It's impossible to know where you will be in 5 years but you need to assure the interviewer that, given all possible circumstances, you could see yourself as a long-term fit for the position at Korn Ferry.
Korn Ferry Interview Questions
At Korn Ferry, we look to hire those who will be a long term fit. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
It's impossible to know where you will be in 5 years but you need to assure the interviewer that, given all possible circumstances, you could see yourself as a long-term fit for the position at Korn Ferry.
"Ideally, five years from now, I would love to see myself growing into a more prominent leadership role within your organization. My career interests align very nicely with your company's goals which helps me to see a great long-term fit here."
"Five years from now, I would like to supervise or manage a team of my own with Korn Ferry. I feel like I am progressing in my career at a rate that will make this a possibility."
If you came to work for Korn Ferry, an expectation of the job would be facilitating training for staff with our clients. What do you feel are the keys to being an effective trainer?
As you may well know, the number one fear of people is public speaking and the mere thought of standing up in front of a group and talking strikes fear in most folks. One thing your interviewer will be looking to hear for this question is that you can thrive in that situation. On top of that ability, talk about any experiences you have in providing training to staff and highlight the key areas you feel are important. Talk about the importance of making training both fun and interactive to help drive points home to your learners.
"Whenever I have the opportunity to provide training to groups, the first focus of my design is to promote interaction from the people I am training. Active participation promotes motivation and I do this through role-playing, asking questions and even having people come up front with me to give real world examples to the group so they can hear the perspective of a peer versus me as the trainer. Another key thing that I try to bring to training sessions is energy. I bring high energy to a room and try to promote it among the staff. From a colleague, I recently learned about an ice breaking game to start an all day training that involves blind folding all participants in the room and assigning each person an animal. There are two people in each session with matching animals and the participants have to make the sound their animal makes and have to find and meet up with their matching animal. The two times I've used this have been a big hit and got the group laughing and having fun from the start."
"For me personally, the first key to being an effective and efficient trainer is knowing my topic inside and out. As the trainer, I will be asked questions and be expected to be the subject matter expert on what I'm presenting. If needed, I study and prepare diligently prior to facilitating training sessions. Another key for me is creating the right atmosphere to promote learning. This starts with small things like providing beverages and snacks and ensuring the temperature of the room is appropriate. It extends to much bigger things like ensuring training materials are well prepped and motivating all of the learners to participate in the program. If hired here at Korn Ferry, you can be sure that I'd bring this same approach to your clients."
An often difficult part about working for Korn Ferry and our clients is the need to be fluent and adaptable to the cultures of our clients. Why would you say that you'd be able to handle this aspect of the job with ease?
In the business consulting world, organizations work with clients that all have different backgrounds, leadership styles, cultures, industries and motivating factors. Consultants hired to come in to these organizations have to possess a chameleon-like ability to ingrain themselves in a new company's culture. For you to be successful in the role that you are interviewing for, you must possess this same ability. In your answer to this question, be sure to point out your fluidity to adapt to new situation in your work by giving an example or two of a time you had to do this to give your interviewer a sense of your ability to be flexible with clients.
"During my career to this point, I've been very fortunate to say that I've worked for one employer for over ten years and the experience that I've gained with them is a huge asset to me personally. But even though all of my relevant work experience is with the same employer, I've worked under six different department managers during my time there and each person had their own unique management style and expectations of me. As well, my organization has undergone three mergers in my time there and each merger brought a new and bigger organization to light with new values and culture. Whether it was a manager change or an organization change, I always prioritized openness and asking questions to get to know new processes better. I would bring this approach with each and every new client that I would work with in this role."
"I would liken this role as a Client Manager to working with my customers in my current job. I approach each new customer with an open slated mind while getting to know their motivations, their needs and their expectations of me to help me get a better understanding of how I can best suit them. If hired for this position working with your clients here at Korn Ferry, this approach would be vital because of the variety of businesses and industries that I would be working with."
Change management is an important aspect of consulting our clients here at Korn Ferry. Have you participated in a change management process during your career?
Due to many factors, change is inevitable adn unavoidable for businesses today. Because of this, Korn Ferry is often sought after to lead change management processes for their clients and the role that you are interviewing for will help facilitate this process with clients. Prior to your interview, think about particular change management processes that you have been a part of and be able to speak to your ability to lead others in making necessary business changes. Make sure to talk about the importance of having a vision, developing a plan and measuring progress as part of the overall change process.
"In my leadership role with my current organization, I have been part of an ongoing change process to optimize our staffing ratio to meet production needs. After being part of a careful analysis process and researching industry standards, we implemented a plan to heavily reduce our administrative staff while bolstering production staff and this was a huge change for our organization. My role in the implementation of the process was to gather data and put together a presentation for our Board and Senior Leadership. As well, I helped prepare both internal and external communications that went out regarding our upcoming changes. As things stand today, we have been in continuous review of new processes and things are going great! This involvement has helped prepare me for helping others manage significatn change in their business processes."
Do you have any experience in succession planning? If so, in what areas do you have specific experience?
A key component to consulting services for leadership development is succession planning and for this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear what experience you have in this area and that you understand the key components to the succession planning process. If you have experience, be sure to highlight some examples and what role you played. If you don't have any direct experience in succession planning, be sure to research and be able to speak about the key components of the process.
"With my current organization, I was directly involved in the creation of the succession planning processes for many of our key positions and this process really opened my eyes for how to be successful in the future planning. The first key item to undertake was identifying the key positions that we wanted to have succession plans for. We identified these roles by determining which roles were vital to the success of the organization and which roles would deter future growth if left unfilled. Once key roles were identified, I worked with leaders of and incumbents in those roles to build the key competencies for those positions. With these inventories of competencies now in hand, I worked with our HR staff to build plans for internal succession of selected employees and I helped build succession training programs for specific individuals. With this role at Korn Ferry, I think my experience would work well with your clients in many different industries."
"My experience in succession planning falls in working with specific roles that I supervised and helping to identify great candidates to begin working with Human Resources staff on training and planning for future roles. During these processes, I used both quantitatvie performance data and personal experiences with my employees in identifying the best candidates. In planning to prepare for a leadership consulting role, I feel like I would bring great experience and ability to other key aspects of the succession planning process for your clients because I have extensive knowledge of different management roles adn their importance in the overall success of businesses."
Have you ever experienced a time when a person or group were disruptive during a training session? If so, how did you handle that situation?
Just like in a kindergarten classroom, the adult learner can be opposed to being educated and they can act out or just flat out not pay attention. And like the kindergarten teacher, you have to use the tools in your bag to help move the training along while dealing with any potential disruption. If you have experienced this situation, talk about how you handled it, what the outcome was and what you learned for use in the future. If you haven't dealt with this situation directly, speak about a plan for how you would handle the situation.
"Coming from the manufacturing industry in a leadership position, I've led team meetings, company town hall meetings and conducted training for my staff. During all of these things, I have witnessed people not paying attention, talking to others or just plain being disrespectful to me and to others. Recently, in a training for my team, one of my employees kept asking why the company was wasting money on paying for people to sit through a training that wasn't going to benefit anybody. After brushing him off twice, I took the liberty of calling him out on the third time he questioned the training. To the entire team, I asked who saw the training as being beneficial and every person in the room beside the man raised their hands. I then explained why the organization, myself as their leader and the other employees saw it as important. I casually moved along with the training and not another word was said."
"During my time of providing education to staff and speaking in front of groups, I've encountered situations where people start side conversations or sit on their phone and don't pay attention. One great tip that I was given was to move around the room as the presenter to force people to adjust their focus to me. I've noticed that this helps a person or group not paying attention to recenter on me. Another tactic I use to prevent outside distraction is varying methods of presentation through video, audio or guest speakers whenever possible."
At Korn Ferry, you will have the opportunity to work with high level executives and leaders from the companies we contract with. What experience do you have in working with people at these levels?
As a business advisory and consulting firm, Korn Ferry works with Managers, Directors, CEO's, CFO's, CAO's and leaders with other titles on all of our projects. Your role will likely involve working closely with these leaders. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are comfortable in working with the leadership team of the organization's clients by having you talk about your experience. Make sure that the examples you provide include some details on how you worked effectively to get the job done with the leaders you worked with.
"In my current role, I work directly under our Chief Financial Officer and sit on a couple of different committees that our Chief Executive Officer is on. Under the direction of my CFO, we have a great working relationship. I am comfortable approaching him at any moment with questions or to bring forward new ideas. He is aware of my strengths and respects my opinions on matters in my wheelhouse, so he never hesitates to come to me with important things. I think the keys to our strong relationship are the respect we show for each other and our open lines of communication."
"Throughout my career, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with employees at all levels of the organizations that I've worked with. To me, working effectively with anyone requires a personal touch and a respectful approach. Whether I work with front line sales staff or members of the C-Suite, I take the time to get to know the person, their job and how I can best be of help to them in my role. This approach really helped me build a relationship with a Sales Executive that a few of my colleagues had struck out with in recent interactions."
What do you see as a potential hurdle you would have to overcome to be able to work with groups of high level leaders at our clients on their team development?
The role that you are interviewing for at Korn Ferry will put you in front of high level leaders at the clients you will be working for and you will have to possess the confidence and ability to work with them directly on team building and promotion. Dig deep to think about what you believe your biggest hurdle will be in that situation and talk to your interviewer about your plan to overcome that obstacle. Make sure that your learning opportunity promotes your insight into the role that you are interviewing and potentially points out an area of inexperience that have that you see as a great opportunity.
"In talking to another employee here, I understand that this role will have me working across a pretty broad spectrum of industries and I honestly see this as the only hurdle I will have to overcome from the start. As you can see from my experience, my professional experience has strictly been in the retail industry adn this role will really push me to learn healthcare, manufacturing, sales and other industries so I can speak knowledgably to the businesses of my potential clients. I have great research skills and would utilize this skill to get to know my clients and their businesses very well if hired for this position."
In this role with Korn Ferry, you will be asked to work with businesses across different industries. How would you go about best assessing training needs at an unfamiliar organization or industry?
No matter the level of work experience or personal training you have received throughout your career in the business education and training field, your interviewer knows that you will be facing new and unfamiliar situations in this job if you are hired. On this question, they are looking to hear how you would take a systematic yet unique approach with clients that you would be working with to assess needs in developing training programs for their staff. Use your expertise to talk about your approach and be sure your interviewer knows that you will put a personal touch to your work with each client.
"In this role, my first goal with any new client would be identifying the business need for them. I would do this utilizing many different channels and resources, such as conversations with leaders and current staff. This process would help me learn about the business in general and what overall thoughts are towards training needs. Following that, I would perform a gap analysis to see firsthand if reality is the perception of the staff and leadership of the organization. At that point, I can fully determine what training needs, if any, exist and start my recommendations from there."
"I think a lot of the skills in assessing training needs for the large healthcare organization I've worked with for the last six years will translate nicely to this role. My current methods of assessing are conducting one-on-one interviews with staff, holding focus groups, sending out surveys and conducting job observations are all effective in the right situation and I have a lot of great experience using these in needs assessments. Working with new businesses in different industries, a key component to my assessments will also involve me learning new jobs and I will do this through research of job descriptions and talking to leaders and staff with the clients I would work with."
Talk about a time you had to work with a very difficult person. What was the situation and how did you handle it?
At some point in any person's career, they have to work with a colleague or customer who is extremely difficult. Rather than looking to hear the fine details as to why this person was difficult, your interviewer will be looking to gain insight into how you personally handled the situation and others like it to ensure that a sound relationship was fostered even when you faced difficult circumstances. In your answer, some key things to focus on are your ability to be tolerant, understanding and a great communicator in these situations.
"In my current role, I have a customer that flies off the handle very easily if things don't happen just right and I learned this from my first interactions with him. In seeing this happen from the start, I have always maintained a calm demeanor when he was upset and showed empathy by asking questions about his expectations and how to fix situations for him. To this day, I expect difficulty from him when we work together and the years we've had a working relationship together have better prepared me for more clients like him in the future."
"A couple of years ago, a close colleague of mine had a very abrupt turnaround in her attitude and performance on the job. She was very curt and abrasive in conversations when she was normally very talkative and friendly on the job. After noticing some concerns in her work, I approached her with an open mind and asked her what was going on to cause these things to change. I showed concern and approached her as a friend and this approach prompted her to tell me about some issues happening in her personal life. By taking this approach, rather than getting upset or even made with her, I showed her that I cared and valued her as a person and my approach helped her open up and turn her life at work back around to the positive side."
What do you think is the key quality for a great business leader and how would you promote and educate this quality with our clients here at Korn Ferry?
Business research and leadership development research has shown that there are many qualities that great leaders possess. Rather than having you rattle off all of the great qualities, your interviewer is looking to hear you speak passionately about what you feel is an important quality of a great leaders. Prior to your interview, put some thought to this question to be able to speak about why you feel this quality is important in leadership and how you would promote this quality with your clients if hired for the position.
"Through my years of working with high level executives and CEO's and through all of the great publications I have read, I truly believe that vision is one of the key components of any great leader. Where many great managers know what it takes to get the job done and do a excellent job of conveying that message, a true leader has a vision for the future to drive business to new levels while also having the foresight to put that vision into action. While being a believer that having true business vision comes naturally to the right people, I have worked with leaders on reflecting on their visions and giving them the tools to help project their vision into words with their staff. I'd love to bring these ideas to the leadership development programs here at Korn Ferry."
"In my experience working closely with high level leaders at the organization I've worked with during my career, I'm a believer that the promotion of teamwork and cohesiveness is one of the key qualities of successful leaders. I've witnessed to many teams and businesses fail because a leader was too stubborn to delegate work and trust others around them to help get a job done. For me, I've always stressed the importance of teamwork by promoting a trusting environment for my leaders and showing them the importance of not being the watch over your shoulder types of leaders. I have many great examples of great leaders who delegated work and entrusted their staff around them to work cohesively as a team."
Being successful in the consulting industry requires adaptability and the ability to learn a business fast. What would be your approach to help you learn the ins and outs of a new client?
Korn Ferry contracts with businesses in different industries for their services and it is likely that your job would require you to learn the fine details of each business that you would work with. Demonstrate your ability to be flexible by giving examples of times you've had to do this during your career. As well, describe the approach that you would take to get the know the businesses you would be working with so you can apply your knowledge and expertise toward helping them.
"As you can see from my resume, I've been in corporate training and education for over ten years. In my current role, I have to use similar techniques working with different departments to try and tailor programs that meet their specific needs. I feel that my current approach of hosting an intake meeting with leaders would be effective in a consulting role with external customers. The current intake meetings that I lead are an opportunity for me to ask questions and learn as much as I can about my customers. In turn, it is an opportunity for me to lay the groundwork for the project and set expectations. Do you see this as an effective approach for this role?"
"Having worked in quality roles for most of my career in both the private and public sectors, I think my career experiences have shaped me well for this role. Transitioning to a consultative role would definitely be a transition for me and the biggest transition will be this need to work in many different industries. For me, researching clients, their business and their industry will be the first step to my approach in learning about them. I want to make a great first impression when I am face to face with a new client and that first impression starts with my knowledge. Then, my openness and ability to communicate would take over when I am working directly with clients. I know the right questions to ask for laying out quality initiative projects and I know the right things to educate clients on."
This role will put you face to face with leaders of our clients and have you coaching them on how to coach performance related issues. What insight will you bring to the area of performance evaluation and development?
In this role with Korn Ferry, part of your role would be working with clients on performance management and optimizing the performance of their staff. Be prepared to talk about any aspects of performance management that you have been a part of during your career as well as speaking about the importance of the bigger picture of performance management in respect to the performance of an organization. Another important thing to discuss is anything pertaining to coaching those that will be coaching others.
"During my career, I have been involved in the creation of two different performance management system creations and both have provided a ton of insight to me looking to move into this role. I have been a part of creating effective evaluation tools that are used to drill down to the KSA's required for a particular job. This process entailed detailed job evaluations to help in identifying key performance measures for each job. The tool creating process also offered me the chance to design and create some great feedback guidelines that hiring managers were trained on. I think this experience will pay off very well for your clients that are in need of creating or revamping their current performance management systems."
"In my current role, I have worked with our management and leadership staff on education and training for a new performance management system that my organization began using two years ago. While the technical side of learning the electronic evaluation program was very important, our leaders found the background knowledge around the evaluation process even more helpful. During that training, we talked about the importance that effective performance management played in reducing turnover and boosting employee satisfaction and gave our leaders great tips and tricks to use with their staff. I'd love to bring these things here to work with teh clients of Hay Group."
When a problem arises, what is your first reaction?
The interviewer wants to know if your reactions to problems reflect maturity and professionalism. How you react will significantly determine how you fit with the team at Korn Ferry.
Perhaps your computer crashes, and you realize you may have just lost all of your hard work. Or maybe you are limited on time and have a deadline rapidly approaching. Demonstrate to the interviewer that you take a very methodical approach to problem-solving, rather than reacting in an impulsive way when a problem occurs.
"When a major problem arises, my first instinct is to take a step back and absorb what just happened. I then go into "
"I have taught myself to become much calmer with my first reactions when problems arise. Now, I will step back and review my options for solving the problem rather than allow myself to become frustrated."
In what ways would our clients here at Korn Ferry benefit from your knowledge and services?
This question is your chance to talk about the unique skills and knowledge that you would bring to Korn Ferry and that is exactly what your interviewer is looking to hear. In your answer, keep your focus centered on how clients of the organization will benefit from the things that you bring to their table because Korn Ferry is client focused in all that they do. To be effective with this answer, be sure to do your research on the clients at Korn Ferry and think about how your experience will be beneficial for them.
"As you can see from my resume, I have extensive experience in risk management in the healthcare industry. Having worked with some major players in the industry, your healthcare clients would benefit the most from the experience and solutions I could help provide them. Not to leave other industries out, I think my experience in the healthcare realm will also translate nicely to your clients in other areas of the private sector."
"Having worked in accounting and tax law in a few different industries during my career to this point, I also have the unique experience of creating new organizational policies and procedures in my current role. In hearing more about this role, I think this experience would be very beneficial for your clients as I would be helping advise them in their practices and creating new policy would be crucial in that process."
Working with our clients here at Korn Ferry often involves some initial conflict with our clients. How would you rate your ability to handle conflict or disagreements in the workplace?
When we work with our clients here at Korn Ferry, an important part of receiving buy-in from them is attained through business diagrams and charts. What experience do you have in creating and presenting business diagrams and charts?
What knowledge do you have of differing leadership styles and how would you work effectively with each in this role?
In our world here at Korn Ferry, our clients rely on real world analytical data versus assumptions and guesswork. What analytical skills would you bring to the table here for our clients?
Talk about a time you had to use conflict resolution skills in a business setting. What was the situation and the outcome and how did you positively influence that outcome?
Would you say that you are a goal oriented person on the job? Why would you say that?
If hired for this role, what team building skills and techniques would you be able to bring to our clients here at Korn Ferry?
A key component to success here at Korn Ferry is building solid relationships with new clients. How do you effectively get to know new people and lay the groundwork for a long lasting relationship?
Do you have any experience in 1:1 coaching of business leaders? If given the opportunity to coach leaders as a consultant here at Korn Ferry, what skills would you bring to the table?
Let's say you were working with a client that was facing a decision of cutting production to limit risk in their market. What would be some of the steps you would take to help them analyze their situation?
Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating.
Talk about a time that you successfully educated another individual or group in your area of expertise. What made your educational experience effective?
With your experience as a Human Resources professional, do you have any niche areas of the field that you'd be most interested in providing consultative services in?