The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is probably the most widely used personality test in the world…An estimated 2 million people take it annually, at the behest of corporate HR departments, colleges, and even government agencies. The company that makes and markets the test makes somewhere around $20 million each year.
The only problem? The test is completely meaningless.
“There’s just no evidence behind it,” says Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania who’s written about the shortcomings of the Myers-Briggs previously. “The characteristics measured by the test have almost no predictive power on how happy you’ll be in a situation, how you’ll perform at your job, or how happy you’ll be in your marriage.”
The test claims that, based on 93 questions, it can group all the people of the world into 16 different discrete “types” — and in doing so, serve as “a powerful framework for building better relationships, driving positive change, harnessing innovation, and achieving excellence.” Most of the faithful think of it primarily as a tool for telling you your proper career choice.
But the test was developed in the 1940s based off the untested theories of an outdated analytical psychologist named Carl Jung, and is now thoroughly disregarded by the psychology community. Even Jung warned that his personality “types” were just rough tendencies he’d observed, rather than strict classifications. Several analyses have shown the test is totally ineffective at predicting people’s success in various jobs, and that about half of the people who take it twice get different results each time.
Yet you’ve probably heard people telling you that they’re an ENFJ (extraverted intuitive feeling judging), an INTP (introverted intuitive thinking perceiving), or another one of the 16 types drawn from his work, and you may have even been given this test in a professional setting.
RTFA. It goes through the stereotypes, explains why these labels are meaningless — and why no one in the 21st century should rely on the test for anything.
I had fun with the test before I moved to the Southwest. Interested in a job with a dynamic high tech startup, I applied to see what they might offer – and ran into this test. The HR dude was in love with its self-fulfilling prophecies. After all, if you tell people how to define their lives and lifestyle long enough and thoroughly enough – and they follow your so-called wisdom – then, results become appropriate. Even if they’re nothing more than imitation.
I drove him nuts answering segments of the test with two completely contradictory personality styles. He was dying to hire me; but, was equally afraid I might turn out to be an axe murderer.
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
They arrived expecting to be quizzed on the financial expertise they would bring to a role at one of the world’s most prestigious investment banks.
Instead, applicants interviewing for a job at Goldman Sachs were asked: “If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?”
The question has been ranked as the oddest posed at a corporate job interview in the US last year. It topped a list that could prompt many jobseekers to break into a cold sweat.
Google, the internet giant, which has established a reputation for pitching its job interviews in the left field, asked some applicants: “How many basketballs can you fit in this room..?”
Volkswagen, the car manufacturer meanwhile asked: “What would you do if you inherit a pizzeria from your uncle?”
Laura DeCarlo, the head of Career Directors International, said that employers used the questions to discover which candidates were “creative under pressure”.
“There might not even be a correct or realistic answer, but they want to see you develop a step-by-step response – and discover how easily you will quit,” she said.
I hate questions like this. Almost as much as that special bane of common sense – repeat interviews from HR directors who think multiple interviews will save them from hiring a maniac by mistake.
It’s fun playing them.
“OK. We’ll get back to the important stuff, next week”
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
The Justice Department has reached an agreement with six major Silicon Valley companies to settle allegations that they colluded to stifle competition for employees by restricting the way they could poach workers from each other.
The settlement, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia late Friday, names Google, Apple, Intel, Adobe Systems, Intuit and Walt Disney Corp.’s Pixar Animation Studios.
The Justice Department had been investigating whether the companies pledged not to use “cold calls” to recruit each other’s employees, as part of partnership agreements. The government was concerned that such promises amounted to a form of collusion to avoid bidding wars for employees with specialized skills, and in turn hold down payroll expenses.
These agreements, the Justice Department said, “eliminated a significant form of competition to attract highly skilled employees,” depriving employees of access to better job opportunities…
Amy Lambert, Google’s associate general counsel for employment, said in a blog post Friday that the company does not believe its “no cold call” policies hindered hiring or affected wages, and noted that Google hired hundreds of employees from partner companies named by the Justice Department even while these policies were in place.
Google nonetheless abandoned the policy in late 2009 once the Justice Department began its investigation, she said.
Everyone else said pretty much the same thing – or nothing.
“I’m not wanted in this state.”
“How many young women work here?”
“I didn’t steal it; I just borrowed it.”
“You touch somebody and they call it sexual harassment!”
Believe it or not, the above statements weren’t overhead in bars or random conversations — they were said in job interviews…
We asked hiring managers to share the craziest things they’ve heard from applicants in an interview. Some are laugh-out-loud hysterical, others are jaw dropping — the majority are both. To be sure, they will relieve anyone who has ever said something unfortunate at a job interview — and simply amuse the rest of you.
“I have a problem with authority.” – Carrie Rocha, COO of HousingLink
“If I get an offer, how long do I have before I have to take the drug test?” – Bolzan
“When you do background checks on candidates, do things like public drunkenness arrests come up?” – Bolzan
“I was fired from my last job because they were forcing me to attend anger management classes.” – Smith
“You should probably know I mud wrestle on the weekends.” – Venne
Wander through the list. You may find yourself in there.