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Responding to Type Criticism—Should the MBTI® Tool Be Used for Employee Selection?

Responding to Type Criticism—Should the MBTI® Tool Be Used for Employee Selection?

Again, no way! When people think this instrument should be used for selection, they are completely misunderstanding its premise. Remember, anyone can do anything. Sure, we have data showing which types tend to be attracted to which careers, but that doesn’t mean they will do better in a given career than other types.

I always encourage people to follow their dreams, even if they don’t see a lot of people like themselves in their occupation of choice. Sometimes when people feel like they are different from others in the group, they feel like they don’t belong. Hopefully, they can also realize that they each make a unique and valuable contribution. And a different perspective often brings new potential to an organization. If you can truly see yourself contributing…then you can.

Still, people will ask me why the MBTI tool should not be used for selection, so I tell them: The MBTI tool is just about our preferences; it does not tell us how well we do anything. Tools that might help us do that are trait-based tools. Traits are defined as enduring behaviorial habits, and when we measure them we try to see how much of a particular trait a person has compared to other people. Describing the MBTI® tool as a measure of a person’s traits is completely wrong. If someone tries to apply it that way, it will not work for them. Which direction?

Again, part of the MBTI tool is about helping us understand our S-N and T-F preferences for how we take in information and how we make decisions. That’s it. When we understand that, the instrument can be an invaluable part of life-long learning and development for the individual and a real asset for the team.

If you enjoyed this post, also check out a recent blog post by Jeff Hayes, President and CEO of CPP, Inc., which includes a response to a recent criticism about the MBTI assessment.


  1. No way-this would destroy everything the MBTI stands for!

    • Exactly. Thanks for the reply!

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