Are you using the Myers Briggs or MBTI for career exploration, career choice or hiring? I Hope Not

Many high schools and colleges use the Myers Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI to help students in career exploration and career choices. CPP, Inc, the developer and publisher of the MBTI recently posted an article entitled Just What Is the Myers Briggs Assessment Good For? that makes it very clear this is not appropriate and needs to stop.


Some Human Resources professionals use the MBTI for hiring and selection. While it is a less frequent use of the MBTI, the use of the MBTI in hiring and selection is putting those companies at high risk for fines and lawsuits. To explain, employers are held to a high standard when it comes to using assessments in the hiring and selection process. The government actually likes companies to use assessment tools – if they are valid and reliable. But companies must use tools and processes that ensure no biases against protected classes. The company must also be able to show a connection between an assessment and predictive correlation for performance in the job. The article states that employers should note that using the MBTI as a selection tool can have dire legal consequences for them. “If a tool is designed for selection, it should meet a certain standard that is held up in a court of law,” according to Sherrie Haynie, a consultant for CPP who teaches MBTI certification programs . “Whereas with the MBTI, we are very clear, that because it’s not a selection tool, you could be held liable as an employer if you use the tool in such a way.”

“The MBTI does not evaluate candidates. It does not predict performance or cultural fit or any of the other criteria by which employers hire candidates” states Haynei. According to the article, “CPP is unhappy with recruiters and HR departments who use the MBTI as a selection tool.” The article goes on to say “Used as a selection tool, the MBTI can be harmful to individuals.”

So if it doesn’t predict performance or cultural fit, should high schools and college career centers use it to help students choose a career or choose a major that is a “good fit”? Can a school be held liable for misuse of the MBTI as a career guidance tool for students?

Haynie says, “CPP has seen a number of employers improperly use the MBTI as a selection tool. Assessment tools for hiring and selection are the kinds of tools that evaluate particular skills or knowledge or abilities, but the MBTI was not designed to judge or evaluate skills or knowledge or abilities (referred to as job matching). ”

As Haynie says, “the MBTI is a development tool, not a selection tool. Interested employers should use the MBTI to identify employee strengths and blind spots, so that they might help these employees further leverage their strengths and compensate for their blind spots.”

“The MBTI is a development tool, not a selection tool. Interested COUNSELORS AND CAREER CENTERS should use the MBTI to identify STUDENT strengths and blind spots, so that they might help these STUDENTS further leverage their strengths and compensate for their blind spots.”


Students certainly need development. Schools and colleges have limited financial resources for things like assessments. In an attempt to stretch the investment value, counselors have tried to use one tool for many uses. CPP is stating this is not their desire. Yet, there are assessment tools that are certified for use by employers for hiring and selection that are excellent for development as well. And those same assessments are used for career counseling and career exploration. In other words, what schools want and need exists but first, the counselors must let go of the MBTI.


Posted on YouTube, Why the Myers-Briggs test is totally meaningless is an excellent video that makes the point very clear. If you weren’t a skeptic before, this might just change your thinking. You’ll also find there are many academic articles about the questionable validity and reliability of the Myers-Briggs personality assessment.

Watch the video: Why the Myers-Briggs Test is Totally Meaningless.


The Career Coaching for Students program uses two assessments for high school students that does an excellent job of helping the student narrow the world of opportunity into a more manageable and relate-able short list of career options in a way that engages the student while developing the student at the same time. The Career Coaching for Students program helps the student from a personal development standpoint, much like the MBTI narrowly does. Parent company, The Nielson Group, uses the same assessment tools with large and small employer clients specifically for hiring and selection (job-candidate matching), adult career coaching, leadership development and team development. All of these assessments adhere to an 8th grade reading level standard.

The particular assessments used for high school students in the Career Coaching for Students program is both comprehensive for development and provides an easy-to-follow proprietary method for connecting career options to personal talent (job fit analysis).


The simple and quick answer is yes. Schools that go all in by using “any” assessment for school-wide use will enjoy a “volume discount”. The Career Coaching for Students program is provided under the umbrella of Success Discoveries LLC, a division of The Nielson Group. “We utilize all of our expertise and tools to provide a one-stop offering for staff development, leader development and student development”, states Carl Nielson, Chief Discovery Officer and founder of Success Discoveries. “We provide state-of-the-art tools for student career exploration and student development and development offerings for staff and administration, all the way up to the school board. ”

This ability to bundle solutions for different constituencies allows Success Discoveries to price all of these services very cost-effectively.

Can Our In-House Staff Easily Learn How to Use a Different Assessment?

The Career Coaching for Students program offers a train-the-trainer and certification program. Administering the student programs in-house with your own staff is very doable. Staff will likely enjoy this and receive much greater positive feedback from students (and parents).

So, if your school is using the MBTI with students, you need to realize it can only be as a personal development tool – not as a career counseling and career selection guidance tool. As with many clients that have gone through the Career Coaching for Students program have stated to me, your student may be frustrated and feel like they are at fault when actually the wrong tool has been applied to the right focus.

Families can purchase the self-directed version of Career Coaching for Students which includes the career guidance binder, Student Resource Central and a personal one-on-one debriefing of the assessments (using telephony webinar tools or Skype). Career Coaching for Students has been enjoyed in most of the United States including Alaska, across Canada and China. The assessments are able to be administered in 42 languages.

Carl Nielson is Chief Discovery Officer of Success Discoveries and Managing Principal of The Nielson Group, an organizational development consulting firm serving Fortune 100 company clients. As creator and master trainer of the Career Coaching for Students program for high school students and Career and Success Skills Mastery for College Students and Recent Grads, Carl and his team of licensed facilitators across North America have helped thousands of students find a better way through a career exploration process that works. Self-directed assessment and career exploration coaching packages start at $399. Local public workshops, distance-coaching and in-school programs available. Call for more information at .

3 responses to “Are you using the Myers Briggs or MBTI for career exploration, career choice or hiring? I Hope Not

  1. Sherrie Haynie

    Thanks for drawing attention in your post to CPP’s ongoing stance against using the MBTI as a selective hiring tool. However, I would like to clarify that, while the MBTI does not tell you which career you will be most effective in, it provides a wealth of self-awareness that is extremely useful in the career selection process, and helps people make more informed decisions. By knowing your own personality preferences, and the personality type preferences that will be common in the profession you are considering entering, you will be more aware of how you will most likely operate within that work environment. You’ll be aware of not only certain advantages that you may have, but also potential challenges that you might face entering that particular career, in terms of communication, stress management, conflict management, and numerous other aspects of work.
    Sherrie Haynie, M.Ed
    CPP, Inc. Professional Services Consultant

  2. I work with high school students on a daily basis. For me, I found the MBTI to be the most effective tool for helping many students figure out their strengths and weaknesses – not their skill sets — they are high school students.

    You can’t believe how often a Holland Code skills assessment or self directed search comes back with all zeros.

    With the Myers Briggs I have different results. Students discover strengths and weaknesses they could not put into words. They learn to explore potential careers, though I explain they can be whatever they want. Some teachers have the students create posters with the MBTI information. The object is to get students to think, not make definitive career choices. I love to hear a student say, “I’ve always wanted to do that.”

    I use other career assessment tools as well, but always come back to the MBTI. I’ve used and studied the MBTI for years and recently earned more MBTI certification.

    If a counselor, coach, or teacher does not understand the MBTI, has not truly studied how it works or how to work with it or thinks you can just give the MBTI and just give results then I believe they should avoid using the MBTI. They should stay with other quality career programs like the ones you offer.

    John Baxter, M.Ed
    School to Career Coordinator
    Simi Valley High School

    • Hi John,
      I appreciate your passion and commitment to MBTI. In CPP’s own article they state “CPP is unhappy with recruiters and HR departments who use the MBTI as a selection tool.”

      If you do a little reverse engineering, if a company can’t use the MBTI for job-talent matching, how can counselors in good faith use it to guide students in career matching? Isn’t it the same thing? I understand that the MBTI can possibly help open students’ minds to the concept of personality and traits that results in them becoming more aware of their own personality and traits. But I’ve had too many students and adults tell me they were not helped by the MBTI and in some cases, the MBTI created more confusion for them. They didn’t have an issue with who administered it or the debriefing, it was the report itself that they had an issue with. The biggest concern is that when these students receive MBTI results that they can’t relate to and dismiss as wrong, they also tend to dismiss the entire initiative or program. By using a tool that has the potential to be dismissed puts the bigger effort at risk of being dismissed. Student engagement is critical in this area. Any one component (the weakest link) that discredits what you are attempting to do has the potential of losing the student’s attention all together. We can’t blame the student for this.

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