Tag Archives: kenexa aptitude test

SHL vs Kenexa reasoning tests: what are the differences?

Kenexa (formerly PSL) and SHL are two very similar aptitude tests you are very likely to encounter if you apply for a graduate job, with more and more companies turning towards them to find the strongest candidates imaginable from the pool.

As an applicant there is nothing to be scared of, but it is always very important to be fully prepared for what lies ahead of you as your knowledge and skills will be put to test.

Generally, online aptitude tests come after the initial screening such as the application stage once the company weeds out the candidates which are surely not suitable, and aims to assess the individual’s maximum ability in the attributes that have been identified as important for a success role. Many companies are fielding SHL and Kenexa aptitude tests, and even if they have been created by different companies they have very few differences between each other.

Both SHL and Kenexa tests are, in practical terms, extremely similar as companies use them for the same purpose and using the same methods. They are relatively simple aptitude tests, which assess the necessary skills of an applicant.

SHL is a leading brand when it comes to not only aptitude tests but also different types of psychometric tests, and they are widely used by many different organisations. In terms of aptitude tests, SHL offers a wide range of different models but the main ones consist of numerical, verbal and logical abstract reasoning – the very same tests Kenexa offers. Kenexa on the other hand is a major provider focused on assessment tools which is also a very popular choice for a multitude of brands looking to hire new employees.

Both Kenexa and SHL are equally popular, yet have their differences which we will cover below.

A format overview

Generally speaking, both companies create tests split in three main categories. Others may be added  for specific jobs, but these are guaranteed to be there.

  • Numerical reasoning: This is designed to test your ability to understand and use numerical data, usually displayed in a graph or table. Here the candidate uses the information available to proceed and answer the questions. Kenexa gives its clients a bank of 174 different numerical type questions from which 20 are drawn and will be given to the candidate, who has a time margin of 20 minutes to answer all of them. SHL offers 18 questions which take 17 to 25 minutes to complete, as well as another 10 questions for verification purposes (at the Assessment Centre) which require another 14 to 15 minutes to complete.
  • Verbal reasoning: this is another type of test which both companies have to offer. Verbal reasoning tests evaluate the candidate’s ability to understand and critically evaluate passages of written information. Kenexa gives 20 minutes for the candidate to answer 24 questions, as there will be a paragraph of information followed by a statement. The statements will either be false, true or unable to say depending on the situation. SHL gives 30 questions first with 17 to 19 minutes to complete, then a second part of 18 questions with 11 minutes to complete.
  • Logical abstract reasoning: Here Kenexa gives applicants a series of shapes and symbols, where you will need to select the missing pattern in the sequence. They test a candidate’s ability to make correct conclusions and assumptions using the information which is provided. These are becoming more popular in the job application process. SHL also does these kind of tests, but theirs is made up of 24 questions with a total of 25 minutes to complete. Afterwards an additional 7 are given with a time limit of seven minutes.

The verdict

Although being extremely similar, you have probably noticed that Kenexa is fond of throwing an enormous amount of questions at its applicants. On top of that, the time given for applicants to answer Kenexa questions is markedly smaller. Having said that, if you face a Kenexa test, you will have the benefit of going back and forth as needed. Make use of this whenever possible to ensure all your answers are correct before moving on.

Numerous online tests are available from different sources including Kenexa and SHL themselves. However, if you want a proper test preparation packs with ebooks and tutorial videos then you can try Graduatemonkey.com. Graduates and professional job applicants recommend it.

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What it takes to get a job with Investment Bank?

The true reality of bagging an investment banking job in the extremely competitive world is different and difficult.  Working with an investment bank is not like working in a technology startup wherein anyone can work and acquire skills over a period of time. These banks are traditional and conservative organizations thriving on values, passion and hunger for more money. Most top Wall Street investment banks want to recruit an intelligent, proactive, entrepreneurial and disciplined graduate. Excellent analytical and personal skills are a prerequisite for starting a prosperous career in a high paying investment banking job.

At investment banks, the candidate selection is a meticulously planned process. It includes application screening, online aptitude tests, initial telephone interview, assessment centre with further tests and even a senior partner interview. The whole selection process may last for several months. Practicing and preparing for aptitude tests such as SHL and Kenexa numerical reasoning tests will help you gain a better test score and pass the initial phase of the job recruitment process. Note that top academic degree is not enough. You should have an optimal combination of soft and technical skills. For example, significant programming background and experience will definitely help in securing your dream job at one of the top investment banks. Remember, you will be working in an extremely dynamic environment, with highly intelligent colleagues, high salary and commensurate responsibilities. Here are a few steps you can follow to get hired by an investment bank.

  1. Understand the industry

A majority of banks are inflexible when it comes to hiring graduates and they usually prefer candidates from top schools or universities because if you are not from the elite schools, you will have to show something extra about you that should make up for the “shortcoming”. Note that you will have to sacrifice your social and personal life to work long late night hours (close to 100 hours per week) for the bank, especially during the first three years. Therefore, understanding the investment banking industry before facing the job recruitment process is essential. The industry requires you to put in extremely long working hours that should lead to strong results. Banks also look out for people who engage in extra-curricular activities to relieve stress and get a new perspective about problems and tasks. Strong logical reasoning, abstract reasoning and verbal reasoning are also required to work efficiently in a bank.

  1. Prepare for the initial phase

The initial phase is usually in the form of online aptitude test – an effort to filter out “undeserving” applicants at a minimal cost. The throttling trouble faced by applicants is the difficulty to clear the verbal reasoning, logical reasoning and numerical reasoning tests. These aptitude tests determine the analytical and logical ability of the candidate under high time pressure. The HR managers believe that a high score in these tests reflects the candidate ability to quickly learn and adapt to challenging conditions as one will have to use his analytical and logical skills to deal with real life problems. And, whether or not you have a mathematical background, make sure to prepare for the SHL, Kenexa reasoning tests to help you prepare better for the upcoming assessment day.

  1. Tell your story

A plethora of graduates wants to enter the investment banking field because of money. However, this cannot be explicitly told during an interview, even if it is the truth. Displaying the finance spark is essential to win an offer. Tell them why you want to enter the tough field of investment banking and how you are a good fit for the job. Craft your story in a way it is authentic. Start from the beginning and entail how you developed an interest in this field. And, once you have understood what the banks are looking for, you need to persuade them that you possess all the desired skills and quality. In the end, you should be able to communicate the message that you possess all the skills to excel in such a profile. The story should be genuine and not filled with unrealistic stuff such as “it was my childhood dream” because investment banking is not everyone’s cup of tea.

  1. Build your resume

Investment banks require a different kind of resume and if you apply using a resume meant for a marketing job, you are sure to get rejected within seconds. Never bank upon the resumes or cover letters available online. Craft your resume in a way it reflects the financial and numerical ability instead of simple words.

For example, a candidate applied with the following line:

Developed a software which reduced the manual hours of employees at an organization

These lines sound as if the person is tech nerd. You can change it to:

Reduced the manual hours of employees by 25% resulting in a 10% increase in the ROI.

Giving specific number and analyzing the financial returns will help you create an impression as the same is done in the real world. You only need to sound ‘finance savvy’ and you will be successful in leaving an impression.

  1. Crack the technical round

One of the most difficult parts of the recruitment process is clearing the technical round wherein you are bombarded with finance terminologies which tests your financial aptitude. Technical questions are tough and can be answered if the concepts are clear. Additionally, if you vomit whatever you have read in a book, the interviewer will know it within seconds. Therefore, it is essential to inject some flavor to every answer you give during the interview. While preparing focus on accounting, modeling and valuation as these three areas are often tested. Apart from the technical questions, you need to stay at par with the recent deals completed in the industry as an interviewer may want to know your passion and enthusiasm about this field.

Whether you land up with an offer or not, leave no stone unturned while preparing for the interview process because you never know which stone will lead to a lucrative job profile at an investment bank. Portray your strengths, spin your resume, show your passion and increase your enthusiasm to grab a job offer.