Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2% Not Just for Milk

I interviewed at a company shortly after graduating college whose business was offering corporate clients comprehensive test assessments and personality profiling to their potential new hires. The idea being that with proper testing and ‘job matching’ you can guarantee that whomever you hired for a particular job would be a good match. Now, whether this works or not in the real world, I haven't a clue but the company was confident enough in their battery of tests and screening to use it on their own hiring prospects.

Being a relative novice to hiring practice protocols at the time, I believe I assumed that every employer acted as though they were the CIA, and I, a potential security threat. Did I really want an employer doing psychological testing? After all, I wasn't looking to join the postal service.

“Well, if their tests say I make a good fit for the company then it must mean that I am,” I thought.

That is, assuming that their evaluation wouldn’t uncover some horrible character flaw or trait for which I might be unaware, thus forever preventing me from pursuing whatever burgeoning career I thought I would be having at the time. I'm young, I thought, there would still be time to recover. Well, suffice to say, whatever they were looking for I am sure I didn’t possess. However, a woman at the company, an obvious enthusiast on the subject, was eager to explain to me some of my results and just perhaps cushion the blow.

“Did you know you are an INFJ?” “That is quite rare. Only about 2% of the population,” she said.

“Do I need to be inoculated?” I asked, “Or, will it clear up on its own?”

“No,” she responded “That’s the results from your Myers-Briggs personality profile.”
“Great,” I wondered to myself, how does that help me and my new found brotherhood of 2% get a job?

“You’ll do fine” she said, handing me a pamphlet. “Here, you can read all about it,” as she walked me to the door.

So I read through my INFJ description: INFJs are future oriented, and direct their insight and inspiration toward the understanding of themselves and thereby human nature. Their work mirrors their integrity, and it needs to reflect their inner ideals. Solitude and an opportunity to concentrate thoroughly on what counts most is important to them. INFJs prefer to quietly exert their influence. They have deeply felt compassion, and they desire harmony with others. INFJs understand the complexities existing within people and among them. They are at their best concentrating on their ideas, ideals, and inspirations.

Thank you Myers and you too Briggs.

I can’t say my Myers-Briggs personality profile was instrumental getting my next job. I wondered, so was she telling me it was something I should put in my job introductions? Something like.. “Hey, I’m an INFJ and here’s my resume.” Or maybe in the cover letter “Highly qualified and educated INFJ…” Or was she saying try and keep it under, “Whatever you do, don’t hire the INFJ.” Either way, I was never sure.

Sometime later I took the test online again to see if anything has changed, you know, check if I’d grown into a more mainstream ENTP, or ENTJ? Nope, the results were still the same old INFJ. I concluded some acronyms should remain the same.

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