Korn Ferry is a global test publisher that provides recruitment tests for employers across a range of different sectors.
Korn Ferry is part of the Hay Group, which also owns Talent Q, and is known for its broad spectrum of tests that assess everything from talent and competencies, to aptitude and ability.
What is a Korn Ferry test?
Korn Ferry tests are divided into two distinctive categories: personality tests and aptitude tests. These tests assess candidates on their personality, traits, drivers, competencies, and cognitive skills to determine their suitability for a job position.
The personality tests are primarily designed to identify leadership qualities. With years of data and insight acquired from setting tests, Korn Ferry has developed four key metrics (otherwise known as the Four Dimensions of Leadership and Talent) that it believes reliably indicate leadership qualities:
- 1) Competencies
- 2) Experiences
- 3) Traits
- 4) Drivers
All of their personality tests are constructed around these four pillars, and help employers to find the future leaders under whose guidance a business can grow and flourish.
The other area Korn Ferry specialises in is aptitude tests. Employers can select any of these tests to use as part of the recruitment process, in order to get a better sense of their candidates' strengths and weaknesses:
Korn Ferry personality & situational tests
This test uses common workplace scenarios to help an employer to get a better understanding of your character, and how you're likely to react when presented with such problems and challenges in real life.
This test is assessing your leadership qualities, ability to solve problems and how well you work as part of a team and on your own. This is all useful intel for an employer trying to hire the best person for his or her team.
Personality inventory tests
This is a very specific test that aims to understand how well your personality, motivations and character match up with the requirements of the role you're applying for. It's a really helpful test for recruiters, employers (and candidates) as it's a great indication of how well suited someone really is for the job.
The format consists of statements that you'll need to read, digest and respond to, from 'completely true' to 'completely untrue'. It's important to be honest when answering the questions.
Designed to assess your competencies, this short test is a quick fire way of getting to know your strengths in a little more depth.
Candidates will be asked to rate how strongly they agree or disagree with a series of statements related to the way you think and act when faced with challenges or problems at work.
It's another way that an employer can try to get to know a pool of candidates and figure out who has the skills and traits that most closely align to what's needed in the role.
All Korn Ferry tests aim to shine a light on those with leadership qualities, but the leadership assessment is a highly targeted test that aims to uncover your personal leadership style.
The leadership assessment most closely resembles situational judgement tests and personality tests in style. The questions are designed to see how equipped you are to take on a position of leadership.
Korn Ferry's bespoke e-tray exercises give candidates an insight into the management and prioritisation of tasks they'd be expected to undertake in the role they're applying for.
Just like a typical e-tray exercise, candidates will be asked to use an email inbox simulation to show how adept they are at managing and prioritising different tasks.
Korn Ferry aptitude tests
The Korn Ferry aptitude tests are designed to assess a very specific set of skills, whether that's your grasp over numbers and mathematical concepts in the numerical reasoning test, or your ability to communicate effectively in the verbal reasoning test.
These tests give employers a chance to analyse your strengths and weaknesses in specific areas.
Numerical reasoning test
Numerical reasoning tests are designed to assess your mathematical skills, based on how well you answer questions on everything from fractions and ratios, to graph and data analysis.
Numerical reasoning tests are only set if there's a certain amount of numerical analysis required in the role you're applying for, so it's important to brush up on your skills and practice a few mock tests if this a Korn Ferry test you're required to take as part of an application process.
Example numerical reasoning question:
What was the percentage decrease in production of vehicles by Nissan from 2018 - 2022?
A) 20% B) 33.3% C) 40% D) 50%
2018 = 30,000 vehicles 2022 = 20,000 vehicles (30-20) / 30 x 100 = B) 33.33%
Verbal reasoning test
Verbal reasoning tests help employers to get a sense of how well you digest information, understand it and then communicate it effectively. These skills are useful in a huge variety of roles, so it's no surprise it's one of the more commonly set aptitude tests.
In the Korn Ferry verbal reasoning test you can expect to answer questions on a passage of text you'll read in the test.
No prior knowledge of the subject is needed as you'll answer questions on what's in front of you, but it's important to practice beforehand to get used to the format of the questions, and how to differentiate between fact and inference.
Example verbal reasoning question:
Statement: The passage suggests that it is safer to spread your savings across a range of different investments.
A) True B) False C) Cannot say
Solution: B) False - Both emotional and behavioural dimensions are involved
Logical reasoning test
Sometimes referred to as Raven's Matrix, the Korn Ferry logical reasoning test requires candidates to use their logical reasoning skills to analyse a grid and work out what's missing from a range of possible answers.
Logical reasoning tests are always challenging, but particularly if you're not familiar with the question format or the specialist thinking required to solve the presented challenges.
Example logical reasoning question:
Which of the boxes comes next in the sequence?
A B C D E
Solution: Rule 1: The position of the octagon changes between top and bottom each time. Rule 2: The circle alternates between being present and absent. Rule 3: The square moves 90 degree anticlockwise around the square - B)
Cognitive ability test
Used by employers in industries such as architecture and engineering, the tests help employers to hire people with proven abilities to solve problems and challenges quickly and calmly.
Non-verbal reasoning test (Raven's Matrix)
The Raven's Matrix test is similar to a logical reasoning test in that candidates will need to use their logical reasoning skills to answer non-verbal problems and select the correct multiple-choice answer.
Speed and accuracy are important if you want to succeed at the Raven's Matrix, so it's important to get as much practice in as possible by trying our mock tests and questions before the test that really counts.
Which financial employers use Korn Ferry tests?
Korn Ferry tests are hugely popular with employers in the financial industry, both for hiring new talent, and for monitoring and encouraging progression internally.
When it comes to recruiting new employees, global firms including RBS, Lloyds Bank and more use Korn Ferry to get a more detailed analysis of potential new hires, to reduce bias in the hiring process and to better their chances of hiring candidates with longevity.
And when it comes to internal progression, Korn Ferry tests are often used as part of the appraisal process, or to help identify key development opportunities for individuals who want to better themselves and climb the career ladder with their company.
5 tips to prepare for and pass Korn Ferry tests
1) Gather your information
Before you start preparing for a Korn Ferry test, it's best to gather as much information as you can on the tests you'll be tasking, the company and role you're applying for, and anything else that might be of use. Learning about the ethos and beliefs of a company can really help you to step into the shoes of the kind of candidate they're looking for.
2) Practice, practice, practice
Taking as many mock tests as you can will help you to quickly familiarise yourself with the format and style of the questions you'll be asked. While repeating the tests will help you to build confidence, speed and accuracy.
3) Think outside the box
Keep your preparation interesting by thinking outside the box. Play video games that require you to solve numerical problems, do puzzles that flex your logical reasoning skills, or ask a friend to probe you on a passage of your favourite book to prepare you for the verbal reasoning test.
4) Read everything thoroughly
When it comes to the test itself, it's important to read every question thoroughly and ensure you know how long you have to answer all the questions (this will allow you to work out roughly how much time you can spend on each one).
5) Don't panic
If you don't know the answer to a problem, don't panic. Work out which answers can't be correct to help narrow down your options, or look at the answers before the question to see if looking at the problem from a new perspective helps.
What do I need to complete the Korn Ferry assessment?
This will depend on where you're taking the test and for which company. If you're unsure as to what you'll need to bring, make sure you speak to your contact to find out in good time — you don't want to be worrying about it on the day when you have more important things to think about.
Are Korn Ferry tests hard?
The tests are designed to be challenging to help employers find and nurture the best talent.
But the good news is the questions are adaptive, which means that if you're finding the questions too hard or too easy, the following questions will be adapted to a level that best suits you.
How are Korn Ferry tests scored?
When it comes to the personality tests, you'll be scored on the key competencies the employer in question is looking for. Your score will be looked at against the ethos, motivations, beliefs and culture of the organisation you're applying for to see how well you might fit.
When it comes to the Korn Ferry aptitude tests, you'll be given a percentage score based on how many questions you answer correctly. This will be presented as a percentile, to show you how well you've done in comparison to your peers.
Are Korn Ferry tests timed?
Yes. Tests are timed as working calmly under a time pressure is one of the many things you're being assessed on when you take a Korn Ferry test.