On the Internet there are type descriptions that make recommendations for the choice of career based on the MBTI type. The assumption is that certain MBTI-type cognitive characteristics correlate with the characteristics and capabilities required in the profession.
Personally, I think it makes sense to use such tests for choosing a career, provided some limitations are observed.
The model of the MBTI types and the tests based on them are basically not suitable in their pure form to make a recommendation for a certain profession. Even more inappropriate are these tests for the decision for or against a candidate in a recruitment process ( see my post here ).
A test to identify one’s own type of MBTI does not measure specific skills; in particular, it does not take into account the existing knowledge and interests arising from personal experiences and different life histories. For this reason alone, no statement can be made for a specific job on its basis. Such tests make statements about our preferred attitudes and functions that we use to perceive the world and make decisions, and help us to get to know our own person better. Therefore, they are more of an orientation towards an activity in which these attitudes and functions can be used particularly successfully. However, this activity depends on further prerequisites.
However, MBTI-type testing can reveal amazing insights into one’s likes and dislikes. Anyone who already has a pretty good idea of himself will be able to use the test result to find a vocabulary for situations that so far simply gave him a good or bad feeling. So it is easier to say that as an introvert human being loves the peace and, moreover, as an introverted thinker places little value on an ongoing interaction with many people instead of outing as an unsocial muffle who prefers to be alone and does his own thing. Such value-neutral assessments can help young people in particular to develop a realistic picture of their own expectations of their environment.
The important decision for the future profession falls just in a phase of life, which is often characterized by much uncertainty regarding their own person. At the end of school time, young people are usually in a rather tricky situation.
Many do not have enough idea who they really are. They are just about to leave their parents’ home and use their unfamiliar freedom to experiment with different roles. Often, the idea of one’s own person is still strongly related to the wishes and demands that have been addressed to them in the family of origin so far. In addition, this insecurity is mostly compounded by the peer pressure that teenagers face within their peer groups.
It is at this stage in particular that the students are required to make a decision with far-reaching consequences for their future life with the upcoming career choice. The success of this decision is determined not only by external circumstances such as the labor market situation or the passing of an entrance exam, but depends in large part on the fact that the young person can identify with the career choice.
Especially the external circumstances, in particular the labor market situation, are overemphasized by the vocational guidance, which is offered by the employment agencies, at the expense of the personal strengths and weaknesses of the school graduate. A tailored, on the personality of the student oriented advice regarding the career choice is usually the exception.
A test for determining the MBTI type is particularly recommended in cases where the pupil has only a rudimentary idea of his own personality or does not sufficiently trust his own assessment. Problems of estimating one’s own personality occur especially when:
- the pupil has a rather rare personality type, which does not occur in the parental home or is not supported by its environment (eg INFP, INFJ, INTP, INTJ)
- the student uses attitudes and functions that are rather rare in his family and encounter type-specific prejudices of the parents.
Example: An ISFP child of two rational parents, eg INTP and ENTJ. There is a danger here that the particular susceptibility to the child’s own feelings and more practical orientation towards concrete activities instead of intellectual debates will be interpreted as a weakness by the concerned parents and treated accordingly.
The knowledge of one’s own MBTI type results in the following advantages for choosing a career. The person concerned learns which functions:
- he prefers to use and therefore can consider suitable occupations to see whether he thereby brings his own strengths to bear.
- He does not like to apply and therefore can better assess what problems can occur in certain occupations, where much emphasis is placed on the application of its rather poorly developed functions.
This knowledge can then be included in the further considerations for career choice. From my work as a recruitment agency, I am well aware of many cases in which training and studies were terminated due to lack of aptitude and motivation. However, an apprenticeship is usually only financed once. If the training has proven to be a mistake then it is often not easy to take a fresh start and get a second education. This often means that the person remains without a professional qualification or has a professional qualification for a job in which he does not feel comfortable. Unfortunately, employers in Germany, unlike the US, are surprisingly inflexible when it comes to
In short, the consequences of such a scenario can be avoided if early school leavers have the opportunity to become aware of their personal strengths and weaknesses.
My future contributions will therefore address the occupational strengths and weaknesses of each type of MBTI and identify the needs that different types typically address in their work.
I will also give some pointers to occupations that usually lead to higher satisfaction. The lists of these professions are not exhaustive but serve only as a guide to which activities the strengths of a type usually arrive well. The professional world today is very complex and often requires many different cognitive characteristics that are also contradictory to each other. Often not only the job itself is crucial for the satisfaction but also the professional environment in which the job is carried out. Years ago, in an American study that determined the personality type of dentists, I read that ISTJs were one of the most common types among study participants. However, these seemed surprisingly dissatisfied with the working conditions of a dental practice. Obviously, the activity of the teeth repairing, which ISTJs particularly addressed, stood in stark contrast to the also required social skills in dealing with patients and office workers. (I’m not sure – I think it’s aboutthis study; this is only available as an abstract for free .)
Conclusion of my contribution: The MBTI is not a professional test in the true sense. However, it provides a good orientation for career choices by helping the graduate to be aware of his or her personal psychological strengths in using information. This makes it possible to avoid wrong decisions when choosing a career due to a lack of motivation and aptitude.