Northwest Lineman College Client Story

Wonderlic assessments are almost like a crystal ball.

Putting a Charge into HR

Electricity is one of the backbones of our society, but we often don’t think about it until a storm knocks down a power line and we are suddenly without it. It brings us heat, light, water, entertainment, hot and cold food, even fuels some of our cars – but what brings it to us?

Those mysterious, often ignored wires crossing overhead and hidden underground carry vital power to our homes and businesses. Without them, and the people who build and maintain them, we would be living and working in the dark.

Many of the men and women who work on the electrical system of this nation were trained by Northwest Lineman College, the largest electrical lineman training school in the United States. NLC, founded in 1993, trains over 3000 students a year with campuses in California, Idaho and Texas.

Successfully training this many students requires a large group of competent, reliable instructors and administrators, and NLC uses Wonderlic’s suite of pre-employment testing products to help determine which applicants will fit the bill.

Aaron Howell, President and founder of NLC and a Certified Journeyman Lineman implemented Wonderlic testing in 2008 after realizing the school was spending too much money hiring employees that were not a good fit.

“Our recruitment budget was grossly overdrawn,” he says. “The people we were hiring, and who we thought were a fit, were not.”

These misfit employees impacted not only the bottom line – costing the school over $78,000 in 2008 alone – but also negatively affected student satisfaction and employee morale.

The school’s hiring process prior to adding the assessments was very typical of most employers: place an ad, sort through dozens of applications, interview the most promising candidates, perform a background check, and make an offer. Unfortunately, the results didn’t always meet the school’s high standards.

“The intent of HR is to be 100% accurate on hiring each candidate. The tools used in the conventional hiring process are weak at best. The Wonderlic assessments are almost like a crystal ball.”

Now NLC approaches the hiring process from a completely different angle. In fact, they no longer do any traditional interviews! Instead, candidates take the Wonderlic assessments online, and the top choice is brought in for a two week paid trial period.

NLC is using a series of four Wonderlic employment tests to make their hiring decisions:

Wonderlic Prescreening Questionnaire prequalifies candidates based on specific job requirements
Wonderlic Personnel Test – Quicktest measures a candidate’s ability to learn, solve problems and understand instructions
Wonderlic Personal Characteristics Inventory or Wonderlic Comprehensive Personality Profile evaluates specific, job-related personality traits
Wonderlic Productivity Index – Behavioral Questionnaire measures an applicant’s integrity and productivity

Since implementing the new hiring process, NLC has experienced a 35% reduction in their turnover rate. In addition, NLC has found that, when their instructor core is stable, they save tens of thousands of dollars on recruiting costs.

“Since using the Wonderlic assessments, NLC has grown from a $5M company to a $10M company. The tests, while not responsible for all of that, have played a significant role.”

Hiring used to be an expensive, time consuming, often frustrating process, but adding the tests has made the HR staff “heroes” in Aaron’s eyes.

“We now have people who are happy in their positions. It’s a very powerful thing. It is utopia.”