Egon Zehnder is a leading Executive Search firm, sourcing senior leaders for many of the world’s most respected organizations. With more than 420 consultants and 69 offices in 41 countries spanning Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, their clients range from the largest corporations to emerging growth companies, government and regulatory bodies, and major educational and cultural institutions.

Having used psychometric tools in-house for several years, Egon Zehnder was looking for an instrument that could assist their executive assessment work with clients.

Once the decision to incorporate a psychometric tool into their approach was made, the firm weighed up the choices carefully. The chosen tool needed to be accessible, meaningful and engaging from the outset. It also needed proven validity and reliability, to make it credible. Equally important, the chosen assessment would have to work on an international stage and be available as a questionnaire in multiple languages.

“The 16pf not only helps us to understand our candidates better but also helps build our relationships with them”

James Martin,
Partner, Egon Zehnder


After weighing up the options, Egon Zehnder settled on the 16pf as the assessment that ticked all these boxes. Initially road-tested internally, it was clear from the feedback that the instrument would stimulate the kind of conversations necessary to enhance their assessment process.

“That was one of the key criteria”, says James Martin, Consultant Partner at Egon Zehnder.

We worked in partnership with Egon Zehnder to develop a bespoke 16pf qualifying program. The training enables in-house practitioners to carry out 16pf-based assessment in the specific context of individual senior executive candidate assessment. A tailored Profile Manager Feedback report was codeveloped with our consultants. It was designed to relate specifically to client situations, and is used for “hypothesis generation”, a tool for the assessor rather than a feedback document for the executives. The assessor then sits with the candidate to validate the results and writes a bespoke summary of the findings which is included in the overall assessment report.

The growing number of reports produced over the years underlines the success of the program – from 600 in 2012 to 1,500 in 2014. That figure is a reflection of the impact the 16pf is having with top leaders in organizations across the globe.

“We were looking for a tool that would add to and fit with our current methodology. The 16pf was credible in the market, but more importantly it provided us with a deeper level of insight around our established assessment framework – it fitted the bill perfectly.”

James Martin,
Partner, Egon Zehnder


The company has accredited 280 people in the 16pf over the last four years. The training is entirely voluntary –accreditation is only offered to consultants who express a wish to add the 16pf to their assessment toolkit.

“It acts as an additional lens, helping build a more complete picture of the individual we are assessing”, says Amy –Jo. “There’s no downside really. Why wouldn’t we use it? That’s what it comes down to – why wouldn’t we use it, given the additional data point it brings and the rapport it encourages? It’s a great scene-setter in many scenarios where trust is central to the process. We want to get it right.” Egon Zehnder also uses the anonymous report data in its aggregate form to look at commonalities within a team or working group. This acts as an additional data point to understand how individuals behave as a team and highlights how organizational hiring and development preferences may lead to a lack of diversity – the implications of which can be both cultural and performance related.

“We have found the 16pf discussion to be both accurate and enjoyable for our candidates – client feedback has been incredibly positive.”

Amy-Jo Walton
Senior Assessment and Development Expert, Egon Zehnder