The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI is one of the most respected and used personality tests in the world. With estimates showing that between 2 and 3 million people take the test every year, and 89 Fortune 100 companies use it, MBTI is undoubtedly the standard when it comes to personality tests. While any veteran interviewer is likely accustomed to taking MBTI and other assessments. But most never take what they learn home, and certainly never bring it to new interviews.
The thing is, MBTI assessments are used to help recruiters determine who you are. They help recruiters identify strengths and weaknesses, figure out your communication style, and figure out how you like to work. Understanding what recruiters are looking at, what they see when you go through an assessment, and how they are likely to respond that can help you nail interviews, and in more ways than you might think.
How Personality Types Influence Your Interview Performance
Myers-Briggs uses 16 personality types to explain if you are extroverted, introverted, and how you outwardly communicate. Depending on your results, your interview performance could be viewed in different lights.
For example, extroverted persons are expected to be more outgoing, more comfortable in social settings, and have a broader social comfort range. So, taking an MBTI assessment can positively impact your interviewer’s perception of your communication because they understand it.
On your end, understanding your MBTI can help you to notice and account for blind spots. Are you extroverted and outgoing? You might find yourself saying too much and over sharing. Introverted? You might be coming off as shy, cold, or unlikeable.
Data shows that likeability factors track to extroversion and emotional stability, meaning you can work to be extroverted, calm, and stable during interviews to increase likeability and first impressions. While your interviewer is expected to look beyond those first impressions, knowing what those first impressions are will help you immensely.
Understanding Your Strengths
Your MBTI will tell you what your strengths and weaknesses likely are. This can give you much-needed insight into your own personality traits, and from the perspective of HR. Most people don’t think of themselves as “Confident, analytical, and ambitious”, but if you happen to be an INTJ, that’s what MBTI describes your personality type as.
- How do you recognize these strengths in yourself?
- How do these strengths benefit the role? The recruiter is aware of how strengths benefit their roles, but it’s always a good idea to discuss it with them. “I’m analytical, which means I’m good at X and Y, demonstrated by my experience in …”
- Where have you demonstrated those strengths?
MBTI gives an overview of average personality traits, it doesn’t go “Every person of this type has these traits”. This means you can review traits, highlight strengths you do have, discuss them in ways that make sense for the role, and back them up with evidence. Why? You’ll reinforce the positive traits the recruiter is looking at in your assessment results, without really making bold claims that you can’t back up. This will make you look very good for HR.
Discussing Your Weaknesses
Every personality type has its own weaknesses. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with those weaknesses, especially in terms of how they connect to your role. If you’re introverted, most people will assume you’re not a good fit for a sales role. Poor communication skills stand out. Review the “weaknesses” in your MBTI results and learn to talk about them. Figure out how and if they apply to you. Discuss how you account for those weaknesses, what you do to improve, and why those weaknesses might not be “weaknesses”.
What’s a good example of that? If you were to go back to INTJ, you’d see weaknesses like “Judgmental”, “Critical”, “highly independent”, “overly analytical”, “Dislikes rules”, etc. Most of these can be discussed in a positive light, while acknowledging that they are weaknesses and you have to compensate. That conversation might look like:
“I have a tendency to be a perfectionist and that can work against me in teams, because nothing ever feels good enough. Mostly I make that work by getting to know my teammates so that I trust their work, quality of work, and that they’ll deliver. Viewing projects as a collaborative project, even if I get to work by myself sometimes, can help me to excel as well, so it’s something that I’ve tried to embrace more and more since I became aware of it.”
Discussing your weaknesses shows that you’re self-aware, cognizant of how you fit into teams, and willing to take steps to compensate or to improve.
Understanding Why MBTI Says You Might Fit into a Role
Most recruiters will be impressed if you walk into an interview with a strong understanding of your MBTI. This might backfire if you take the assessment and get a different result (MBTI assessments yield the same results 75-90% of the time) but will give you grounds to openly discuss points like:
- “How does my communication style fit into that of the team”
- What are the leaders like? Do they compliment my work and communication style? Or clash?
- These personality traits might not seem like they fit into this role, but actually they do, here’s how I’ve succeeded in the past
- These personality traits have caused me trouble in the past, how will those fit into this role?
The Myers-Briggs Foundation states that no Type is intrinsically suited or unsuited for a particular role or job. It does offer recommendations for “best-fit” roles for personality types but shares that these are loose structures. No one should ever be denied or given a role because of their MBTI type, and if you feel your recruiter is planning to use it for decision-making, you should discuss that.
At the same time, MBTI can be a valuable way to gauge personality, individual approach, and work or communication personality, which you can discuss and communicate to directly talk about anything your recruiter might be thinking or going over when they look at your Myers-Briggs type.