Personality tests range from the fun quizzes we do on social media to the advanced personality tests we do before being hired, commonly called the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) test. The hiring process can be lengthy and expensive, especially if the person hired doesn’t work out. Some companies today are looking for a “sure thing” and rely on the MBTI test to give them information they feel will help them secure that right person for their position, above and beyond the resume and/or interview process.
The question is, “Does that personality test really give you insight into how that person will perform at work?”
The answer is a resounding, no. Personality tests are designed to tell whether a person is more prone to certain psychological functions. In the MBTI test, there are four functions. One of the four functions (sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking) is dominate, while the other three have tendencies, but do not rise to the top. In actuality, the dominant function only represents how the person perceives their current situation based on past experiences.
The accuracy of the MBTI depends on honest self-reporting by the person tested. If a person feels they are going to lose something, then they have a tendency to answer based on “social acceptance” which flaws the outcome of the results.
Additionally, personality tests do little in predicting how a person will perform in their job. Focusing solely on personality scores without addressing personal skills is a recipe for disaster. The MBTI test does not tell you about a person’s interpersonal skills; both a very important and needed area to address prior to making any hiring decisions.
Many managers use the MBTI test to make the “final decision,” trying to make the hiring process black and white. The hiring process is an intricate process composed of many factors and while the MBTI test can be a component in that design, it will not guarantee you are hiring the best candidate and should not carry much weight in the hiring decision.
Remember that looking good on paper (resume and MBTI test, even skills assessments) might not be the answer either, on their own. After looking at all the factors, determining a successful hire should be based on how you feel that person will fit in with the company culture, meet most of the critical factors and ultimately perform within your company.