Sweetwater Sound Client Story

We couldn’t be more pleased with how this has helped our process.


Founded in 1979 by Chuck Surack as a mobile recording studio, Sweetwater Sound has grown rapidly to become the premier music technology retailer in the world, offering professional recording and live sound equipment, guitars, basses, keyboards, drums, computers and software, and accessories. Products include hundreds of the most respected names in the music business like Digidesign, Roland, Yamaha, Mackie, Korg, Kurzweil, and many others. The company’s reputation for over-the-top customer service is legendary in their industry.

Wonderlic Finds Employees with Unique Skills Set

The job of sales engineer at Sweetwater Sound is a difficult position to fill, according to Jeff McDonald, Director of Human Resources. Sales engineers are unique because they must have both left- and right-brained skills.

“Generally speaking, highly creative types aren’t necessarily also strong technically,” McDonald says. “Good sales engineers need to be conversant, intuitive, caring, and smart. They need great people skills to deliver the brand of outrageous customer service we’re famous for. They must be empathetic listeners, but also assertive enough to ultimately sell their product. The kicker is that they also need deep technical chops in the field of computer recording and music to sell these fairly complex products.”

McDonald explains that the package of skill sets is not easy to find in one person. “This is a commission-based job that takes persistence, the fortitude to make 80 sales calls a day, and the business and organizational skills to be able to do it effectively,” he says. The unique combination of traits and skills is because of the position, but it also reflects changes in the music industry as a whole. New technology has transformed the core of the business, and most music is now recorded using sophisticated computer technology.

Sweetwater uses the Wonderlic Personnel Test – Quicktest and the Wonderlic Comprehensive Personality Profile, allowing McDonald to pre-screen candidates beyond an introductory phone interview. It also helps to weed out unwanted candidates, and interview only those who are most qualified.

“Within four months, it will have pretty much paid for itself with the savings we’ve made on travel expenses alone,” says McDonald.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with how this has helped our process,” McDonald adds. “We felt we had a really good success rate before, but it has gone to a whole higher level by adding this step. When you can find something that gives you better hires and saves money at the same time in this economy, it’s a big win.”