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Korn Ferry Assessment: Guide/Tips & Practice Tests

korn ferry assessment Sep 12, 2022

Korn Ferry assessments are a suite of tests employers use to identify talent within their applicant pool and develop their existing employees when in a role.

The tests cover several different aptitude areas, with each test assessing one single aptitude. Many employers use Korn Ferry tests as part of their recruitment and selection process.

These tests help shortlist only candidates with the strengths and abilities needed to succeed in the roles they have to fill.

If you are asked to sit a Korn Ferry test, it is vital that you understand the different types of tests, the format of the questions, and how the questions are structured.

This article covers the different types of Korn Ferry assessment tests you may be asked to take when applying for a role.

You’ll also find some tips to help you prepare for the tests, so you can perform to the best of your ability.


What Is a Korn Ferry Test?

Korn Ferry is a worldwide psychometric test provider that designs and develops aptitude and personality assessments for employers.

 These assessments help employers to determine which of the applicants who have applied for positions have the inherent aptitudes, skills and strengths needed to be successful in their roles.

Employers generally use the Korn Ferry tests in the early stages of the application process.

These assessments evaluate candidates in several areas as required by the role:

  • Their cognitive abilities
  • Personality match to roles
  • Leadership or communication skills


Korn Ferry assessments are considered to be challenging due to their structure.

The tests are adaptive, meaning that the level of difficulty changes depending on the candidate's speed and accuracy of answers. 

If a candidate answers a question correctly, the next question will be more challenging. If the question is answered incorrectly, the following question will be more straightforward.

Many employers in various sectors use the Korn Ferry test to help determine candidates' suitability for the roles they have to fill. 

These include:

  • RBS
  • Lloyds
  • Citi
  • Standard Chartered
  • AstraZeneca
  • Virgin Atlantic


These include leadership qualities and potential, reasoning abilities, and management skills and traits.

When used in the earlier stages of the application process, the Korn Ferry assessment tests provide a cost-effective and objective measure of an individual's aptitudes and strengths, enabling employers to select the best candidates and make the right hires.


The Different Types of Korn Ferry Assessment

Many different Korn Ferry assessment tests make up the Korn Ferry test suite. Some tests may be combined to form a blended assessment or created as a bespoke assessment for a particular employer.

Korn Ferry tests are split into two categories:

  • Personality assessments – These tests evaluate an individual's characteristics, traits or values and leadership potential.
  • Cognitive assessments – These tests assess an individual's abilities, such as numerical reasoning, logical reasoning and verbal reasoning.


Given the adaptive nature of the Korn Ferry tests, many candidates find these tests daunting.
Practising sample assessments is essential before sitting the actual test.

You can practise all of the Korn Ferry tests here.

Outlined below are the most common Korn Ferry tests employers use, along with detail on each test.


Korn Ferry Cognitive Ability Test

The Korn Ferry cognitive ability test is a blended assessment that evaluates individuals on several abilities. These can cover numerical, logical and verbal reasoning or spatial awareness and mechanical reasoning.

The test is timed, and each question in the test will assess a specific aptitude.

Given this test evaluates various inherent abilities, it is essential to practise tests that cover all of the aptitudes assessed in a blended test.


Korn Ferry Numerical Reasoning Test

The Korn Ferry numerical test aims to assess candidates' aptitude to deal with numerical information to solve problems.

In this test, candidates are presented with information given as tables, charts or graphs. There are 12 questions in the test, along with a list of multiple-choice answers.

Using their numerical reasoning, candidates need to interpret the information and select which of the multiple-choice answers is correct.

This test requires individuals to use their understanding of basic mathematical principles when calculating the right answer, working quickly but accurately to make their selection. 

Practising all types of numerical reasoning tests is key to ensuring that you perform at your best in the Korn Ferry numerical test.


Korn Ferry Logical Reasoning Test

This assessment determines whether candidates can make logical conclusions from information.

In the Korn Ferry logical test, questions are presented in the form of abstract information such as diagrams, patterns or shapes.

Using their deductive or inductive reasoning skills, individuals need to determine the relationship or rule that links the information.

Using this rule or relationship, candidates select which of the multiple-choice shapes or patterns follows next.

Practising these types of tests ensures familiarity with the structure of the questions and enables deciphering links between non-verbal information.


Korn Ferry Verbal Reasoning Test

The Korn Ferry verbal test is a multiple-choice assessment comprising 15 questions. The test generally lasts around 15 minutes, meaning individuals have up to one minute to answer each question.

Logical reasoning assessments evaluate candidates' ability to read, understand, and interpret information from short text passages. Then, they need to use what they have learned to answer the statements that follow. 

Questions are given with a list of multiple-choice answers, with candidates being measured on their speed and accuracy in selecting the correct multiple-choice answer.

Performing well on this test relies on individuals reading the information they have been given and basing their answers solely on it before selecting their answers. Candidates can hone this approach by practising different types of verbal reasoning assessments.


Korn Ferry E-Tray Exercises

Korn Ferry e-tray exercises evaluate individuals on several traits and characteristics. Candidates are given various pieces of information, usually, emails that detail multiple tasks they need to complete within a specified timeframe.

They must work to prioritise and juggle these tasks within the time given, making logical and reasoned decisions. The e-tray exercise primarily evaluates candidates on their time management, prioritisation skills, and ability to work under pressure.


Korn Ferry Personality Tests

The purpose of the Korn Ferry personality test is to evaluate individuals on their traits, motivations, characteristics, and behavioural preferences and compare these to those that are needed for success in the role they have applied for.

There are many Korn Ferry personality assessment tests, such as the four-dimensional test. The type of test an individual sits will depend on the type and level of role.

Candidates are often measured on their leadership, communication, and teamwork attributes.

The questions usually take the form of scenarios, along with four statements.

Candidates then rate the statements from completely untrue to completely true according to how they would react to or view the situation.

Time durations for Korn Ferry personality tests vary depending on the test type. 


Korn Ferry Competency-Based Tests

In this Korn Ferry assessment, an individual's skills and behaviours when at work are evaluated through a series of scenario questions. Candidates are asked to rank various pieces of information, such as lists or statements, according to how they would react or choose to behave in the given situation or in relation to the statement. 

All questions are multiple-choice and generally take around 30 minutes to complete.


Korn Ferry Leadership Tests

There are multiple types of Korn Ferry Leadership tests, each designed to determine whether individuals demonstrate the inherent qualities needed to be successful in a leadership or management-level role.

The type of assessment an individual completes will depend on the level of position applied for – for example, whether the role is at the executive or leadership level.

The leadership assessments also evaluate individuals on their leadership potential, using seven different signposts as points of measurement:

  • Capacity
  • Leadership traits
  • Learning agility
  • Experience
  • Awareness
  • Drivers
  • Derailment risks


The tests take around 40 minutes to complete and are formed of different question formats. Some questions are non-verbal, others scenario-based, using situations that an individual may likely encounter when in the role.


Preparing For a Korn Ferry Test

Korn Ferry tests are a comprehensive evaluation of an individual's ability, traits and characteristics as aligned to the role they have applied for.

To ensure you perform at your best, it is vital to fully prepare for the Korn Ferry assessments. Outlined below are some pointers to help you prepare and give yourself the best opportunity to perform to your highest potential.


Take Practice Tests Online

Practising the tests is the best way to prepare for a Korn Ferry test. Practising means you become familiar with the format and structure of the questions in each test type, time limits and how the question is set out.

When practising, ensure you do so under timed conditions to simulate the time pressure you will feel when taking the test.

Many practice tests are available to help candidates, such as those found on the TestHQ website, which details individual cognitive practice tests. 


Understand the Specific Test Format

There are several Korn Ferry assessment test types. Each differs in how the questions are structured and the answers presented. 

To ensure you perform at your best when under time pressure, make sure you know how you select the answers by ranking, rating or selecting the answer you believe to be correct for each test type.


Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Before taking the Korn Ferry test, practice all the test types you will be asked to complete. This allows you to refresh your memory on the concepts and principles used in some ability tests.

Don't solely focus on areas of weakness. Make sure to practice tests you are comfortable completing so you can hone your abilities and perform to your fullest potential when taking the test.


Make Sure Your Hardware Is Working

The Korn Ferry tests are online timed assessments. The tests evaluate candidates on the accuracy of their answers and speed of answering.

Before taking the test, ensure you have a reliable internet connection and have enabled/disabled any relevant functionality.

Make any necessary updates to your internet browsers, ensuring any unnecessary notifications or pop-ups are disabled.

Doing well in the Korn Ferry tests relies on giving each question your full attention.


Tips When Taking the Korn Ferry Assessment

When sitting the actual tests, there are many things you can do to perform at your best.


Don’t Skim-Read the Question

Take the time to read the question asked thoroughly. This ensures that you don't misinterpret the question or select an incorrect answer due to not fully understanding what is being asked of you.


Manage Your Time

To give yourself the best opportunity to attain your highest score, ensure you manage your time when sitting each Korn Ferry test. 

Be clear on the time available for each test and the number of questions in each test, noting that the duration and number of questions in each test will vary. 


Stay Focused

If you feel one part of the test hasn't gone well, don't let it distract you. Remain focused on the remaining questions in the test and answer these to the best of your ability.


Be Honest

To ensure that you accurately represent yourself, answer questions in the personality tests honestly.

Questions that assess the same characteristic or trait will be asked in several different ways.

Don't answer these questions according to what you think the recruiter wants to hear. Bear in mind the requirements of the role, but be truthful in your responses. The answers that you provide may be checked in subsequent stages of the recruitment process.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Korn Ferry assessment?

The Korn Ferry assessment is a set of tests that employers use to determine whether applicants demonstrate the aptitudes, characteristics, traits and potential required for success in a role.

There are two types of Korn Ferry assessments. Personality assessments focus on traits, values or behavioural preferences. Cognitive assessments evaluate an individual's inherent ability.


Is the Korn Ferry assessment hard to pass?

Korn Ferry assessments are designed to be challenging to evaluate an individual's full potential. 

Before taking the Korn Ferry ability tests, it is essential to practise them. Practising enables you to become familiar with the format, structure and style of questioning, letting your natural ability shine through.


Where can I prepare for the Korn Ferry Assessment?

Preparation is essential to ensure you perform to the best of your ability when sitting the Korn Ferry tests. 

Preparation includes practising each type of test that you will be asked to sit as part of the recruitment process. There are several practice tests available on the TestHQ website that will help you in your preparation.


What is a good score for the Korn Ferry Assessment?

Each employer that uses the Korn Ferry tests as part of the recruitment process will have its own specific benchmark for success in the assessments. 

When taking the tests, focus on the test itself, rather than thinking about the overall score. The speed at which a candidate answers questions, as well as the accuracy of their answer, are taken into consideration when marking the tests.


How many questions are on the Korn Ferry Assessment?

The number of questions in the Korn Ferry assessment differs according to the test type. Before starting the test, ensure you know the number of questions and the time limit to manage your time effectively.  


How is the Korn Ferry Assessment graded?

Korn Ferry assessments are graded according to the number of questions a candidate answers correctly and the speed at which they respond. 

Employers then take the score a candidate has attained and compare this to an overall benchmark the company uses. Other employers may compare a candidate's score to a population of candidates who have previously taken the test and have performed well in the role.


How long does a Korn Ferry Assessment take?

Each Korn Ferry assessment differs in length. Before starting the test, ensure you are aware of the time limit for the test. 

Be mindful of the timings and ensure you effectively manage your time in each test. Doing so means you allow yourself the opportunity to perform to the best of your ability and attain your highest score.


Where can I find sample questions for the Korn Ferry test?

The best selection of sample questions can be found on the TestHQ website.

It’s advised to refer to the Test HQ website and practise these tests before sitting any Korn Ferry assessment. 

Practice tests enable you to familiarise yourself with the structure and format of each assessment. In doing so, you become aware of each test's question types and how you answer the questions.


What companies require passing the Korn Ferry Assessment?

Several companies use the Korn Ferry tests as part of their recruitment process. These include Citi, RBS, Standard Chartered, AstraZeneca and Virgin Atlantic.


When can I expect the results after taking the Korn Ferry test?

The time taken to receive results will vary by employer. Some employers may provide the test results soon after completion. 

Other employers may require candidates to complete further stages of the recruitment process before sharing an individual's test results. If in doubt, it is advisable to check with your recruiter.


Where can I find a study guide to prepare for the Korn Ferry Assessment?

Study guides, practice tests, and sample questions can be found on the TestHQ website.

Before taking the Korn Ferry test, it is advisable to ensure you have reviewed and practised as many sample questions as possible from the tests you will be asked to take. 

Being familiar with how each test is structured builds confidence and lets you focus on the speed and accuracy of answering questions in the actual test.


Can I retake the Korn Ferry Assessment if I am not satisfied with the results?

Each employer will have their own policy on whether individuals can retake the Korn Ferry test. Some employers may encourage individuals to work on the areas they did not perform well at. 

Others may allow retakes after a specific time period has elapsed. If you did not attain the required score for success in the Korn Ferry assessment, you should check with your recruiter on their retake policy.


Final Thoughts

Several employers use Korn Ferry tests as part of their recruitment process. These assessments enable employers to identify candidates that demonstrate the required abilities for the roles they have to fill.

There are many different types of Korn Ferry assessments available to recruiters. The tests are split by category: cognitive or personality tests.

Cognitive tests assess individuals on their inherent aptitude; personality tests evaluate individuals' characteristics, traits, and values.

The Korn Ferry cognitive tests differ from many other psychometric tests in that they are adaptive.

In these tests, the difficulty level of each question changes according to how well a candidate is doing, meaning individuals have the opportunity to perform to the best of their ability.

If you are invited to sit a Korn Ferry assessment, it is vital to ensure you know which test you will be completing and have practised these tests.

When completing the test itself, being honest with your answers and focusing on doing your best means that you present a true and accurate picture of yourself and your abilities. 

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