The MBTI® Has Many Uses… Hiring is Not One of Them

Want help with your hiring? It's easy. Enter your information below, and we'll quickly reach out to discuss your hiring needs.

I’ve written quite a bit about the incredible value of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® assessment for team building, leadership development, lifelong development and how to honor your MBTI® preferences when interviewing for a job. Hopefully, you have noticed that I have never written or spoken, for that matter, about using the MBTI® assessment as part of the selection process

So, if you are applying for a job, please know that being asked to take the MBTI assessment or to even share your MBTI® preferences as part of that process is a big “no-no!”

The MBTI assessment can be invaluable when it comes to understanding how our personality preferences can help us and how during some circumstances those preferences can present blind spots. However, these “pros and cons”, if you will, are very individualized. In other words, just because you have certain preferences it doesn’t mean you have all the gifts or blind spots associated with those preferences. 

While the MBTI assessment is amazing at helping you identify your preferences, it doesn’t identify how developed or not those preferences are. What this means is you have the potential to learn how to use all four MBTI preference pairs (E-I, S-N, T-F, J-P) based on your type development. The MBTI assessment is just trying to identify which side of each preference pair you “own.” Part of the lifelong process that comes with learning about your MBTI® preferences is to discovering how to use the opposite side of your preferences when situations call for it. 

Any Personality Type Can Excel in Any Role

I like to say, “Any type can do anything.” If you prefer Introversion, for example, that doesn’t mean you can’t be amazing in a sales position. You may need to flex from time to time to the extraverted world especially in circumstances where you find that you are underwhelming that sales opportunity. Still, your preference for Introversion could in many cases be a real gift to a sales role. When being “sold” to, many customers like it when they are being listened to. People with a preference for Introversion have a natural tendency to do exactly that. They listen. 

While more people who prefer Extraversion are attracted to sales positions than those who prefer Introversion, it’s important to note that Sale positions are not just filled with people who prefer Extraversion. And just because there are more people who prefer Extraversion in sales, it does not mean they do the job better than those who prefer Introversion. By the way, when it comes to Extraversion and Introversion in sales, the Myers-Briggs Company research data base shows 66% prefer Extraversion and 34% prefer Introversion. Simply put, there are a lot of people who prefer Introversion in sales who are likely very good at it as well. 

The Power of ‘Flexing’ Your Personality Type to Excel in Any Career

Suppose that you prefer Intuition and are looking to find a position in, let’s say, accounting. Of course, that is something that people who prefer Intuition can do. Sure, you may need to flex to the Sensing side when you are called to do detailed, by-the-numbers tasks. However, your preference for Intuition might bring to the position a new approach that others who prefer Sensing haven’t thought about. There are more people who prefer Sensing in accounting positions, but again that doesn’t mean they do the job better than those who prefer Intuition. Just in case you are curious, when it comes to Sensing and Intuition in accounting, the Myers-Briggs Company research database shows 77% prefer Sensing and 23% prefer Intuition. 

Let’s say you prefer Feeling and want to apply for a position in protective services. While Feeling is not the most common type in this industry, it doesn’t mean there are no people in protective services with that preference. Still, you may need to flex to the Thinking side from time to time, while also recognizing that your Feeling preference can be a huge help in connecting in a more empathetic and compassionate way. 

Less Common Types Can Bring Unique Value to Their Professions

Once again, just because there are more police officers with a preference for Thinking, it does not mean they do the job better than those who prefer Feeling. I might even argue that perhaps we could use more personality type diversity in protective services. Oh, and when it comes to Thinking and Feeling in protective services, the Myers-Briggs Company research data base shows 71% prefer Thinking and 29% prefer Feeling. 

And finally, if you prefer Perceiving and are looking for a position in office and administrative services, you can do that too. Again, there could be some flexing required for you to organize all the systems and procedures this role likely requires. But guess what? Again…your preference for Perceiving likely will help you deal with those last-minute requests as well as the constant everyday change every work environment give us. And yes, there are more people who prefer Judging doing this kind of work, but that doesn’t mean they do it better than those who prefer Perceiving. When it comes to Judging and Perceiving in office and administrative services, the Myers-Briggs Company research data base shows 61% prefer Judging and 39% prefer Perceiving. 

Your Preferences Do Not Define Your Limitations

What I’m trying to make clear is that regardless of your preferences, you are capable of doing anything you are motivated to do. The MBTI assessment is giving you information about your preferences. It’s not telling you what you can and cannot do. So, anyone who uses the MBTI assessment believing that your preferences define your limitations is completely missing the mark on understanding and appreciating differences of the diverse workforce in our world today. 

Read more in Career Advice

Michael Segovia is the lead trainer for The Myers-Briggs Company's MBTI certification programs. In his quarter-century career at The Myers-Briggs Company, Segovia has conducted hundreds of certification courses in the MBTI. He speaks and writes regularly on the subjects of personality type, leadership, and development. He recently presented a TED talk reflecting on how type theory has informed his understanding of his own life’s story.