Why not to use Myers-Briggs® for Pre-Employment Screening

Note: This information is presented to assist those familiar with the Myers-Briggs® personality indicator to compare the common personality types with those used in the Hire Success Employment Testing System. Hire Success was designed as a pre-employment testing tool and is NOT a psychological test like Myers-Briggs®.

Many hiring managers are familiar with the Myers-Briggs® Type Indicator (MTBI) – a self-report questionnaire designed to indicate psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.

However, unlike the Hire Success system, the MBTI assessment tool was not designed to be used exclusively for pre-employment testing and should NOT be used for employee selection for the following reasons:

  • The MBTI tool identifies people who may like doing a particular kind of work, but not how well they might do that work. It does not identify the skills or abilities that predict success at any job.

  • The questions on the MBTI instrument are transparent – respondents can choose answers to indicate the type that appears most desirable for the job.

If you’re using the MBTI assessment tool, your business endangers its credibility with prospective and current employees who are aware that use of the tool for pre-employment selection is inappropriate.

Both the Myers-Briggs® and Hire Success tools examine personality traits, but there are many differences between the two. Let’s take a look at their similarities and differences.

The Myers-Briggs® Scale

First, let’s look at the Myers-Briggs® scale, which was created by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers and is based on the typological theory proposed by Carl Jung:


Extraverted E                   I Introverted
Sensing S                   N Intuition
Thinking T                   F Feeling
Judging J                   P Perceiving
30 25 15 5


5 15 25 30

With the MBTI tool, each applicant is measured in each of the four scales seen above. As their traits (or preferences) move toward one side or another, the letter represents part of that personality type. For example, a personality that’s considered an “ENFJ” would be “Extraverted-Intuition-Feeling-Judging,” and the opposite personality would be “ISTP,” or “Introverted-Sensing-Thinking-Perceiving.”

With all possible combinations of these four scales, there are a total of 16 possible personality types.

The Hire Success Model

Many other personality tests – including the Hire Success model – are based at least in some part on Hippocrates’ theory of four basic or “classical” personality types. Hippocrates’ theory dates back several thousand years, but is still a good foundation for determining personality types and predicting human behaviors.

Hippocrates called the four types Choleric (Yellow Bile), Phlegmatic (Phlegm), Melancholic (Black Bile) and Sanguine (Blood). Let’s face it – these aren’t the kind of descriptions most people would want today (!), so for the sake of simplicity, Hire Success just calls these four basic types “A,” “B,” “C” and “D.”

The Hire Success Personality Profile Test is almost like two personality tests in one. First, Hire Success looks at the four basic personality types and evaluates the strength of each one.

For each person, if one trait scale stands out from the rest, the individual is generally very much like that “classical” Hippocrates model. However, Hire Success also evaluates the influence of the secondary personality type (the “second-strongest” type).

For example, a strong “A” type is the “classical” choleric type. But if there’s a strong secondary type, such as “B”, then the person would be evaluated as an “A/B” personality, where the “A” represents the primary type and the “B” represents the secondary type.

With all possible combinations of the four basic types, we get a total of 16 possible types (A, A/B, A/C, A/D, B, B/A, B/C, B/D, etc.).

Let’s look at the ABCD Model:



In the above example, each quadrant is shaded a slightly different color to represent the “A” group, “B” group, etc.

We can generally equate these to the Myers-Briggs® Types as follows:


When applicants take the test, Hire Success illustrates the strength of each of the four basic personality types both numerically and as a bar chart in the Summary Report.

Type Descriptor
A=37.1% Director
B = 25.9% Socializer
C = 25.0% Thinker
D = 12.1% Supporter

The bar chart makes it very easy for you, as the interviewer, to see the relationships between the four basic types and see which is the primary and secondary personality. If the two bars are relatively close to each other, you can expect a stronger influence from the secondary type, and sometimes even the tertiary (third-strongest) type. These relationships are displayed both graphically and in text at the top in the Hire Success Personality Profile report. The first section of the report describes the “classical” or primary personality type. The second section describes the personality further and considers the influence of the secondary type, and if applicable, the third type for even finer detail.

Hire Success Goes Beyond

Unlike the MBTI tool, Hire Success doesn’t stop with four personality types or the 16 variations. The second part of the Personality Profile Test evaluates 20 different trait scales independently.

When Hire Success evaluates each of the 20 trait scales, there’s no consideration made based on the evaluation of the basic personality types. This allows us to pick up on unique traits that would not normally be expected or “predicted” by the 16-type model.

For example, people with the traditional “A” personality type are often not very detail-oriented, preferring to delegate the details to someone else. That’s not to say details aren’t important to them – they are, but these people usually prefer to have someone else they trust do the detail work and report back with the “bottom line.”

However, “A” personalities are also very entrepreneurial by nature. If someone with an “A”-type personality has been running a small business with few staff, they may not have been able to delegate the details to someone else. They may have learned to be detail-oriented.

A “classical” personality evaluation might pick up the very strong “entrepreneurial” nature and correctly see them as an “A,” but report them as not being detail-oriented when in fact, this individual may be really good with details.

This is why Hire Success uses both scales. Unlike so many tests on the market, Hire Success provides a more three-dimensional view of each individual. We believe this adds to the accuracy of the test, while our 100 adjective approach makes test administration simple.

Questions about administering or using the Hire Success testing system?

Contact us today!