Naturally, I was successful placing him in a job.

Have you ever met a very intelligent person who had no clue as to how smart they really are?

answered by Ron Richards, studied at California State University, Los Angeles (1968)

Yes, I have. I owned and operated a very successful employment agency for about 20 years. And during that time I met thousands of people in all walks of life and individuals who were at all levels of intelligence, from borderline moronic to high level genius (I also advertised in the Mensa local news magazine/letter for applicants).

I sometimes gave a version of the Wonderlic test, a 50 question, 12 minute, I.Q. test to applicants. Not to all applicants, just some.

This one individual came to my office fresh from college. He was dressed in a full three piece suit. Had never worked before, and was looking for an entry job in bookkeeping, although he had a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He didn’t come from my Mensa advertising. Since he didn’t have any work experience, I wanted to place him with one of the big 8 recognizable accounting firms. But I needed more information than just a college degree to get him the interview.

I gave him one of the six versions of the Wonderlic that I had. He finished the questions in 10 minutes instead of 12. When I scored it, I gulped. He got a 45 which in those days, 1980, was equivalent to an I.Q. of about 145.

The young man was shy, quiet, and nice. No intellectual arrogance about him. Even his vocabulary was average and not peppered with ten dollar words. I couldn’t believe this guy had a genius I.Q. I tested him with a 2nd. and 3rd. version of the test. The same, between 45 and 47, to give him as high as 148 or 150 I.Q. (At the time the ceiling for a score of 50 was around 153, which included scores of 48–50)

The individual was a genius! I made up a resume of his background, which was limited, but did put in his GPA, which was 4.0 in accounting courses, but “B” grades in practically everything else. Naturally, I was successful placing him in a job.

Today he may be retired because in 1980 he was 23 years old, but I’ll bet with his background, and I.Q., that he either ended up as a controller, CEO, or just remained as an auditor because he liked it and devoted his time to his family and not to advancing and sacrificing for a career. And I’ll also bet, since he was so self effacing, that he went through life not realizing he was so very intelligent (I did tell him what his Wonderlic scores were, but he didn’t believe me when I told him that he was extraordinarily intelligent.


Ron Richards – Thanks. Great comment. You may be right. Some highly intelligent people do, in fact, play down their intelligence to gain an advantage. In addition, it could have been that he was familiar with all versions of the Wonderlic, and may have had someone who gave him the tests and answers. For example, since I gave out Wonderlic tests myself for my agency, I knew all the questions and answers by heart. If I had gone out and sought a job at that time, I would have been able to answer all 50 questions accurately. In fact, that is exactly what happened when I closed my agency and mortgage company (I owned both concurrently) in 1995.

I went to various head hunting agencies in San Francisco to get a recruiter position. Several of them gave me the Wonderlic, which, of course, I aced and made my scores around 35 or 38 in order to not scare them off, which can be converted into an I.Q. of about 135 or 138.

So, again, yes, you may be right. However, also, he may just have been what he seemed to be, a genius who didn’t know his own intelligence. They’re out there.


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