Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative

“Applicants love the Wonderlic Basic Skills Test because they get the sense that we’re really considering them carefully if we think enough of them to give them the test.”

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) supplies power to more than 130,000 residential, commercial, and individual customers. For more than 65 years, the co-op has provided top notch electrical services to its customers. Rates are based on the cost of doing business, and any surplus income is returned to the members through capital credits.

“The Wonderlic assessments give me peace of mind that we’re hiring qualified people who are able to do the job.”

Judy Dudley, HR Professional, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative

The Challenge

SMECO wants to promote from within, but in order to do that, their entry-level hires have to come in with a specific skill level. A lot of entry-level jobs don’t require advanced reading and math skills, for example- but if applicants don’t have those at SMECO, they’re not able to move up.

“At SMECO, people in entry-level jobs can bid into other positions,” explains HR professional Judy Dudley. “But some good entry-level workers were bidding for and getting promoted into jobs without having the skills level they needed.”

If that happens, it’s lights out for any future growth opportunities.

The Solution

That’s when Dudley turned to Wonderlic. She gives the Wonderlic test to all qualified applicants for entry-level positions including apprentice linemen, meter readers, custodians, clerical staff, and accounting workers.

“We give the test to anyone coming into SMECO from the outside,” she explains. “Because of the kind of turnover we’ve had and the amount of people applying for each job, we test up to 1,000 people each year. Wonderlic skills testing gives me peace of mind that we’re hiring qualified people who are able to do the job,” says Dudley.

The Results

“Applicants love the assessment because they get the sense that we’re really considering them carefully,” she says. “They have the opportunity to take it and if nothing else, that gives them experience for the next time. Once they pass it, they can be interviewed. The test is a step in the process for them, and if they get that far, they’re pleased.”

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