Why not use the MBTI for hiring?

by

MBTI_5

One of my favorite parts of my job is leading MBTI workshops for our clients. Yesterday, I spent the day with the executive team of a fast growing software company. We had a lot of fun together and the group really embraced it as a tool for team building.

They got so much out of this workshop from a team building perspective that one of them asked why they shouldn’t use the MBTI for hiring. I get this question often enough that I thought it was worth a blog. There are companies out there who use the MBTI for hiring, but the MBTI experts agree it isn’t a good idea and here’s why:

  1. Anyone with a basic knowledge of the indicator, or even any understanding of the job objectives, could easily answer the MBTI questions to skew their results toward what they believe you are looking for in a new hire.
  2. The MBTI shows personality preferences, not intelligence, motivation, skills, knowledge or other factors important in job success.
  3. There are many ways to approach a job that can be successful. While Extraverts may tend to gravitate more to sales, Introverts can be very good at it as well. I talked with a sales person last night who claims his success in sales is partly because he doesn’t get energy from lengthy interactions.
  4. Knowing that someone prefers a function or attitude does not tell us how good they are at using it. For instance, someone who prefers Feeling judgment may be able to use their Thinking judgment more effectively than most people who actually prefer Thinking judgment. I know many Perceivers who have adopted styles to be effective at work that are usually Judging indicators.

So, though the MBTI is a great tool for helping teams work better together, most experts think it is unwise, unethical and possibly illegal to use it in general hiring and recruiting unless it’s simply used as a single data point in a series of different tests and interviews.

 

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