Myths about the MBTI

Because the Myers-Briggs assessment is so widely used, it stands to reason there would be a lot of misconceptions. Here are some of the more popular:

The MBTI labels people and puts them in a box.

Knowing your type means you understand your natural preferences for how you interact with the world, how you process information, how you make decisions, and how you communicate. The more you understand yourself, the more you can grow and improve. Knowing your type is the opposite of being “boxed in”—it’s liberating!

The MBTI is a recruiting and selection tool.

It is unethical to use the MBTI tool for hiring. Completing the assessment must be voluntary (not required of job applicants), and the results are confidential and belong to the respondent. Furthermore, people of many different types excel at the same job for different reasons. Individuals should not be pigeonholed based on their personality preferences.

The MBTI is old and pointless.

Millions of users would disagree. Its practical insights have a positive effect on communication and interaction, and have helped many better understand themselves and those closest to them. Far from pointless. CPP, Inc., the publisher of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator tool, has been researching, improving, and publishing the MBTI assessment for over 50 years.

The MBTI is a personality test.

No, not in the traditional sense. Rest assured that there are no right or wrong answers in the MBTI assessment, so you cannot fail. We prefer to call it a personality assessment, and encourage all to do the same. Remember, no type is better than another, and you shouldn’t fear the outcome. Your four-letter MBTI personality type should be celebrated and embraced.

Introverts shouldn’t take high-stress, high-visibility occupations.

Steve Jobs, Mother Teresa, Ayn Rand, Barack Obama, and Princess Diana have exhibited behavior indicating a preference for Introversion—hardly shrinking violets! The MBTI tool’s Extraversion—Introversion preference pair identifies how you get energized, not how outgoing you are. Extraverts get energy from social interaction, while Introverts get energy from privately reflecting on their thoughts and feelings. Both can be quite gregarious in their own way.

The MBTI assessment is inaccurate.

The actual Myers-Briggs assessment, which is used by 16 Boxes, has a 90% accuracy rating, and a 90% average test-retest correlation. Making it one of the most reliable and accurate personality assessments available. There are many unauthorized knockoffs around the web which are not reliable. Additionally, being coached on the mindset and having a trained practitioner validate the test by reviewing the results with you are steps often ignored by many websites or uncertified consultants.