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Why you should never use the 16 personalities test to hire top talent

It can be challenging to find the perfect candidate for a job opening.

So it is important that recruiters continually seek new ways to assess job applicants.

One tool that has gained popularity among recruiters is the 16 personalities test, also known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). This personality test is often used to identify candidates' strengths and weaknesses and determine if they're a good fit for the job. However, relying on this test alone may not be the best approach for recruiters looking to find the right candidate for their company. This article will delve into the limitations of the 16 personalities test and why recruiters should avoid using it to find the best candidates.



What is the 16 personalities test?

Personality tests are designed to evaluate a candidate's personality traits to help recruiters understand how they may fit within the company culture. These tests come in different forms, including the Big Five, Myers-Briggs, and 16 personalities.

The 16 personalities test, also known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), is a personality assessment tool that categorizes individuals into one of 16 personality types based on their preferences in four dichotomies: extraversion-introversion, sensing-intuition, thinking-feeling, and judging-perceiving.

  • Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I): How candidates direct and receive energy.
  • Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N): How candidates process information.
  • Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F): How candidates make decisions.
  • Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P): How candidates approach the outside world.

By answering a series of questions, the test aims to identify a person's dominant traits and tendencies, which can provide insights into their behavior, communication style, and overall outlook on life. The test is widely used in hiring decisions, career counseling, team-building exercises, and personal development programs.

Although personality tests can be helpful in specific contexts, they may not be the most effective way to assess job applicants, and it is essential to recognize its limitations.

Limitations of the 16 Personalities Test

Not Scientifically Valid

The validity of a personality test is the extent to which it measures what it is intended to measure. The 16 personalities test is often criticized for its limited validity as the results do not always align with actual personality traits. The test lacks empirical evidence and hasn't been proven to predict job performance or success. Additionally, it has been criticized for being based on outdated theories of personality and not accounting for cultural differences.

Limited Reliability

This point refers to the consistency of the results. One of the main reasons why recruiters should avoid using the 16 personalities test is that it's not a reliable indicator of a candidate's personality. The test results are not consistent, and individuals can get different results on different occasions. Several studies have shown that the 16 personalities test lacks reliability, and people who retake the test frequently receive different outcomes. The test also doesn't account for situational variables that can affect an individual's behavior.

Failure to Capture Contextual Factors

The 16 personalities test does not consider contextual factors, such as the work environment, company culture, and job requirements, which are essential when assessing a candidate's suitability for a role. Furthermore, the 16 personalities test doesn't account for growth and development. Personality is not fixed and can change over time. Using a test that categorizes individuals into a fixed personality type can limit their potential and hinder their development.

The Test Can Lead to Biases

Using the 16 personalities test as a screening tool can lead to biases. Recruiters may favor candidates who fit a certain personality type, leading to discrimination against those who don't. Additionally, the test can reinforce stereotypes and perpetuate a fixed mindset about personality.

Additionally, research shows that personality tests can have a negative impact on minority group such as women and people of color. 

Alternative Hiring Strategy

Skills-Based Hiring

Skills-based hiring is an approach that assesses job applicants based on their skills and abilities, rather than their personality traits. This approach focuses on the candidate's performance and ability to complete tasks relevant to the role. Tools such as skill assessments are very accurate in predicting the job performance of candidates.



In conclusion, relying solely on the 16 personalities test may not be the best approach for recruiters looking to find the best candidates. While these tests can provide some insights into the candidate's personality, they have several limitations and can lead to discriminatory hiring practices. Instead,  consider alternative hiring strategies such as skills-based hiring to ensure that you are assessing candidates based on their skills, abilities, and performance. It is essential to be cautious when using personality tests in hiring and consider all the factors that contribute to a candidate's fit for a role.


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