Korn Ferry Reviews

Updated August 22, 2014
Updated August 22, 2014
103 Reviews
3.1
103 Reviews
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Korn Ferry CEO and Director Gary D. Burnison
Gary D. Burnison
61 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The frim has a great brand and interesting ideas on how to change in the future (in 8 reviews)

  • Global market leader within Executive Search (in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • Terrible work-life balance and unreasonable expectations more often than not (in 3 reviews)

  • Sometimes you have to spend long hours whilst being paid very little, chances to get promotion are very slim: junior positions here aren't recommended (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

8 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 6 people found this helpful  

    Low Integrity

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - PRI
    Current Employee - PRI

    I have been working at Korn Ferry full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Brand recognition
    Client access
    Potential
    There are like most professional services firms many remarkable and take Ted people who work there

    Cons

    The firm has branded itself as a talent management consultancy (see website)
    The firm is a search firm that has broadened its product portfolio with a series of acquisitions including PDI, Global Novations, Lominger and FutureStep among others.
    The vast majority of the Leadership and Talent Consulting practice revenue is driven by product related sales - mostly assessment (PDI) competency related (Lominger) and training (Global Novations)
    The professionals coming from these acquired companies are highly educated and talented. They are equally limited in their experience with broader talent consulting let alone organization development experience or qualifications.
    The marketing department is way out ahead of the groups actual capability touting the firm as the new kid in town
    The leaders in charge of building a broader capability come from these product based companies as well and have not built a practice of this scale so it's really a mess
    They are very good at recruiting you in emphasizing the opp to build the practice but you should ask about the following:
    Governance - the CFO controls the practice and demonstrates a lack of experience building a consultancy. Remember that's in addition to being a public company.
    Partnership - being a partner is a title only. The partners do not work together to build the practice, develop its people or define the practice's future.
    Access to opportunities - even if you bring relationships you cannot avoid working with the mostly narrowly experienced people from the acquired organizations they have assigned as industry or client leads. These people tend to sell what they are familiar with and be threatened by new people with broader capability. There are few exceptions to this and considering all the search relationships very little green field to build a book of business. The search partner thing is what you would expect - highly variable 're understanding talent and preparing for a meeting with their clients can be a time consuming nightmare.
    Sales target - Principles and Partners have a sales target of up to 2M/year which at first seems easy until you realize there is absolutely no leverage - few to no consultants to help unless you are selling products where you sell, others deliver and yet another group manages the project. They have lifted and installed the model from PDI. So you need to sell 2M per year, if so make a maybe 100k bonus on top of your 240k base and remember you deliver most of the work. If you are a product pusher and that turns your crank you are in much better shape. The system forces you to sell product - assessments, competency models, training rograms - you get the drill (2014 bonuses paid in June 2014 far below 100k target. I sold 1.8, delivered 90 percent of the work and got 30k and a promotion - huh?)
    Integrity is the most significant issue - the firm literally does not use its own tools. There is no formal onboarding, almost all training is overview of product and how to sell it, hierarchal performance management, no assessment of leaders ( hardest one to stomach as they are literally impacting the careers of 1000s of professionals as they report assessment results to executives, CEOs and Board. Really concerning)
    If you are considering this firm because of its potential that makes sense. If you think you can join as a new person and affect change against these practices brought by the acquired organizations and entrenched by the appointment of them at every point of market access and leadership - your mom is right, you really are amazing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire McKinsey, BCG or Deloitte and conduct a thorough assessment of the business
    Have the Board pay the bill because The CEO needs to listen and hear the results - not sure if he's cut out to do this stage if t be org but not for me to say
    Translate the business assessment results to leader success profiles just like you do for your clients
    Assess current leaders against profiles using your assessment tools including 360 feedback
    Get the right leaders in the right roles, transition finance from running the practice to a support role to track lag indicators and hold your leadership team accountable to grow the practice through project delivery, client growth and building a pipeline of next generation talent
    Physician heal thyself

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Not a great culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Korn Ferry full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Good brand and global reach. Has all the pieces to become a truly unique talent management firm.

    Cons

    Very weak leadership and poor strategic vision. No teamwork at all. Way too many crusty old search guys hanging around.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Clean house at the top. The business is fundamentally changing folks. You have all the pieces to make a real difference. Put them together and you might win. Leave them apart and you will lose.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 4 people found this helpful  

    Steer clear of this company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Manager  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Project Manager in New York, NY

    I have been working at Korn Ferry full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great, intelligent people, great intellectual property.

    Cons

    No work-life balances, no raises, not even a cost of living raise, there is no incentive to stay here. Too many acquisitions and too much work being sold with not enough resources to deliver. Employees are disposable and overworked. They want a certain level of employee yet are not willing to pay for it. No company culture. There is no appreciation or compensation for employees at lower levels.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    No one at lower levels likes this company. Your are getting the continuous turnover that you deserve.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    The worst professional experience of my 20-year career - hands down

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Associate  in  Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Boston, MA

    I worked at Korn Ferry full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Good information system, reasonable collaboration between piers, at least at the associate level.

    Cons

    Tremendous leverage placed upon associates. Professional disrespect, mind games, and abusive behavior is prevalent and commonplace. No upward mobility and just a lot of hard work at the bottom rungs of the ladder. Too much stress.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your employees better - period. This is not a good place to work. I would avoid the company at all costs.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Poor financial leadership and false promises!!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Director  in  Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Director in Los Angeles, CA

    I have been working at Korn Ferry full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Perception of being highly professional and internally organized.

    Cons

    Reality is they have little infrastructure to compete effectively on a global scale, have low tenure in their recruitment ranks, overcharge for their services and have poor decision making amongst the leadership.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Before you make someone an offer of employment, look at your business and financials to be certain they are solid. Take leadership courses and develop an onboarding program that you can stick to in order to drive some consistency.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    Smoke & Mirrors

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at Korn Ferry full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    You can spend a lot of money for NOTHING

    Cons

    It's all just a dog and pony show. Smaller search frims offer better service, results and much better pricing

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get back to basics. The Barbie Dolls in New York are MONSTERS. The Devil wears Prada?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Korn/Ferry: A recruiting factory with rewards only after years of trying to prove oneself.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Associate  in  Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Boston, MA

    I worked at Korn Ferry

    Pros

    A good brand name company.

    Cons

    You are worked like a dog, and treated like one too.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The days of $100K searches, except for very select positions, will be MUCH harder to come by in the future.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    A terrible mistake. Totally regretted my decision to come to the firm.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Korn Ferry

    Pros

    If you don't know anything about the search business, this is a good place to get a working knowledge. You get exposed to the best tools in the search business.

    Cons

    Total lack of leadership from the top. The CEO is purely a Wall Street leader with absolutely no understanding of what it's like to be one of his own Partners. The practice leadership group is a political snake-pit. The management committee has been the same for a decade. They change compensation plans mid-year, with absolutely no explanation to their Partners and pay them the least amount they think they can get away with. The compensation drops every year. Because they operate on a zero cost per-partner basis, they end up taking compensation away from profitable, high-performing partners to pay for employees who are under-performers that are part of the political hierarchy. There are several people who work at the firm where no one understands what they do. Their non-search businesses loose money every year and they treat the search partners who provide all the profit like garbage. The most politically charged consulting organization in the world. You spend 40% of your time serving clients and 60% of your time watching your back. This is a culture bred by its leaders.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Terminate those who are not performing. Pay your over-achievers at an industry-competitive level. Make leadership rotational. Get rid of the businesses that are loosing money. Take out the political animals who are not adding any value to the bottom-line.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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