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Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test – A Detailed Guide

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test – A Detailed Guide

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Next time you’re vying for a highly competitive job role, you might be asked to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test.

According to the Consulting Psychologists Press (CPP), the exclusive publisher of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, a staggering 80% of Fortune 500 companies and 89% of Fortune 100 organizations use the test. These top-rated employers are looking to find people who not only have the technical skills for a role but the right personality too.

Employers want to know whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, a thinker or feeler, judging or perceptive. After all, too many people from one personality type (of which there are 16) could make for a dysfunctional workplace.

What Is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test is a personality assessment test that employers use as part of their candidate screening process, and it has a rich history.

Speaking in more technical terms, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) instrument is an introspective self-report assessment. It asks the person taking it, usually an existing or potential employee, a series of questions on how they perceive situations and make decisions.

The majority of research supporting the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test has been carried out by the Center for Applications of Psychology Type, run by the Myers-Briggs Foundation.

You may be wondering where the unusual Myers-Briggs test name comes from. The original versions of the MBTI were created by Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers.

Briggs started her research into different personality types in 1917 and went on to create a typology that further developed Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s original psychology types. A couple of years later, her daughter Isabel took over the research process.

The duo published their first Myers-Briggs Type Indicator handbook in 1944, and by the end of World War II, had amassed quite a following.

In 1962, after receiving further support from several high-profile professors, the MBTI was published by the CPP and the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT) was founded.

In 1987, an advanced scoring system was developed for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It had four separate categories, which remain today:

  • Introversion (I) or Extraversion (E)
  • Sensing (S) or Intuition (I)
  • Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
  • Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

After taking the Myers-Briggs personality test, you are presented with a test result of four letters, made up of one letter from each category. For instance, you might be ‘ENTJ’ or ‘ISTP’.

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Uses of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test

The world has advanced a lot since the 1980s. Today, there are four different forms of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test:

  • Form M – This is the standard Myers-Briggs test and by far the most frequent one used by employers to sift candidates. It is scored using the four-letter types detailed above and is administered online through the official publisher, The Myers-Briggs Company. Candidates must answer 93 questions to reveal their personality type.

  • Form M (self-scoring) – The self-scoring Myers-Briggs test is also based on the four-letter personality type. The main difference is that it is hand-scored by the person taking the test or the employer.

  • Step II – Form Q – This is a more in-depth version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test often used by Fortune 500 company employers. You will be expected to answer 144 questions rather than 93. You’ll still be given a four-letter personality type, but there are five facets within each of the four primary categories that highlight exactly where you sit within that personality type. This test is also frequently used in training, counseling and executive-level development.

  • Step III – This is the most advanced Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, created to increase a person’s awareness of how and why they make certain life choices. The intention is not to criticize an employee but to highlight how they could become more effective by ‘leaning into’ their natural personality type. It is often used to help people become better, more insightful leaders and can help employees overcome workplace challenges and develop key competencies.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Explained

You may have heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator being described as the ‘16 personalities test’. There is a direct correlation between the two since the 16 personalities test used by employers is based on Myers-Briggs types.

If you’re asked to take the 16 personalities test, you’ll be assessed against the four Myers-Briggs categories listed above.

Rather than receiving just a four-letter personality type, the 16 personalities test has an added dimension. Additional scoring determines whether you’re an ‘assertive’ or ‘turbulent’ personality.

This type of Myers-Briggs personality test is free to take on the 16Personalities website.

The 16 types are put into four groups:

Analysts

  • Architect (INTJ-A or INTJ-T) – Creative and strategic people with a detailed plan
  • Logician (INTP-A or INTP-T) – Novel inventors with an insatiable appetite for knowledge
  • Commander (ENTJ-A or ENTJ-T) – Imaginative, strong-willed leaders who always make things happen
  • Debater (ENTP-A or ENTP-T) – Curious thinkers who love an intellectual challenge

Diplomats

  • Advocate (INFJ-A or INFJ-T) – Quiet yet inspired and tirelessly idealistic
  • Mediator (INFP-A or INFP-T) – Kind, altruistic and always seeking to help others
  • Protagonist (ENFJ-A or ENFJ-T) – Full of charisma and inspiring to others
  • Campaigner (ENFP-A or ENFP-T) – Free-spirited, creative and social
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test – A Detailed Guide
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test – A Detailed Guide

Sentinels

  • Logistician (ISTJ-A or ISTJ-T) – Practical, fact-based people whose reliability is trusted by others
  • Defender (ISFJ-A or ISFJ-T) – Dedicated and warm to others, always ready to defend those around them
  • Executive (ESTJ-A or ESTJ-T) – Brilliant administrators that cannot be beaten on managing people or projects
  • Consul (ESFJ-A or ESFJ-T) – Social, popular people with a big heart who are always willing to help

Explorers

  • Virtuoso (ISTP-A or ISTP-T) – Strong, practical experimenters with untold technical skills
  • Adventurer (ISFP-A or ISFP-T) – Artistic, charming and always ready to explore (restless)
  • Entrepreneur (ESTP-A or ESTP-T) – Clever, perceptive risk-takers
  • Entertainer (ESTP-A or ESFP-T) – Random, energetic, enthusiastic and entertaining

So how does an employer use this type of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test to select you for an interview or promotion?

It all depends on the current make-up of the existing team. They will already know the balance of the 16 personality types they currently have within their team and will be looking for a specific personality type.

For instance, they may already have several Logisticians who are very practically minded but need an Explorer to bring new, more impulsive ideas to the table.

Of course, whether a person is an ‘A’ type (assertive) or ‘T’ type (turbulent) personality will also influence an employer’s decision. If you are assertive, you will be calm and relaxed, whereas someone who is more turbulent will be somewhat of a perfectionist and constantly hold themselves to account.

Both traits can be useful to an employer, but ultimately it all depends on whom they are looking to hire and whether they see you as a good fit for the team.

The rarest personality type is an INFJ, the Advocate. People with an INFJ personality tend to be introverted, so they stay within their own heads quite a bit. Other traits are:

  • They quietly get on with the job in hand
  • They are incredibly intuitive, so they take information from observed patterns and make decisions based on feelings (values)
  • They are very judging, so when they have a plan, they keep to it
  • They are quite the draw for employers because they are real ‘doers’
  • As empaths, they have strong interpersonal skills, so they are aware of other team members and are natural protectors

What Is the Myers-Briggs Test Format?

Every Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test will follow a similar format. You’ll be asked a set series of statements about:

  • How you solve problems
  • How you interact with others
  • How you prefer to work
  • What interests you

There are no right or wrong answers.

Quite simply, you mark your answer based on how well you feel the statement refers to you by using a sliding ‘Agree or Disagree’ scale, as shown in these example Myers-Briggs test questions taken from the 16 personalities test:

Some of the free Myers-Briggs Type Indicator tests do not take very long at all – usually just 15 minutes or so. However, a standard Myers-Briggs personality test used by employers takes half an hour to complete, but there is no time limit.

Some people may whiz through the statements, confident of their answers whereas others may need a bit more time to think. After all, many of the questions are designed to take a deep dive into your personality.

Where Can You Take the Myers-Briggs Personality Test?

You can take the Myers-Briggs personality test on the official Myers-Briggs test website. Once there, you can either take the Myers-Briggs test for yourself (so that you can discuss your personality type at the interview), or an employer may have sent you a link from their account.

There is a fee involved for taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test: $49.95 for an individual.

However, the 16 personalities test, as detailed above, is free to take.

How Reliable Is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test?

With any type of psychometric or personality test, there are always going to be differences of opinion on how valid the results are.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is no exception. Over the years, it has received a great deal of interest from scientists attempting to either prove or disprove its worth. This is because neither of its creators – Katherine, or her daughter Isabel – were formally trained in psychology.

However, the Myers-Briggs company website claims to have a 90% accuracy rating and test–retest correlation.

The important thing to remember is that it is not designed to give you all the answers. The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Test is to provide insight and clarity so that people (employees and employers included) can understand how to maximize their strengths.

Final Thoughts

If you’re invited to take a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, you’ll want to grasp the opportunity. You don’t often get the chance to look within yourself to discover where your personality sits on a world-renowned Jungian type index.

As a result, you’ll gain an increased level of self-understanding as well as an appreciation for the type of team you’ll work well within. You may even ‘see’ yourself for the first time, which can be an incredibly enlightening experience.

What’s more, we don’t tend to change our personality type, so when you next go to an interview, you’ll be able to talk fluently about all your positive traits!

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