Brigg it on

Can a personality test determine what kind of worker you are? A member of Salon's reader community, Table Talk, finds out -- and others weigh in.

By Salon Staff
Published March 21, 2008 7:05PM (EDT)

Work Life

Tempests in teapots: Share your local controversies

True Tales of the Office

Fogharty -- 08:32 am Pacific Time -- Mar 19, 2008 -- #4355 of 4423

We have additional Myers-Briggs training this afternoon. Some people around here have printed up their personality types on a sheet of paper and posted them in their cubicles. I don't know quite what to make of this. Are they telling me that if they are an ENFP I should approach them a certain way?

If that's the case, why not have signs that really mean something?

Hung Over
Hemorrhoidal: I Don't Need Another Pain in the Ass
Right Now TT-ing. Do Not Disturb.

Wonder Dog -- 10:58 am Pacific Time -- Mar 19, 2008 -- #4361 of 4423

I think ENFP is code for: Give Me a Hug. I don't care if you're sincere, your Hugs are sweetness in my day.

Maybe overthinking this. It's my analysis of the experience I've had with people who advertise their ENFP-ness, probably to get other people to love them and not hold them accountable 'cause they are all about Feelings and Communicating and their brains just aren't wired for things like pesky little contract deadlines.

I'm showing signs of what happens when you go to too many M-B seminars. Quick, get me a self-help book so I can deprogram myself.

Fogharty -- 01:56 pm Pacific Time -- Mar 19, 2008 -- #4366 of 4423

Back from M-B meeting where I was so engaged and so communicative it would make you puke!

The presenter quickly lost control of the meeting and everyone just talked and talked. I managed to get in a good number of well-disguised digs at Mean Boss and Myers-Briggs (hey, they have the same initials!), so I managed to stay awake.

At one point someone said, "We need to hire more Feeling people." And I mentioned that you probably couldn't refuse to hire someone based on their M-B type ... how would you even know it? Could you force applicants to take it? Presenter said that might be considered discrimination and then talked about a current search team he's on where he "analyzes" the applicant after the interview based on what he perceives the applicant's M-B type to be. "Wow" I wanted to say, "just like how you picked out your son's wife!"

Randall -- 02:09 pm Pacific Time -- Mar 19, 2008 -- #4369 of 4423

Does the M-B actually offer insight into issues like "will not work well with others"? My understanding is that you can get a little bit of information on how INTJ will interact with EFTP, but nothing that says "this person is bat-shit crazy and will one day pack a 9 mm in his lunchbox" or "this person is going to waste 3/4 of the day typing on an Internet forum with invisible friends who are supposedly much wiser and more interesting than anyone at work."

Some jobs and some managers might actually feel that a Myers-Briggs test can tell them something about whether or not a person will be happy in a particular job. The obvious questions about "are you a detail-oriented person" are too easy to answer with lies.

OTOH, this business of making current employees take the test and talk about them interminably is obviously the result of someone in H.R. needing to fill her seminar quota.

Froggy Day -- 03:31 pm Pacific Time -- Mar 19, 2008 -- #4379 of 4423

Not Myers-Briggs, but once I didn't get a job, apparently due to failing a personality test. Had two excellent rounds of interviews, got along with everyone, they seemed to like me. But, no, my personality was apparently not up to snuff.

Was also once asked to take a personality test as part of the job application (which was mailed to me after I submitted my résumé -- no phone call or anything). I filled out most of the application and told them they could get the personality test, my Social Security number, and my references when I came in for an interview. They never called.

Sugar Magnolia -- 03:37 pm Pacific Time -- Mar 19, 2008 -- #4380 of 4423

"He's just not that INTP you"?

Best of Table Talk is an ongoing feature of Salon's vibrant community forum. Older posts of the week can be found in TT. Want to join the discussion? Sign up here.

Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------