Personality tests are taking over the world today, including our jobs. It's an interesting topic and a great conversation starter for many.
We have a plethora of personality tests that we can access such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), 5 love languages, the Enneagram test and much more.
The MBTI is arguably the most popular personality test out there today, especially since you can check your personality for free.
As someone who has taken many personality tests including the above, I believe there is some truth to them that is helping with self-reflection.
What I don't understand, however, is why some bosses take these tests so seriously that they pay for them and believe that it would help them build their ideal workforce.
Take the fun out of personality tests
This Colossus Media Group (CMG) article highlighted that more than 3.5 million reviews are conducted each year and nearly 90% of Fortune 100 companies use the MBTI test in the hiring process or for team building.
But here's the thing, even the MBTI Foundation has been talking about how unethical it is for companies to use their assessment to make hiring decisions.
“The MBTI rating is intended to be descriptive, not predictive. Companies that mistakenly use the MBTI assessment to make hiring decisions confuse preference with competence and do themselves a disservice in their hiring process by weeding out potentially qualified applicants, ”they pointed out.
First of all, the MBTI is intended to help someone identify how it works, e.g. B. how he makes contacts, analyzes them, evaluates situations and solves problems.
It doesn't tell you how well someone is doing all of these things, it just tells you how they do it. So it doesn't make sense to evaluate a potential employee based on all of these things for a hiring decision.
You can't change your personality in yourself, in contrast to behavior and attitudes, which are more important at work.
A professional employer does not discriminate
For example, let's say I'm an ENFP. If you're not familiar with MBTI, it means I'm (E) xtroverted, i (N) intuitive, (F) basking, and (P) receptive.
If my potential employer doesn't want to hire me as a writer because of all these things, wouldn't that be ridiculous?
What does extroversion have to do with how well I write? A job is ultimately a job, and my social tendencies have absolutely nothing to do with how good I am at it.
The same applies to my intuition, my feelings and my perceptual tendencies – how would all of these things contribute to my work performance?
If an employer places a high value on hiring based on MBTI, they most likely already have their favorites among these 16 personalities. This could indicate how inflexible an employer is.
There is no shortcut to good relationships
Me, an ENFP, who explains my points in this article / Image Credit: 16Personalities
The article by CMG that I addressed earlier listed several benefits of MBTI in a workplace:
- Eliminate conflict,
- Improve communication,
- Improving teamwork,
- Playing strengths,
- Promote self-reflection.
While the last two have well-founded arguments, the first three that I disagree with are how the MBTI contributes to a job.
Good relationships with your co-workers have no link or manual. It takes time to get to know and understand a person better.
The MBTI may give you insight into how your coworkers work, but in no way tells you what your coworkers really value in a working relationship and how you can work with them.
Most of the time, when a person takes a personality test, they are answering the questions about how they are in their personal life.
Someone's MBTI may reflect how they work in their personal life, not how they work in their work life. This can mislead you if you rely too much on it to better assess your colleague.
Is the MBTI really useless?
No it is not. And that comes from someone who actively reads MBTIs and is very invested in all things related.
I think that knowing your MBTI can help you to exploit your strengths and stimulate self-reflection, as it helps you to organize and understand how you function as a person in 4 different fields.
However, employers who make this a crutch for hiring decisions and team building activities really believe in a shortcut that doesn't exist.
Additionally, building your dream team based on MBTIs will not allow you to access a pool of potential talent who may be more educated or experienced, but who simply do not suit your preferences in terms of personality.
The skills are trainable and experience can of course be gained, but it is safe to say that these are extremely important for employers on the basis of job vacancies.
For the most part, I think all of these tests can only go so far as to identify a person's strengths and help them reflect on themselves.
But strengths also change over time as you gain more work experience and grow as an employee in a company.
Trying to understand someone better through their MBTI is perfectly valid, but if you have preconceived ideas about their work style and ethics, you may find yourself disappointed later.
Ultimately, communication is key to getting to know someone better at work, just as it is in any other relationship.
- Further information on the MBTI test can be found here.
- You can find more of the opinion pieces we've written about here.
Selected image source: 16 personalities