Leadership & Professional Assessments

Assess the talent you have to find the talent you need

Your organization is full of talent. We help you find it with our leadership and professional assessments.

To uncover the talent you already have, you’ve got to know your people’s strengths and what keeps them motivated. And, of course, you need to understand where your business is headed and what people you will need to get you there.

Sounds simple enough, but as your organization evolves, how do you know what tomorrow’s talent should look like today?

Drawing on data, proven methods and decades of industry experience we build a picture of the talent you need tailored to your industry, business function, job level or business challenge. We use world-class assessment techniques to get closer to your people and understand the talent you have. Then we work on closing the gaps so you have the right people in the right roles today—with the right talent to take on new roles tomorrow.

An Introductory Guide to Talent Assessment

Using insight to develop a future-ready talent pipeline for organization success


How we help you

Our assessments give you a clear picture of the talent and the potential in your organization right now.

You need to spot your rising stars, identify the skills you have and the skills you need. Our assessments give you a clear picture of the talent and potential in your organization right now. We’re known for uncovering future leaders, often before your people or their managers spot the potential themselves. Here’s how we uncover your talent.

We define the talent you need

Our Korn Ferry Intelligence Cloud draws on our data, your data and over fifty years of professional and leadership assessment expertise to give you a complete picture of the talent your business needs. Our Success Profiles tell you what each person should bring to fit your culture, get behind your strategy and get ahead. We use this as the benchmark for your assessment but you can also use it to inform development, succession, deployment, and selection.

We show you how your leaders measure up

We have decades of leadership analysis and benchmarking behind us, so we know a future leader when we see one—and can also tell you who is ready for the next step today. We measure for four things:

  • Performance. How effective are your leaders right now and who are your ‘A’ players?
  • Hiring or promotion. Do you have an internal leader who can step up and tackle today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities? If you don’t, we can build a plan to close those talent gaps or help you hire someone new.
  • Potential. Who looks ready to step into a more challenging role? We seek out that potential and let you know who has the capacity to grow and how fast.
  • Fit. There’s a difference between being a good leader and being right for a particular role. We make sure potential leaders have the skillset and personality to do their best work in key positions.

Our leadership assessments come in many forms—from high volume or high tech self-assessments via Korn Ferry Assess, to customized, personal evaluations led by our consultants.

To give you the full picture, we look at the whole person. That means understanding competencies, traits, drivers, and experiences—four elements proven to be good predictors of engagement, productivity, and leadership effectiveness.

For each assessment, we draw on multiple methodologies including: behavioral and market interviews, team and peer 360 feedback, online self-assessments, Situational Judgment Tests (SJTs) and simulations. After every assessment, or combination of assessments, we report back on what we find, no matter how many people we’re assessing.

We assess your professionals to uncover the talent you have

Our professional assessments give you the insights needed to build future sales stars, project managers, world-class customer service teams, and more. Once we agree on what success profiles look like for you in a specific area of the business or team, we measure your people against them using Korn Ferry Assess. Our tech-based tools work whether you’re benchmarking two people or 2,000. By looking at skillsets and mindsets we help you recognize strengths and weaknesses in your teams, so it’s easier to plan everyone’s next steps. That might mean preparing people for promotion, personalizing their training program or moving them into completely new roles to make the most of their skills.

Everyone who takes our assessments gets a personal feedback report. And managers get a report on their whole team—making it even easier to spot gaps to close.

Korn Ferry Assess also identifies each individual’s learning style. This enables us to develop personalized learning journeys at scale that drive sustained behavior change. And teams can access all our tools on one platform, wherever they are in the world.

Let us be part of your success story

Contact us and see how our consulting services can help you achieve your business goals.

FAQs for leadership assessment

What is leadership assessment?

A leadership assessment identifies an individual’s competencies, traits, drivers and experiences that will allow them to excel in a leadership role. It identifies a person’s leadership style and reveals their potential for success as well as potential traits that might derail them from success.

Leadership assessments help organizations answer a variety of questions about their current and future leaders:

  • Performance: How effective are your current leaders?
  • Hiring and promotion: Do you have an internal leader ready to step up and tackle today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities? What talent gaps do you have that you need to close, whether by hiring external candidates or creating a development plan
  • Potential: Which internal candidates are ready to step into a more challenging role? What capacity do they have to grow, and how fast can they mature in a new role?
  • Fit: Do your people have the right skill set, mindset and personality to excel in a key position?

What is the purpose of leadership assessment?

Most organizations promote people based on what they can do, not who they are. And if those people who are promoted fail, it’s frequently because of who they are.

Leadership assessments help organizations determine whether someone will excel in a leadership role. Instead of evaluating past success, leadership assessments look at future capacity. They measure a person’s potential, or their ability to be effective in a more challenging role. Assessments consider how well the person can apply lessons from their previous experience as well as the traits and drivers that reveal their motivation to succeed in a more complex role.

How do you identify potential leaders?

At Korn Ferry, we assess high-potential leaders on the basis of a variety of categories, including these:

  • Learning agility, or the ability and willingness to learn from experience and apply that learning to perform successfully under new or first-time conditions
  • A track record of formative experiences that prepare them for future leadership roles, such as developing a strategy participating in critical negotiations
  • Self-awareness, or an individual’s ability to know their strengths and development needs
  • Leadership traits, which include inclinations and aptitudes, such as assertiveness and tolerance of ambiguity

What is the difference between leadership assessment and professional assessment?

Leadership assessments determine whether a candidate has the right competencies, drivers, traits and experiences to excel in a leadership role. Professional assessments, on the other hand, help you identify candidates for professional roles with the right skills and fit for your organization.

Professional assessments help you understand what “good” looks like for a role and ensure candidates have the right skills for the position. Given the number, variety and complexity of professional roles that recruiters may have to fill, professional assessments help organizations understand how to best match talent to the right position.

Why should you assess your talent?

Most organizations aren’t confident that they have the right people to fill their most critical roles, now and in the future. And most don’t excel at identifying high-potential talent, which, in turn, means that promotion decisions often miss the mark. That’s because many organizations mistake high performance for high potential.

Executives often rate compatible skills and competencies as the most significant qualities that drive their promotion decisions. However, most promotions fail because a candidate lacks the right traits or disposition (or both).

Instead, organizations need to look beyond how a candidate is performing today to determine how they will fare in a more challenging role. Being promotable doesn’t mean they’re excelling in their current role. It means they’ve got the ability to develop the qualifications for the next job and the job after that.

To gain this understanding, organizations must look at the whole person. At Korn Ferry, we believe that the whole person is made up of Four Dimensions of Leadership and Talent — the individual qualities that drive performance and engagement. The Dimensions are as follows:

  • Competencies: Skills and behaviors required for success that can be observed, such as decision quality, strategic mindset, global perspective and business insight
  • Experiences: Assignments or roles that prepare a person for future opportunities, such as functional experiences, international assignments, turnarounds and fix-its
  • Traits: Inclinations, aptitudes and natural tendencies a person leans toward, including intellectual capacity and personality traits such as assertiveness, risk taking, confidence and aptitude for logic and reasoning
  • Drivers: Values and interests that influence a person’s career path, motivation and engagement, such as power, status, autonomy and challenge