Kenexa Tests

What is Kenexa?

Kenexa tests are used by many organisations to screen candidates as part of the recruitment process. Kenexa itself is a global consultancy, which specialises in business psychology and is a creator of psychometric tests.

The company was established in 1987 and during its early years it focused primarily on recruitment. Through a series of acquisitions, Kenexa expanded its service offering to the talent management sector. It was acquired by IBM in 2012 for $1.3 billion.

Kenexa has a portfolio of more than 1,500 assessments that can be customised to suit the specific requirements of each business. Kenexa tests are usually used during the initial screening stage, though they can be incorporated into the recruitment process at any point.

What Categories of Kenexa Tests are There?

  • Advanced Reasoning. These are assessments that evaluate psychometric skills such as verbal and numerical reasoning.
  • Career Fit. A test designed to assess personality and/or a competency. Many businesses use this type of test to identify the most suitable candidate based on workplace preference, rather than looking specifically at job descriptions.
  • Culture Fit. In certain work environments, staff need to demonstrate a particular type of personality. This test will determine whether the candidate holds the values that the company believes are important.
  • Job Fit. An assessment that enables the employer to identify the candidate with the strongest job preferences in relation to the job that they have applied for.
  • Kenexa KPIs.The Kenexa Key Performance Indicators is a suite of tools used by employers to highlight whether a candidate would engage in specific behaviours that would be integral to the role they have applied for (such as teamwork).
  • Kenexa Prove It. This is a comprehensive platform including over 1,200 tests that range from job-specific skills through to more general competency or personality tests.

Kenexa Tests

Kenexa tests include numerical, verbal and logical reasoning assessments.


What Types of Aptitude Tests does Kenexa Produce?

There are four core aptitudes covered by Kenexa tests:

  • Numerical Reasoning. Questions will be selected from a bank of 174 questions and candidates have 20 minutes to complete the test, which comprises 20 questions (so an average of one minute per question). This type of test will be used to review the candidate’s ability to analyse and interpret numerical data, as well as being able to understand profit margins and calculate percentages. See more on numerical reasoning tests, and take a free sample test here.

  • Verbal Reasoning. These tests are also 20 minutes in length, with 24 questions to answer. Each question relates to a paragraph of information accompanied by a statement. This statement may be either false, true or it cannot be determined, based on the information contained in the text. These verbal reasoning tests are often used to determine the candidate’s communication skills. See more on verbal reasoning tests, and take a free sample test here.

  • Logical Reasoning. During this assessment, the candidate will be provided with a series of different shapes, and they must identify the missing pattern to complete the sequence. A logical reasoning test aims to evaluate the candidate’s ability to reach correct conclusions based on the information in the sequence. See more on logical reasoning tests, and take a free sample test here.

  • Kenexa CAT. The Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) is one of the most recent additions to Kenexa. In this test, candidates answer a series of questions that increase in difficulty as they progress. The CAT assessments include three main types of test: verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and logical reasoning.

Which Companies use Kenexa Tests?

Many organisations now use psychometric tests as a screening tool for candidates. Numerical and verbal reasoning tests are perhaps the most commonly used.

Companies that rely on Kenexa tests as part of their screening process include:

  • Balfour Beatty and Nomura, which use Kenexa’s numerical reasoning tests;
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch and CVS Caremark, which use Kenexa’s situational judgement tests;
  • Grant Thornton, which use Kenexa’s numerical and verbal reasoning tests.

How to Prepare for Kenexa Tests

Preparation is key when it comes to passing the Kenexa tests. The more you practice, the better your technique will become. In addition, the more tests that you sit, the more you will be able to identify patterns in the questions.

If you are more comfortable with verbal reasoning tests (for example if you are a native speaker of English), put your focus on numerical reasoning - looking specifically at interpreting data, working out percentages, and calculating ratios and currency conversions.

When it comes to preparing for verbal reasoning tests prepared by Kenexa, candidates are always encouraged to be aware of double negatives. This is a strategy which is intentionally used to throw you off course or cause confusion. Therefore, it is important to read the information carefully and synthesise what it says.

To strengthen your verbal reasoning skills, you should aim to read a commercial magazine such as The Economist or Forbes. Practice by summarizing the key points of the article and try to comprehend complex business information about real issues. This will enable you to approach the real test with more confidence.


If you want further practice of Kenexa-style tests, we recommend the Kenexa package offered by JobTestPrep.


Example Practice Kenexa Questions

In this section are a few examples of typical questions that you could find in the Kenexa tests.


Verbal Reasoning

Candidates will be given a passage of text such as the one below.

“Electricity is one of the main causes of accident fires in homes throughout the UK. Many of these fires are attributed to human error such as failing to turn off or unplug appliances or overloading extension sockets. Other contributing factors include poor or faulty electrical wiring or loose plugs. In order to protect consumers and reduce the risk electrical appliances should be fitted with a plug displaying the European or British safety mark. In addition, an RCD (Residual Current Device) can help reduce the risk of electric shock. People are also advised not to leave candles unattended, particularly when they are near combustible material.”

This is then followed by a question such as:

Faulty wiring is the main contributing factor to house fires in domestic properties. Is this:

  • True
  • False
  • Cannot determine

In this situation, the answer would be false, since the information states that human error is the main factor that contributes to house fires.

We’ve created a free practice verbal reasoning test - to try it out, click here.


Numerical Reasoning

In a numerical reasoning test, the candidate is presented with a graph or chart which will be used to assess how well you can process and synthesise data. Here’s an example question:

A chart states the various percentages of revenue attributed to a digital marketing campaign as follows:

  • Email makes £60
  • Social media generates £104
  • Paid search generates £20
  • Direct website referrals make £70
  • SEO generates £46

Based on this information the candidate would be asked a question such as working out which two marketing methods would account for 50% of the revenue generated by the firm.

To work this answer out, the candidate must add up the revenue for each digital marketing channel (total £300) and then half this to get £150. Referring back to the chart, they would then work out which two marketing techniques added together would equal £150. In this example it would be social media and SEO.

We’ve created a free practice numerical reasoning test - to try it out, click here.


Tips and advice on how to succeed at Kenexa tests

As with any psychometric test, the key to success is practice and Kenexa tests are no different. That said, we have put together some tips to help you succeed not just in Kenexa tests but any psychometric test:

Read the Question

During your practice Kenexa tests, make sure that you familiarise yourself with the questions and the style of questioning. Always read the question carefully and make sure you know what it is asking rather than answering what you think the answer should be. Failing to read the question properly can result in missing out a crucial piece of information.

Sometimes candidates may find that reading the question twice may help. Be careful though, because this can waste valuable time, particularly in the real test when you only have around a minute to answer each question.

Make Use of Note Paper

Use the note paper that you have been given to work out your answers. Make sure that they are properly thought through before you choose your answer.

Fine-Tune Your Timing

This is why practising your tests is so important. Kenexa and other psychometric tests are fast-paced, so completing practice tests will allow you to accustom yourself to timing and know when you have to move on to the next question.

Filter Out Unnecessary Information

Sometimes the tests will intentionally include redundant information, so it is important that you can quickly evaluate and discard what is not required.


If you want further practice of Kenexa-style tests, we recommend the Kenexa package offered by JobTestPrep.


Further Reading