Sedgwick County Client Story

The Training Director depends largely on the Wonderlic test to determine who is going to succeed and who isn’t.


Sedgwick County in Wichita, Kansas, employs 60 to 100 Emergency 911 Operators and serves a population of 463,800. Dispatchers take calls for every imaginable situation and have the job of routing the calls to the proper department in a split second.

Wonderlic Determines Emergency Operators’ Aptitude

Emergency 911 Operators in Sedgwick County receive calls from citizens all over the community—emergency rescue calls, police, fire, and ambulance. Mike Mueller, Employment Manager for Sedgwick County knows it takes a very special type of person to fill the job and do it well.

“These are unique individuals,” Mueller says. “This is a very high-pressure, high-stress position. The volume of calls alone can be staggering. These are critical services with life-and-death circumstances.”

Every operator has two or three computer screens in front of them, a telephone, and foot switches to help route calls to the right place. The operators must be comfortable with technology, be able to remain calm, and have the ability to retain critical information. That’s where the Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT-R) becomes an invaluable piece of the puzzle.

Mueller explains that Sedgwick County administers a myriad of psychological profiles and tests to any potential new hire for the 911 Operator position. He has come to rely on the Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT-R) to help him identify people with cognitive skills and the ability to learn new information.

“Each department has different procedures, different things that need to be done in an emergency situation,” Mueller explains. “The dispatcher needs to know who to dispatch: police, fire, an ambulance, or all three.”

In order to learn this mountain of policies and procedures and to be able to apply them on-the-fly, Sedgwick County emergency call dispatchers go through a 12-week training academy. The Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT-R) helps Mueller determine how well his potential new hires will respond to training.

Mueller doesn’t keep records of how much training time is saved by using the Won­derlic test. But he does get feedback from the Training Director. “The Training Direc­tor depends largely on the Wonderlic test to determine who is going to succeed and who isn’t. He looks seriously at it, relies heavily on it, and won’t recommend that we hire someone who doesn’t pass,” Mueller says. “He tells me that it makes his job much, much easier.”

Mueller says that the Wonderlic test also gives him peace of mind, knowing that making the right hiring choices will help save people’s lives.