Korn Ferry is a global organisational consulting firm that was established in 1969. With more than 100 offices worldwide, they place a candidate every three minutes per business hour and over 69 million assessments taken.
Korn Ferry is part of the Hay group which also includes TalentQ, and there are a wide range of possible assessments that can be taken as pre-employment screening tests.
What Is A Korn Ferry Assessment?
Korn Ferry assessments are used as pre-employment screening tests - after applying for a role, candidates are sent a link to one or more assessments that are taken online.
Sometimes these are 'blended' assessments, where several competencies or skills are tested at one time. For other employers, there might be several different tests taken separately.
According to the researchers at Korn Ferry, there are four dimensions of leadership and talent that should be assessed through pre-employment screening to choose great employees. These include:
- Competencies (aptitudes and skills)
- Experience (how previous work can be applied to future roles)
- Traits (personality and work behaviour)
- Drivers (what motivates a person)
Korn Ferry Assessment Categories
Korn Ferry assessments can be broadly categorised into two different types of psychometric tests; personality and aptitude tests. The type of test that is used for each industry depends on what the role needs from an applicant - great situational judgement, logical problem solving, or a specific personality or behavioural trait.
Korn Ferry Personality And Situational Tests
Personality tests have been around for decades. The idea that people can find out about their motivations, desires and fears through a questionnaire has been at the forefront of industry psychology for many years, and tests like these can be used in application processes.
The Korn Ferry approach to personality and behavioural assessment is through several different tests that can be used separately or in conjunction with others.
Personality Inventory Tests
This assessment is a series of statements presented in groups of four, and candidates need to rate each statement on a scale of how true they are. These statements are used to gauge your behavioural preferences at work and how you approach tasks, how you manage relationships, and what motivates you and gives you energy.
This type of assessment is untimed, but it is best to make the answer quickly without thinking about what you are going to say.
In an E-tray exercise, you will be presented with an email inbox full of work-related emails, and be asked to prioritise tasks and decide how to respond.
The assessment here is how you decide what takes priority, what your management style is, and how you respond to tasks.
These assessments measure your behavioural preferences at work using relevant competencies for the role. In a similar way to the personality questionnaire, these statements need to be ranked according to how true they are about the way you behave at work. This is a quick exercise that usually takes about 8 minutes to complete.
The leadership assessment is similar to a situational judgement test. Candidates are presented with a series of scenarios, and must select the most appropriate course of action.
The difference in the Leadership Assessment is that the scenarios are particular to the advertised role and the specific culture of the organisation. This means that the answers can provide an insight into how you would deal with these problems.
Korn Ferry Aptitude Tests
Aptitude tests are not assessments of your education or knowledge, but rather about your innate cognitive abilities and how you learn. This means that there is no specific research that needs to be completed to be successful.
Situational Judgement Test
The situational judgement test is a scenario-based assessment. You will be presented with a series of work-related situations that need specific actions.
Each scenario will have a number of possible answers, and each might seem like an appropriate response. However, there will be a conclusion that is preferred by the employer, and they are looking for an applicant who has the right problem-solving response.
Cognitive Ability Test
The cognitive ability tests measure reasoning skills with different information sources. This can include numerical and written data, as well as understanding and manipulating images and symbols.
The cognitive ability tests are adaptive - this means that the next question will change in difficulty depending on the way that you answer the current question - becoming harder when you perform well, and easier if you are struggling.
Verbal Reasoning Test
Verbal reasoning assessments are presented as paragraphs of written text, with a question following with several possible answers.
To be successful in a verbal reasoning test, you need to quickly and accurately read and understand the information given, and then analyse it in order to find the correct answer. The language used in these questions tends to be quite formal and the content is usually business related.
Numerical Reasoning Test
Thenumerical reasoning test presents questions based on numerical data in tables and graphs. The aptitude here is not about operations or mathematical ability, but is about how you can read, understand and analyse data presented in this way.
The maths knowledge needed is no harder than GCSE level maths, using basic operations as well as percentages, fractions and ratios.
Non-verbal Reasoning Test (Raven's Matrix)
The logical reasoning test, known as the Raven's Matrix in the Korn Ferry battery of tests, is non-verbal.
Candidates are provided with a grid containing images or shapes, and one square will be missing. The potential answers are multiple choice, and to find the right one you will need to analyse the images to find the pattern and then the right answer.
Tips To Pass Korn Ferry Tests
Practice, Practice, Practice
Although aptitude and personality tests are not about your learning and experience, they are still tests and practice will make a difference in your performance.
Practice tests not only give you beneficial familiarity with the structure and layout of the assessments, they will also help you to see if there are any competencies that you need to work on and improve.
Practice should be taken seriously, under exam conditions including strict timings.
Don't Be Afraid To Fail
Taking assessments as part of the employment process can be nerve wracking, but with the Korn Ferry tests, it is not about your skill level - just whether you have the competencies to be good at the job.
During practice assessments, you can learn from your failures. These are important learning opportunities to make sure that you can recognise your weaknesses - which means that failing, at least during practice, is good.
In the real assessment, the pre-employment screening is as much for you to understand whether you have the aptitudes and the personality traits to be successful in the role.
Repeat The Tougher Questions
The questions in these assessments are not meant to be easy; which means that it is likely that you will have questions that you find more challenging. Use your time wisely - if there is a question that you find particularly challenging, leave it and come back to it at the end if you have time.
You don't want to waste lots of your thinking time on a harder question and miss out on the simpler ones that you know you can get right.
Think Outside The Box
Practice for psychometric tests doesn't have to mean finding full practice tests online - you can hone your problem solving skills and other aptitudes in everyday life, too. You can use puzzles like sudoku and crosswords, play game-based brain training apps on your mobile phone, and even just broaden your reading material to include more professional sources like journals for the industry you are applying for. All these things will help your competencies to improve over time.
As most of the questions in the Korn Ferry battery of tests are multiple choice, you have a good chance of being able to work out the answer even if it is not your strongest aptitude.
Think outside the box when considering how you are going to answer during the test, too.
Read Everything Thoroughly
Each test will have specific ways to provide the right answer, whether it is a simple point and click with a mouse or to drag a slider. Reading the instructions will not only help you calm your anxiety at the beginning of the assessment, it will also give you essential knowledge about how best to answer (and how long you have in the test).
Even if you have practiced an assessment, it is always a good idea to avoid skimming any of the questions and never assume you know the answer. This is where practicing reading, understanding and analysing information in the form of written text, numerical data, and patterns can come in really handy - so that you can do it quickly and accurately.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Fail A Korn Ferry Assessment?
Korn Ferry does not set pass (or fail) marks when they produce assessments. However, the employer will have a benchmark score that they are looking for candidates to achieve to progress.
How Are Korn Ferry Tests Scored?
A raw score on Korn Ferry tests is produced based on the amount of correct answers and the difficulty of the questions. This score is then compared against a 'norm' group of candidates who answered the same level of questions to get an idea of your performance. Norm groups can be made up of everyone who took the same test (data stored in the Korn Ferry database), or against a specific group of test takers (graduates, managers, administrators etc). Once this has been done, candidates are graded from A-E, with A being well above average, C being average, and E being well below average.
Your score on the Korn Ferry test will be provided to you on a report which describes what each test is assessing and how it applies to the workplace, as well as your grade.
What Is A Good Score On An Aptitude Test?
As mentioned, there is not a set score that is considered good on an aptitude test - it depends entirely on what the recruitment team is looking for.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that when you are being assessed, your results are being compared to other applicants and a range of other test takers, so you need to perform better than them to be in with a stronger chance of success.
Aim high to give yourself the best shot at getting taken through to the next round.
Who Are Korn Ferry Competitors?
There are several alternative testing publishers who produce a wide range of pre-employment screening assessments on both personality and cognitive ability, such as: