKelvey shares scores with them during the interview, going over where they did well and where they might need improvement. She also uses the test scores to customize her training program. “If a candidate meets our overall expectations but is weak in one area, our trainers can focus on that.”

Since using the test, she’s been able to fill vacancies more quickly, and is more confident than ever that she’s making better hiring decisions. She’s so happy with the tool, she’s taken it on the road to the company’s other facilities to demonstrate for their hiring managers how it works. “Everyone should use this test,” she says. “It’s helping us identify people who can be successful.”