What do Quentin Tarantino and Will Smith have in common? And why are William Shakespeare and Björk more similar than you might think? The answers to these questions are provided by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (or MBTI for short). A popular and established assessment tool in the USA, here in Germany it’s viewed somewhat more critically. After completing a short psychometric questionnaire, you can draw conclusions about your own personality. Distinctions are made between 16 different types. An indicator that is not only used in the world of dating, but also in a coaching and HR context. A load of old nonsense or a useful new job tool? Allow us to explain...
    Myers Briggs
    Which type would John F. Kennedy have been?


    Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung is regarded as the founder of analytical psychology. During his daily work with patients he was noticing their behaviour patterns when engaging with others and integrated these observations into his character assessments. After years of studies, he noted the four main psychological functions “thinking/feeling” and “sensing/intuition”, which he introduced as having either an internally focused “introverted” or externally focused “extraverted” tendency. Years later, mother and daughter Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Myers added the two categories “judging/perceiving” to the test. All functions and orientations exist in everyone, the MBTI only provides information about which functions are preferred.


    Idealists: Long for freedom and strive to discover who they are and how they can become their best possible self

    Artisans: Predominantly regarded as creative free spirits

    Rationalists: As good problem-solvers, they are particularly reliable 

    Idealists: Usually need clear rules and fixed guidelines

    But no group is any better or worse than the other. All types and groups should be viewed without any judgement whatsoever. Instead, the MBTI explains the different behavioural patterns and preferences in life. Based on which criteria do I make my decisions? Do I enjoy working in a team or do I prefer to work alone? Can I communicate openly with my partner? Do I find it difficult to come up with my own solutions? How do I deal with setbacks?

    A social butterfly, particularly outgoing and organised, popular "Friends" character Monica is a textbook example of an ESFJ type 

    "Sex and the City" columnist Carrie Bradshaw is definitely an ENFP, the personality type that craves creativity and freedom


    It’s astounding just how applicable many of the answers and statements can seem to your own personality. Which is probably why the evaluation results can often be found in the profiles on dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and OkCupid. But when it comes to recruiting staff, at least in Germany, employers are advised against using the MBTI – unlike in the USA. Why? The MBTI is only regarded as an indicator and not as a test as such. It shows preferences, not specific attitudes. And it therefore doesn’t give any guarantee about the quality of the potential applicant’s performance. It’s important to be aware of its limitations. If you complete the questionnaire a few times, the answers may fluctuate and vary, especially after experiencing lifestyle changes. The result is therefore not set in stone and the use of the MBTI is only limited to the introspective reflection of your own behaviour. And we’re sure that the so-called ‘Barnum effect’ also has a lot to do with it: just like in horoscopes, the person doing the test recognises themselves in the descriptions, even though the answers are extremely general and apply to most people. The result is often subjective and very positive.

    Myers Briggs

    Any free MBTI tests you will find on the internet are mere reinterpretations. But if we’ve made you curious, why not try out this one free of charge?

    Text: Stefan Franken 

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