The Story of

Our founder, E.F. Wonderlic, started the Wonderlic company because he was passionate about solving major challenges in hiring and selection. E.F. believed that data was the answer. We know that our experience has given unparalleled insight into how to best serve the hiring community.

E.F.’s passion is ingrained in our organizational DNA, and we’re proud of the journey that has gotten us to this point. Check out the major milestones in company history and a glimpse into what’s coming in the future.

Being awesome since 1937
  • Aug 14, 2019

    The great hiring commission

    Without data, you’re just another
    person with an opinion.

    — W.E. Deming

    E.F. Wonderlic, Director of Personnel for Household Finance in 1932, had a goal. Fueled by passion and a hypothesis, Wonderlic was tasked with solving his employer’s two biggest hiring challenges. First, Household Finances’ hiring managers across the country were inconsistent in their hiring practices. When dealing with a nationwide company, what do you expect? The second issue was less intuitive, which created that much more of a challenge: How do you identify qualified entry-level candidates if you don’t really know who you’re talking to?

    Immersed in research, and surrounded by drained coffee mugs, E.F. discovered several evaluation techniques used by employers. He noticed that they have one thing in common: a gut feeling. Wonderlic hypothesized that job candidates’ general intelligence would be a better predictor of performance than managers’ intuition. Motivated by the knowledge that skills tests and interviews aren’t enough to vet a candidate, our hero knew he needed a way to collect the data needed for his idea. With most general intelligence tests averaging well over three hours, E.F. would have to invent a more efficient vehicle to measure cognitive ability.

    Not only did Wonderlic prove his hypothesis, but he also created the first short-form intelligence test. This completely reinvented intelligence testing could be finished in 12 minutes with 50 questions. The Wonderlic Personnel Test compares in reliability, validity, and quality to the most rigorous intelligence tests around. Keep in mind that this took place in the 1930’s: big data was not seen as a resource. E.F. Wonderlic was the pioneer who proved that data could help make informed hiring decisions.

  • Aug 14, 2019

    1940’s – 50’s
    A passion for data

    Open sourced in an analog world

    E.F. knew his test worked and that it worked well. Like a proud father parading photos of his dear children, he loved telling others about his research and his test. As word got out, Wonderlic literally gave away his tests for free. All anyone had to do in return was give him their data. For E.F., it was all about perfecting the test. Continuous improvement was more than just a talking point for Wonderlic- it was a way of life.

    The result? Fortune 100 companies come knocking on the door on pure word of mouth. From AT&T to Oscar Meyer to the U.S. Navy, the most powerful organizations in the nation wanted the Wonderlic Personnel Test. (And E.F. gave it to them in exchange for their data, of course.) Millions of candidates were taking Wonderlic tests every year. In the meantime, E.F. moved up the ranks in the financial industry and ultimately founded his own small company – Eagle Finance.

  • Aug 14, 2019

    1960’s – 70’s
    Passing the baton

    A new era, a new Wonderlic

    E.F.’s son Chuck was a chip off the old block – joining the family finance business and running Wonderlic as a passion project. E.F. had been in love with the “HR Problem”: helping HR professionals establish a rigorous, proven model for hiring the most qualified, capable rockstars. Chuck shared his father’s vision. As new rules emerged from the EEOC around hiring, Chuck constantly sought ways to use data to improve the process. Organizations like the Dallas Cowboys came looking for ways to make selection more strategic, paving the way for professional sports teams to leverage data to make better decisions. Think “Moneyball”.

  • Aug 14, 2019

    Democratizing assessment

    Leveraging the power of predictive data

    A third Wonderlic came onto the scene in the mid 1980s. Initially pulled in two directions, current CEO Charlie Wonderlic had to choose: the family finance business, or the hereditary passion for data-driven hiring. His fate was sealed when he heard overwhelming praise from external researchers and former customers. While speaking with leading I/O expert Dr. John Hunter, the scientist stated, “In the Wonderlic Personnel Test, you have the single best predictor of job performance.”

    Further, Charlie was driven by his observation that the largest organizations in the country had a major advantage over small and mid-sized companies: they had much better access to predictive hiring tools. He knew that the Wonderlic Personnel Test could level the playing field in the recruiting game. Charlie quickly dove into as much research as he could (sound familiar?), and set out to tell the world about what he had discovered.

    Over his first month leading Wonderlic, Charlie mailed out his research findings to about 7,000 companies across the US. (A pioneer in content marketing?) A huge influx of new orders started rolling, and the Wonderlic team began to grow.

  • Aug 14, 2019

    1990’s – 2010’s
    Technological/Internet revolution

    Everything is different, and nothing has changed

    Inspired by his charter to democratize data-driven hiring, Charlie and the growing Wonderlic team continued adding new assessments and tools to the Wonderlic catalog. From personality tests to measuring typing skills to automated reference checks, the Wonderlic R&D team was a veritable machine. As PCs became more and more commonplace, Wonderlic harnessed their computing power to greatly enhance scoring automation. As the internet emerged, Wonderlic leveraged technology to further expand automation into hiring processes – also increasing accessibility and customization of testing.

  • Aug 14, 2019

    2015 – Present
    Feelin’ SaaS-y


    The wheels started to turn when our scientists and software engineers came to Charlie with a question: “How can we use all of this data to make the hiring process even more robust, more predictive, and more job-tailored?”

    Taking stock of our product portfolio, the Wonderlic team identified the most predictive tools in our toolbox. The evidence from our research proved that cognitive ability, motivation, and personality are the best ways to identify qualified candidates. Then we gathered this data and additional customer feedback, and put this all together in product design. That was the genesis of WonScore, a modern SaaS platform making in-depth candidate insights more accessible and intuitive than ever.

  • Aug 14, 2019

    “To infinity, and beyond!” - Buzz Lightyear

    Data pioneers for life

    As organizational leaders increasingly recognize the strategic impact of human resources and talent acquisition, we'll continue to expand and elevate the value of our data. To every user — recruiters, HR managers, hiring managers, CEOs, and applicants, we deliver an enhanced experience with greater insights. 

    Thanks to our team of multidisciplinary scientists and technologists working on innovative research and product development, we're able to stay at the forefront of the industry. The Wonderlic team includes specialists in artificial intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and I/O. In other words, heaven for data nerds. Together, we're revolutionizing the science of selection.

    Wonderlic remains fully committed to continuing the tradition and innovation that E.F. Wonderlic started so many years ago. That's our goal: empower employers to accurately identify to candidates to showcase their best selves.

Now how's that for a story?

The pioneers at Wonderlic are ready to impress
you- see a demo today
Scroll to Top