Tecumseh Public Schools Client Story

Teaching requires a high level of cooperation, patience, and the willingness to go above and beyond.

Does your school have $40,000 to throw away on a bad hire?

That’s what Donna Elsner, HR Manager for Tecumseh Public Schools, estimates it cost the district when they hired a teacher who left after a mere seven weeks of work.

“We had to pay his salary for one year, legal fees, a sub, not to mention everyone’s time involved in replacing him,” says Donna. “But perhaps the worst of it is that the students had seven weeks of subpar instruction.”

Donna has spent 32 years working at educational institutions, half of that with Tecumseh Public Schools. The district has one high school, one middle school and four elementary schools with over 3100 students and 270 employees.

Most of their hires over the years have been successful, long-term employees. But the high cost of just a few undesirable results sent Donna on a mission to find a better way to select faculty and staff.

The district had been using the traditional method that most schools and businesses in the U.S. rely on – posting an advertisement, receiving hundreds of resumes, manually going through them all, selecting a few for interviews, and making a decision based on a person’s education, employment history and interview.

Unfortunately, this method does not reliably predict a person’s suitability for the position, nor does it remove any unintentional, personal biases that the interview process can create.

Donna turned to Wonderlic after a colleague at the school recommended the company’s employment testing products.

“We needed the ability to forecast employee behavior,” she says. “Teaching requires a high level of cooperation, patience, and the willingness to go above and beyond.”

After working with James Malley, Account Executive at Wonderlic, Donna selected a battery of tests for five positions in the district: Accountant, Administrative Assistant, Guidance Counselor, High School Teacher and Middle School Teacher.

Candidates enter the system via an online portal. After filling out some basic information, they answer questions on the Wonderlic Prescreening Questionnaire. Anyone not meeting the minimum qualifications is politely exited from the system, saving Donna and her staff hours of time weeding through resumes.

Those who meet the minimum qualifications are automatically routed to the next test: the Wonderlic Personnel Test – Quicktest, which provides a pre-measurement of cognitive ability. Following the Personnel Test – Quicktest, the applicant takes one of two additional tests: either the Wonderlic Personal Characteristics Inventory or the Wonderlic Productivity Index, depending on the position. These profiles measure a candidate’s personality and reliability in terms of job fit.

Finally, after sorting and filtering candidates based on scores, Donna selects applicants to come in for interviews and one final test, the Wonderlic Personnel Test – Revised. This test measures a person’s ability to learn, adapt, solve problems and follow instructions, and is proven to be the #1 predictor of job success.

Donna recently used the system to hire a new Accounting Coordinator. “We had narrowed it down to two candidates. After both took the tests, it became clear to us who we should hire.”

The simplicity and flexibility of the Wonderlic system is much appreciated. “Setting up the program was easy with the help of the Wonderlic staff,” she states. “We particularly like that the candidates can be tested on or off site.”

With teachers being the position the district hires for the most, Donna is looking forward to being able to select better employees who don’t have as many personality conflicts, possess a stronger work ethic, and have the willingness to extend themselves to others – especially students.

“Wonderlic provided us with an objective tool that supports the HR office in candidate selection. And now, our supervising staff can focus on curriculum and student achievement instead of documenting a misfit employee.”