The Wonderlic Personnel Test

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The Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT) is a standardized test used to test the cognitive, verbal and quantitative skills of potential employees. This test was developed by the industrial psychologist Eldon F. Wonderlic in 1936. The author intentionally used the word personnel instead of intelligence to reduce the anxiety of those who must take the test.

The test is run for 12 minutes, with 50 questions which participants usually do not complete on time. The intelligence of employees is judged through the test and the test items include vocabulary, sentence rearrangement, logic, arithmetic and interpretation of proverbs. A score of 21, considered an average score is equal to the average IQ of 100. Higher scoring applicants are expected to learn quicker, master more complex material, and have better judgment than lower scoring applicants.

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The WPT test has some very obvious advantages. For one, it allows a prospective employee to demonstrate his mental abilities, which assists the employer in determining the aptitude and skills required for handling the particular job. Moreover, the method avoids favoritism, which perhaps is very common during interviews during the screening process.

In addition, WPT provides data in the shortest possible time to the employers resulting in making the selection process faster. Although the WPT is not error free like other tests, but it does help in choosing qualified candidates based on their skill as well as, psychologically assesses their capability, which may otherwise be difficult for employers to make out during the interview. Many jobs need initial training which is a heavy time and money cost burden on organizations. With the help of WPT, potentials of different candidates can be measured and candidates who are not fit for the job can be rejected in the beginning.

On the other hand, WPT is not without its drawbacks. To begin with, candidates require a high reading skill to take this test, and speed is also essential. Due to this reason, it is a massive hindrance for those with psychomotor deficits of reading deficiencies. Additionally, since the test provides a single score, it perhaps is not diagnostically useful as longer tests. Nonetheless, these disadvantages compensate for the clear advantages of a reliable group measure of intelligence which is easily administered and scored. If this is test is used in the right context, it is indeed valuable.

The WPT, as mentioned before, matches job candidates with jobs where they can be effective and satisfied. It caters to thousands of clients, especially the National Football League which has used it for more than 30 years for its selection process. The WPT is used to test a player’s adaptability and playbook reading and memorization which helps in calculating what position is best for a potential player. Today, big multi-nationals are using WPT in making good hiring decisions. An example is Apple computers, who believe that WPT is an instrument which assists in hiring the right people for their organization to make it a success.

While the WPT has been rather popular since its creation for assessing potential employees, it is vital to note that the test is not the only determinant in hiring employees. To make the selection process even more accurate, employees must use it as a supplement to the employee’s resume and other experience.


  1. Ledbetter, O (2010), ‘NFL’s success using Wonderlic Test subject to interpretation,’ 27th July 2010, <>
  2. Wonderlic (2008), ‘Employment Screening Assessments,’ 27th July 2010, <>

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The Wonderlic Personnel Test. (2017, Feb 28). Retrieved from

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