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I have a personality type as indicated by Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) of INTJ (introversion, intuition, thinking, judgment). This is one of the rarest personality types, occurring in only 1-2% of the population.

As Wikipedia puts it:

"Hallmarks of the INTJ include independence of thought and a desire for efficiency. They work best when given autonomy and creative freedom. They harbor an innate desire to express themselves by conceptualizing their own intellectual designs. They have a talent for analyzing and formulating complex theories. INTJs are generally well-suited for occupations within academia, research, consulting, management, science, engineering, and law."

I am applying for a job in a research post involving engineering, and I believe the above description 'sells' me well. Is advertising my specific personality type in my personal statement a good or bad thing? I worry that it may come across as too much snake oil and too little substance.

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    ANY personality type can be successful in ANY profession. Myers-briggs, or any other personality measurement, doesn't predict success. There is so much more behind performance than one's personal disposition. Sadly, some employers continue to attempt this kind of testing whenever HR decides its in fashion again. – teego1967 Mar 11 '15 at 14:27
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    possible duplicate of Should one put one's "Belbin team role" in the CV? – gnat Mar 11 '15 at 15:43
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    In case it matters, could you clarify whether you took a real, supervised assessment test or one of the many Internet quizzes floating around? – Monica Cellio Mar 11 '15 at 16:03
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    A number of the answers basically say "don't do it because this is pseudo-scientific nonsense". Though correct, that misses the point; your question was not "is this nonsense?" but "will the proposed tactic be effective in achieving my goals?" A huge and growing number of middle managers in American tech companies firmly believe in this pseudo-science; do you have evidence that the hiring managers at the firm in question are people like that? – Eric Lippert Mar 11 '15 at 18:18
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    Rather than mentioning something like this, I'd focus on concrete examples that align with these skills - that's going to get you a lot more of the right attention than what result you got on a quiz...and it won't fall out of favor. – Tim Mar 12 '15 at 19:23

15 Answers 15

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You shouldn't even bring it up.

I'd like to know how you "arrived" at being INTJ. Was it a self-administered online test? That holds about as much credibility as one of those "Get a degree based on your experience" diplomas that we all get emails for about 10 times per day. Unless a test is administered by a trained psych worker in a controlled environment, they don't mean anything. Ask a professional psychologist or psychiatrist about this, and they'll explain it to you (and then run, because they won't stop explaining it).

And look at it a bit objectively, too: Do you honestly believe you can "sort" the world's population into 16 personality types? Heck, hang out on Workplace for a couple of days and you will see there are many more than that right here. Also, if you read the ahem descriptions of each type on these websites, you will find that all of them are positive. What would be a "bad" MBTI type?

I'd leave it off, and I wouldn't bring it up unless asked, and I certainly wouldn't give the appearance of giving it any credence.

When I look at candidates, here's what I'm thinking:

  1. Will this person be a strong individual contributor? Do they have a history of this at previous positions or as a student?
  2. Will this person help others in our organization do more or better work?
  3. Will this person "consume" more in resources in training and managing them than the organization can afford? (I.E. they're "Self-starters," have or can develop a strong awareness of the context of the business, and a good work ethic, or are they going to take an hour of individual attention every day just to keep them on task?)
  4. Will this person come with or develop in a reasonable time frame the skills and knowledge necessary to do this job?
  5. Does this person seem to be trustworthy and act with integrity? (Thank you, @Roger)
  6. Is this person someone I and other management would feel comfortable representing our organization to customers and vendors?
  7. Will this person accept the financial offer I am authorized to make?

You show up to an interview with me with all 7 of those questions covered, and you're on the short list of candidates.

  • Thanks for the advice and I appreciate the insights. While I don't agree that these tests, even self-administered, would completely lack credibility if I answered the question honestly, and indeed there are research into MBTI validity with opposite conclusions. However, I agree with you that categorising people into 16 categories is crude. As all tests are just crude measures; there is no way to form a correct model to assess people. However, this does not mean that some measures can describe some individuals very well since they just happen to fall in the 'centre' of these measures. – Mobius Pizza Mar 12 '15 at 11:05
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    This is a fantastic summary of what should be considered when making a hire. It seems a shame to limit its visibility only to this question. The only thing that I would add is "does this person seem to be trustworthy and act with integrity?" – Roger Mar 12 '15 at 15:21
  • @Roger - Thank you. In my mind, your point is covered in #5, but there is certainly nothing wrong with making it an explicit question on its own. I'll edit for that. – Wesley Long Mar 12 '15 at 15:30
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I would advise against it for two reasons:

  1. The MBTI is not considered to be scientifically valid. Here's one link with a brief synopsis of its history and issues. There are many, many more out there.

  2. Why limit yourself by giving people preconceived notions of your personality by assigning you to a group? If you want to highlight your talents for analysis, etc., do so by crafting your resume and cover letter to reflect those talents by showcasing specific work that you've done or things that you have studied.

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    I think your second point deserves extra attention - review committees are typically interested in what you have achieved, not what you want to achieve, or are theoretically capable of achieving. – thomij Mar 11 '15 at 17:27
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    Academics will be quick to criticize MBTI, perhaps you should connect the dots with the potential to undermine the credibility of the applicant. Plus one for being most correct. – Aaron Hall Mar 11 '15 at 21:03
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    Aaron, I agree with your comment. Unfortunately the rest of the population isn't so clued in about MBTI. – Roger Mar 11 '15 at 22:20
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    Maybe the reason INTJ is only recorded at 1-2% of the population by Myers-Briggs testers is that INTJs are predisposed to think Myers-Briggs is bunk ;-) – Steve Jessop Mar 12 '15 at 5:39
  • honestly, no. in fact, I would laugh about it and see it as a red flag. – scord Mar 12 '15 at 23:33
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Since I am applying for a job in a research post involving engineering, and I believe the above description 'sells' me well. Is 'advertising' my specific personality in my personal statement a good or bad thing? I worry that it may come across as too much sanke oil and too little substance.

You are right to worry.

Unless you know for sure that the target prospective employer specifically values such test results, you should not indicate your Myers-Briggs results on a personal statement, cover letter, or resume.

As you have indicated, many will consider it to be of little substance at best and snake oil at worst.

As a hiring manager, seeing that you apparently believe in the importance of such personality tests would be a negative for me. Other hiring managers may view it differently, but why bother risking that result?

Similarly, you should not include your sign of the zodiac, your IQ, the results of a recent "love quiz", the number of pushups you can do, etc, etc.

Find other ways to express your talent in your cover letter, resume, and most importantly - in your interviews. Describe yourself using whatever terms you think apply (including the same terms that your MBTI testing results suggest, if you like). Just be prepared to back up your assertions by other means.

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    Yea, I routinely score 'INTJ' on these tests as well. One potential employer made me take an MBTI near the end of an interview process -- cost me the job, as it was apparent they were screening out all of the 'Introverted' types. – James Adam Mar 11 '15 at 14:29
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    @JamesAdam: A clear waste of everyone's time. Much better to simply put "extroverted personality required" in the job posting. – Ben Voigt Mar 11 '15 at 16:17
  • While I wouldn't put my IQ on my resume, I also wouldn't lump IQ in the same category as MBTI: flume.com.br/pdf/Scmidt_The_validity_and_utility.pdf – Aaron Hall Mar 11 '15 at 21:08
  • Thanks. Why would IQ be bad though, since it is a valid aptitude measure used in psychometrics? – Mobius Pizza Mar 12 '15 at 10:53
  • @JoeStrazzere I thik that IQ is actually a very valid and objective item to include in the event that you have been recently tested. While I wouldn't take any credence from a 'online quiz' iq test, I would say all proper IQ tests are of roughly equal validity ( as well as pretty much all completely accepted by all professionals in that particular field.) In the event that you happen to be a member of MENSA, I think that would be a excellent thing to put on a resume. Source: I happen to have a mentally handicapped daughter, therefore I did a metric crap-ton of research into this. – Damian Nikodem Mar 12 '15 at 11:45
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When pitching yourself to a company, it is certainly worth explaining why your personality would be a good fit for the position. However, focus on yourself and your experiences, not on the results of the test. If you think it's important to specifically say "I'm an INTJ", then use real-life examples to support that conclusion. Don't just say "I'm an INTJ because this test told me so!"

It's great to understand who you are, how you work, and why that is good for the company. You just need to be sure to express that in a way that is relevant to your audience. The Meyers-Briggs test is a good tool to help you understand yourself, but it means nothing to anyone else without information to back it up.

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    Yes, completing a personality test does not reveal whether you will be able to deploy those qualities in real life situations. Better to take an evidential approach and give examples of how you exercise these gifts. – EleventhDoctor Mar 11 '15 at 14:15
  • Thanks for the sound advice. I tried to put as much evidence as I could in my personal statement already but sometime I thought it sounded self-centric and arrogant. I think I am just really bad at talking about myself and writing personal statements in general. – Mobius Pizza Mar 12 '15 at 10:58
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I personally greatly benefited from the insights I obtained from taking the MB test several years ago. I think MB is helpful in gaining self understanding, and the more honest you are in answering the questions to more helpful it becomes. I think MB is a great tool when used correctly.

I would not, under any circumstances, bring your MB score up in any sort of job application.

First off, while INTJ is said to be 2% of the population I have noticed that about 80% of people who know about MB will claim to be INTJ or ENTJ. Because they think that's where the cool kids live.

Take the MB once and it's really simple to game the test so as to put you in any one of the 16 boxes the next time you take it.

The MB is not like an A+ certification or a PhD in Rocket Science.

  • Yes, like 90% of the population rate themselves 'above-average' in any questioned criterion. – gbjbaanb Mar 12 '15 at 16:02
  • Your personal observations may in fact be valid for the environment you work in and still have the 2% number be accurate for the general population. My company held an "Effective Communications" training course which had 20 engineers in it. They had us take a Myers-Briggs test. Results, 3 INTPs and 6 INTJs (statistically should have only been 1 out of the 20). Plus there were 4 ENTJs. Definitely not even remotely close to the general population statistically. The person doing the training says that only happens when she's teaching a bunch of engineers, never sees an INTP that isn't an engineer – Dunk Mar 12 '15 at 17:00
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The measurement tool you mention doesn't matter. That's indirect. Mention instead, the things you accomplished, that the measuring stick is implying.

You must have a list of things that those personality attributes, helped you do/accomplish.

people whose attributes might lead them to pianos, would talk about piano things they did.

You should do the same.

Assuming you want to sell optimally, i.e. have the other person decide he needs what you're offering.

If the goal is to sell with some formula, with no regard for outcome (i.e. it doesn't matter how others process the information you're pitching)...then it doesn't matter how you pitch..because you're pitching for your own goals, not the goals of others.

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1) The internet is full of self-diagnosed INTJ's (myself included). It may be 1-2% when the test is administered correctly, but taking the test on the internet seems to end with dishonesty to onesself.

2) Whether it's 1%, 2% or 10% of people are INTJ, that means 90-99% of people are not (and without stereotyping too much, I would say that INTJs do not tend to go into HR). Resumes are about giving people no reason to throw your resume in the bin (not about giving them a reason to hire you). Do not point out to 90%+ of people that you are different from them.

3) As others have mentioned, B-M are slightly more useful than star signs. Some people will throw your resume in the bin if you take them too seriously.

4) If you are applying for a job in STEM etc, you can guarantee all the serious competition will be highly logical etc.

5) I don't think most of the world would pick management or law as thigns that INTJ are good at. They may be scientifically wrong, but that still doesn't help you get the job.

  • Hm I would not necessary think being 'different' is disadvantageous or attract alienation. Everyone is different in some sense and it is an employer's interest to utilise individual's different strengths. I thought team building it is important to get a mix of people with different skills and personalities so the team is more well rounded. I agree with all other points though! – Mobius Pizza Mar 12 '15 at 11:11
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If I were in your position, I would not list my MBTI type on my resume. If I were the employer and I got that resume, my first thought would be "this person has chosen to define themselves by putting themselves in a box." MBTI is simply a preference test; you can act like any other personality you please at any time. It just may not be as natural. Seeing someone declare their MBTI type is an announcement to me "I am uninterested in filling any role done by one of the other 15 boxes. I'm proud of my box, and I'm going to stick to it!"

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Many 'tests' like this indicate preferences, rather than levels.

For example, lets say that I have taken a survey that indicates that I like physical activities that involve working with others. Does that make a valid reason for me to be recruited as a basketball player? I may even state that I enjoy basketball, but the level of talent in physically performing the act is unrelated to the preference.

In a similar manner, many of these personality indicators are tools for thinking about how we interact with others, how we prefer to work, and how we can learn to appreciate that not everybody processes information in the same manner.

Interviewing- Situation- Tactic- Action- Results (STARS, one of the current buzzwords...) Where have you demonstrated the ability to solve problems. Explain a time when you had to work with a difficult person. Explain a situation where you had to make a decision without all of the required information. Make sure your resume indicates positions of responsibility. Things to get the resume through the filters.

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(Although this post is old, its still active)

I disagree with above comments that companies don't care about your MBTI results, so I would take it off your resume. It could help you, or it could hurt you depending on the company.

According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 13% of US employers utilize personality assessments; 10,000 employees, 2,500 colleges, and 200 federal agencies use the well-known Myers-Briggs test. Companies that use these types of assessments include McKinsey & Company, the CIA, the Department of State, and 89 of the Fortune 100 companies.

The personality assessment industry is thriving – Myers-Briggs generates $20 million per year in revenue; other companies that specialize in this area include Criteria, Wonderlic, and Humanmetrics.

These tests are used by the employers for a number of reasons. They are commonly used to evaluate job candidates to find the best fit for the opportunity. Screening, interviewing, and hiring applicants can be a difficult and resource-heavy process.

Employers have access to relatively little information on candidates, and typically spend only a few hours with them before making offers. Any additional information on potential employees can help in the decision making process. Employers may also assess current employees, so they can support their individual strengths and create effective teams.

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    This answer would benefit from some links and a few linebreaks, but otherwise it sounds like it would be a great answer. Welcome to the site :) – Erik Jul 6 '17 at 20:38
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I'll take a different tack in answering this question: everybody tries to "show themselves off" to the hiring company... they want the hiring company to know them well enough to decide that they are the right person for the job.

It's a strategy designed to make you just like everyone else... you won't stand out no matter how different your resume reads about who you think you are, or what you've done for someone else.

You'll be much better off if, instead of focusing on who you think you are, show them who you think they are, and what they need. The more you know about the company and about what you can do for them, you almost make it impossible for anyone else who is trying to show themselves off to compete with you.

This requires research and understanding, perhaps even talking to someone or several people who already work at the company, not something everyone is prepared to do, but if you can't do that then perhaps you don't deserve the description you've adopted for yourself.

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If I were you, I'd include it only in case I want to work in a company which values such things and if I believed in it.

Why?

What you include in your CV and how you include it tells much about your values.

My company (not my own, the company I work for) always begins with evaluation how well are the candidate's values aligned with the company's, even before checking skills and experience. Since we believe that every single employee is responsible for the company image and its success, we certainly want to avoid some patterns that may harm the company's image or performance.

In our case, icluding your MBTI result may be understood like 'not selling the product but the rather air around it', and corresponding hypothetical 'alignment points' will be added or subtracted.

We've had people who tried to please us with their application only to find out later (and to great expense to both parties) that it didn't work out.

I believe, that the best thing is to work for the company with same values as I have, and we want our candidates' my application and CV in particular to make clear what their values are.

The silver bullet in this case is not whether or not to include some information, but to be as honest as possible to get the best match for you (and yes, lying in CV is a certain type of honesty, too, since there are many companies out there which value just that).

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The answers so far seem to all be negative.

My experience is that all organisations I've worked for so far used some personality test hocus-pocus and the management promoted it. We were expected to incorporate it into our work (for example when working with clients) too. Yes, there were always discussions like: "They don't like each other because he's an innovator and he's a supporter".

Did I find it good? Absolutely not. But the question is not about our personal feelings about Briggs-Myers and similar, is it? It's about sharing the information about one's "type" during the application process.

I wouldn't include the information in the application documents since they go to different people and many of them wouldn't be familiar with Myers-Briggs.

I would possibly mention that during the interviews if I have the feeling I'm talking to people who are into that (F types mainly? sic!). But I wouldn't mention it as something to be proud of. It's not an accomplishment.

Instead, I would treat it as something that tells people about my preferred way of communication and interacting with the world (fact-based, strategic). Whether your preferred way of communication and interacting with the world should be a topic during your interview process depends on your country and industry. I know in IT it's less the case, but in my reality that's a huge topic during interviews.

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It would be inadvisable to bring up such a topic for several reasons.

For most people it may seem pseudo-scientific and a bit weird.

People in HR will not like it, because they have an anti-testing cult due to EEOC brainwashing. Any mention of IQ tests, standardized tests, personality tests, or anything else like that typically will trigger a negative reaction from HR. Of course, they do not make the hiring decision, but nevertheless it is unwise to alienate them.

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    I'm curious if you have sources for these claims about HR attitudes toward tests, or if it's from personal experience. The HR people where I work certainly seem to like tests. – DCShannon Mar 12 '15 at 1:46
  • @DCShannon No doubt your company is the exception, but I have had multiple HR types tell me (incorrectly) that testing employees is "illegal". The EEOC regularly sends scary "reminders" to companies basically equating testing with discrimination. Even the largest cognitive testing companies only have a few thousand active clients. – Socrates Mar 12 '15 at 1:56
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    It probably varies geographically. In the UK there's a strong HR testing culture. Many HR's qualify to administer psychometric tests of various kinds. I've certainly been tested in companies I've worked in and see many large organisations doing the same. Thought it may seem likely, not everyone asking questions is in the USA and so generalising may be dangerous. I know that there was a time when a European Country was notorious as a place where employers used handwriting analysis on job applications. – Francis Davey Mar 12 '15 at 7:23
  • @FrancisDavey I believe it's standard practice in some continental European countries for a CV to include a photo! – AakashM Mar 12 '15 at 9:48
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As an employee who recently went through the test and who received coaching from our VP of People let me add arguments to support why you should add a reference to any recognized tests (DISC included) that you took through an accredited institution.

For many of us, we are living in a world where most of our time at work is spent communicating with people and executing tasks. MB test is a rather blunt tool but it is effective at answering a key questions:

  1. [E/I] Inward or outward focused? -> Draws energy from others or when on their own
  2. [S/N] How does the candidate takes in information? -> Prefers concepts or preciseness
  3. [T/F] How does the candidate prefer to make decision? -> Using facts or personal values
  4. [J/P] How does the candidate view his/her outer life? -> Detailed and strict or open and flexible

Facts

  1. E/I personality types are not a measure of whether the candidate is good at communicating with others, it is simply put the way that this employee can draw energy and it matters a lot since every job puts employees in different networks.
  2. None of the types is wrong for a given job (skill wise) but it may be wrong for a given team. HR should encourage managers to build a diverse team and help them work out how to best make people work together.

Good HR people won't discriminate here, they will value this information as it helps them do their job easier later on once you are onboard, it shows how committed you are to teamwork and understand the complexity of human communication.

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