Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Limits of MBTI

However, this argument is mistaken, because the imperative against using the MBTI in recruitment is not based on sentiment, but on business need. Using the MBTI in executive recruitment is not providing a premium service. On the contrary, it can lead to poor or even disastrous recruitment decisions, for three main reasons:

* the lack of faking scale
* the lack of predictive validity, and
* the lack of distinction between preference and competence.

Whilst the MBTI questionnaire can be used for some applications that don't require these things (eg: personal development, team building, career counselling), it is not appropriate for those contexts that do (ie executive recruitment).



Anonymous said...

As a recruiter I think MBTI can be used as a tool in the recruitment process. There are times when it could be most helpful. I personally reported to a horrendous ISTP HR Manager who wasn't worth the bullet to take her out. Scored a 0 on the feeling portion of the test. Should never have been in an HR Manager role. Could have been a hit man for the mob.

Glaucus said...

I don't think much of the tests. They are not very well thought up in many cases. They can be faked. I would rely on my Perception more and it is getting better with practice.

Bad luck with the Grizzly Bear. She should behind Door 101.

MartinF said...

Anonymous: your ISTP example surely shows why MBTI can't and shouldn't be used for recruitment. One cannot say 'All ISTPs are useless as HR Managers'. OK, they may be an unusual type in HR but that doesn't mean a priori that they can't do the job. As Glaucus says, MBTI doesn't distinguish between preference and competence. That's not a failure of MBTI, it never set out to measure competences, and there are plenty of other ways of getting at them.

If you reckon an MBTI score of 0 for F is a disqualification, that again looks like you are taking scores as ability-measures. They aren't: they reflect the degree of clarity with which the person has flagged up a preference. My daughter scored 0 on S (admittedly she already knew what MBTI was about and was dead sure she was N (so were we her parents, both of us Ns ourselves!). So prior knowledge may have loaded her answers. But her nil score on S doesn't mean she's completely useless at details. So you can't take your manager's score as any evidence that your manager doesn't 'do Feeling' at all. [OK, other evidence may point that way... :-)]

And again as Glaucus says, there's the risk of faking scores. This also connects with the MBTI principle that scores mean nothing in themselves: they are just an aid to the practitioner in helping each person doing the Indicator to recognize their own type. It doesn't matter if you scored 0 on one letter: if you're sure that letter is yours then that's the decider, not the scores! OK, I agree it's highly unlikely that a properly completed form would give a zero score for a 'true' preference, but remember for example that some people are strongly driven by their family or job to 'be' something that isn't really them, which can strongly bias the completed Indicator. When it comes down to it, proper practitioner feedback is the key, which is why IMHO online 'tests' (often so called) are dodgy in the extreme. It is also why, I suspect, so many online people claim their type has changed, i.e. they didn't get it right first time. And maybe they didn't get it right THIS time either if they've never had proper one-to-one feedback!

Glaucus said...

Using the Perseus 384 System, a TSIP could very well rejected outright. TS = Tyrant.

Anonymous said...

Note to both of you... I only said TOOL! I did not say it should be used as a sole decision maker in the recruitment process. If I had been the one to interview said HR Manager, my perception of her totally null and void personality coupled with her test scores would have shown her to be the zombie that she later turned out to be...(Of course I would never have recommended her for hire!) But I am a perceptive ENFP who picks up on things without a test to validate my suspicions. I was merely making the statement that the MBTI can add some additional backup to the hiring process in many cases. And by damn I wish our CEO was an ENTJ and not an ISTJ. Sometimes these things are worth knowing.

Glaucus said...

Dogma is foreign to my personality. Access to tools is my resource need.

I think I mention this if I get the job interview.