INTP is a good personality type

The MBTI Superstition: Why Personality Tests Won't Help You With Your Career

The Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was developed almost 100 years ago and has enjoyed great popularity to date, although it has often been assessed as scientifically unreliable. Basically, that wouldn't be a problem - the test is harmless, after all, and allowing yourself a little fun with it is by no means objectionable. It becomes difficult, however, when a test without scientific reliability continues to be actively used in various companies, especially in America. The test divides into one of 16 personality types, names their defining characteristics, strengths and weaknesses and also the career fields in which they often encounter successes and failures, as well as the associated competencies in the workplace. Accordingly, the test suggests a thesis: Certain personality types are better suited for certain professions than others. Of course, companies want to take advantage of this simple concept. If there is a certain segment of the population that is particularly well suited to the work you are offering, why not take advantage of that? The answer is as simple as it is problematic: it is simply not well founded and does not produce any noteworthy results, so that the setting process based on this test is nothing but a roll of the dice. Such a test should therefore have no place in the world of work, unless it is based on other qualities that qualify it for it. Are these available?

The structure of the test

I am an INTP according to the test. I will shortly explain what these four letters mean exactly, but it is important to mention it, because in order to show to what extent this test is dysfunctional and to be able to credit it for any advantages, one must first understand its basic structure. After all, it would not be possible to refute it beforehand.

As mentioned, the type indicator comprises a total of 16 personality types, each of which is abbreviated with four letters. These four letters represent four different categories, with each of these categories giving two possible subdivisions. That may sound very complex, but it is actually relatively simple. The four categories are as follows:

  • Motivation:Introvert (I) / Extrovert (E)
  • Attention:Intuition (N) / Sensory (S)
  • Decision:Thinking (T) / Feeling (F)
  • Lifestyle: Perception (P) / Assessment (J)

Quite simply explained, four statements can be drawn from my INTP type: I am introverted, I orient myself by my intuition, make logical decisions about thinking and am more spontaneously perceiving than planning judgmental, an analyst named on the website. Of course, these are not the only statements that this result allows about me. The result comes from 16personalities.com, a website on which the MBTI test can be carried out very closely to the original, and looks like this in detail:

In the following, the test gives me a description of my personality, starting with the fact that people like me only make up three percent of the world's population. The following is a brief description of the type:

Logicians pride themselves on their ingenuity and creativity, their unique perspective, and their keen intellect. Usually known as the philosopher, the architect, or the dreamy professor, the logician is responsible for many scientific discoveries throughout history. Logicians love thought patterns and it is almost a hobby for them to recognize contradictions between statements. So it is not a good idea to trick a logician. Ironically, statements by logicians must always be viewed with a certain amount of caution. Logicians are not dishonest, but they do tend to voice thoughts that are not fully mature. Often, other people are not really conversation partners for them, but rather a sounding board for ideas and theories in a debate with themselves.

That sounds relatively well-founded at first and begs the question to what extent this test nevertheless seems to be so ineffective. However, the problems are already evident and plausible.

The problem of inconsistency

If you take a look at my results, you will see that the parameters of the various categories are broken down into percentages on a total scale of 100 percent. The categories are only dichotomous and this results in the following problem: If I achieve a value of 51 percent for introversion and a corresponding value of 49 percent for extraversion, is it justified to call myself introverted? This problem then expands to the extent that the available test results are inconsistent. Most recently I achieved the result INFP, in the sense of this article I did the test again. The last time I was a little flattered by the result, as other members of this type are always mentioned when the test is completed - and as a writer I was of course happy to be in the same category as Shakespeare, Tolkien and Wordsworth. INTP is no less flattering. Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, René Descartes and Isaac Newton - all great results, but these are only there to disarm my skepticism about the test, because who would not like to claim to be the natural amalgamation of Shakespeare and Einstein? But that's not how the test should work in the first place - ideally, I'm just one type, either Shakespeare or Einstein. This is exactly where the problem lies.

Now, of course, one could argue that people change over time and that MBTI results also vary. That's right, of course, but the last time I took the test was a month ago - there shouldn't be any fundamental change in my character during this period - and there are worlds between Einstein and Shakespeare. Now, of course, it could be said that this is not the case either, after all, only one letter has changed, nothing more. How much meaning this one letter has, however, becomes apparent as soon as one examines the description of the INFP type, the so-called mediator:

Mediator personality types are true idealists. They try to see the good in even the worst of people and in disaster, and look for ways to change things for the better. Mediators are mostly considered to be calm, reserved or even shy, but have a passion and inner flame that can shine brightly. Mediators orientate themselves more on their principles than on logic, enthusiasm or feasibility. When choosing a path, look to worth, beauty, morality, and virtue. Mediators are guided by purity of intent, not rewards and punishments. Mediators are rightly proud of this attitude, but not everyone understands the underlying motivation and this can lead to isolation for them.

I don't think I need to mention that, but they are two completely different types of people. The problem is that I am no exception here, but this problem occurs frequently. A scientifically sound test will produce the same results multiple times, but MBTI does not. It is often observed that people achieve different results over and over again and within only a short period of time. Here, of course, the first problem arises for your own career, one that is present in many personality tests: If you work with the thesis that individual types are better suited for certain professions, then these types must at least be fixed and not each other change again within two days. An INTP should represent a scientist par excellence, an INFP, however, not. The test cannot be relied on for a career, the subdivision is simply too inconsistent.

Unreliable identification

A statement that often follows this is that you can still identify yourself very well with the given description. Of course you can, after all, you should too. You may have already noticed that the descriptions given for my two types are very vague. Simple aspects that you can quickly identify with. Idealistic, always seeing the good, calm, passionate, principled - these are all not deep character analyzes, but simply characteristics that many people tend to see in themselves. If three out of five apply here, many who have passed the test are willing to overlook the fact that there are two other inapplicable descriptions. I don't mean to say that this description is inaccurate, by no means. For example, I see myself as very calm, idealistic and try to see the good in people, in the case of the INFP. But these character traits can be ascribed to various people very easily, so that they can easily identify with them. In return, however, this also means that the identification is not reliable, since the chances are very good that you will say to at least four other guys: "Wow, that's me!"

Incidentally, these are not the only arguments that can be used to question the veracity of the MBTI, the list is long, but these are two of the most serious arguments in my opinion. The results are inconsistent and also not particularly accurate. Something like that happens in science, that's perfectly fine and can continue to bring new results with it, if only that people are not so easily divided. Nevertheless, the test is fun - for my part, although I know that there is no valid basis behind the test - I am excited to see what result I get every time. So for fun, this test is completely harmless and that is also the positive aspect of the test, because it is always interesting. However, if it can be so easily undermined, why does the MBTI continue to be used?

Lots of money and a lot of thinking

In principle, these are the two big arguments why the test can stay up to date. Every year over two million people take part in this test and have their results certified - as I said, the test is particularly popular in America - and the company that carries out these tests earns over 20 million US dollars a year. So it is already established and those who have invested so much money in something often also hope for results - but they are simply pending. The smart way would be to stop here, enjoy yourself, save a bit of money, and that would have settled the matter. According to the test, eight types should be able to make this rational decision.

However, the problem is a little deeper. People love box thinking - and the success of things like the MBTI is the symptom of that. We see how much people tend to think in boxes when we look at clichés or say that something is typically male / female. If we take a look at the horoscope and ascribe certain attributes to individual zodiac signs. It's easy to put people in a box and if there are only 16 boxes, so much the better. It is more like this: People are characterized by an inherent complexity that only very few of us can actually grasp - if at all. It is difficult to fully understand each other because there is too much that defines us as a person to just make a checklist of traits that we can use to divide all people into categories. For one another we are rather books whose language we do not speak, which is why we can neither read nor understand it - and if at all, that is typically human.

Unfortunately, building a career on the basis of personality tests does not work, that would be too easy and you are too individual as a person for a test to tell you in general which direction your life should take. Become aware of your own strengths in the workplace, be clear about where your career should lead you and be glad that someone like you only exists once in the world of work instead of just being one of many in your category. Who knows, tests like this may even help you, but you shouldn't rely on them. MBTI and other tests of this kind are not a career guru, not a guide, but rather a little party fun, but at least you can have it with them.