Facticiti vs. MBTI for Career Guidance
To compare the two, let’s start with my results. I am an ENTP on the MBTI. This means that I process information externally and get energy from others (I don’t), am intuitive (yes but am trained to see details, especially in people), prefer to make rational decisions instead of emotional ones, and prefer flexible over rigid schedules. The last result has a big exception when traveling with friends. My attempts to plan and schedule everything on trips with friends lead to my nickname “Julie”, the cruise director on the Love Boat. The MBTI reflects some of my general traits but several of the results are opposite of some of my core traits. My response to my MBTI results is “not really” and “yes but”.
Adam Grant of Wharton also wrote about his experience taking the MBTI when he took it twice within a five month interval. His experience was similarly confusing, which caused him to doubt MBTI and its ability to accurately reflect who we are as people so he applied what he knows as a social scientist to analyze the MBTI. In his article “MBTI, The Fad the Will Not Die” he considered the assessment in terms of reliable, valid, independent, and comprehensive. I am resharing his research and sources and putting the Facticiti Assessment under the same microscope. As the developer of the Facticiti Assessment, I had these criteria in mind as I built it.
Shifting to Facticiti, my results on this test says that my thinking style is Open and my preferred culture is Passionate/Urgent. I prefer jobs where I can be competitive, identify entrepreneurial opportunities, innovate, develop long term strategies, charm and influence others, and lead by presenting a vision. It also indicated that I need to avoid jobs that require me to organize details, focus on one thing for extended periods of time, and coordinate the activities of other people. It then listed jobs that I may like, including Entrepreneur, Management Consultant, HR Executive and Sales Manager among others. As the developer of the Facticiti assessment, my evaluation of it is clearly positively biased and my knowledge of psychometrics biased me against the MBTI more than 10 years ago. However, I can report the experiences of a group of 21-year-old job seekers who took the assessment while my partner and I observed. One asked “How did it know that with just 45 questions”. Another thought the results were “spot on” but did not like about half the job titles. The good news is that he found a job title he liked and applied for a job during the session. A third surprised me when he said, “the process of taking the assessment taught me a lot about myself”.
Reliable: Can you trust the assessment?
Reliability answers the questions “Can you depend on the assessment to give you the same results even if you take it different times?”; “Is it consistent or do the results vary?”. It goes without saying that if the results are different every time you take an assessment then it’s no more valuable than a Magic Eight Ball.
Krznaric did some research on the MBTI and found that 50% of the people in his study fell into a different category after taking the assessment twice with 5 weeks in between. To elaborate, MBTI has 4 subscales, each with two possible results. Quick math reveals that there are 16 possible personality types. If any one of the four results changed, it would change your personality category as well. Personally, I took the assessment in my 20s and was an ENFP and now several years later I am an ENTP. As a social-minded young person trying to save the world, the F from my initial assessment reflected my values more than my personality type. Adam Grant reports a more drastic change in his score because all four subscales changed. Initially he was an INTJ yet 5 weeks later he was an ESFP.
Facticiti has 652 million possible combinations based on preferred activities alone and the potential combinations number in the trillions if you factor in dislikes. Therefore, the comparison to the MBTI’s 16 combinations is complex. However, we did find that 54% have received all the same likes and dislikes six weeks between taking the assessment; 78% score the same on at least five of the six activities, 92% scored consistently on at least four of the activities and over 99% had at least 3 categories as the same. No one had something that was previously in the dislike category end up in their “liked” category or vise versa, which would be the equivalent of Adam Grant’s change in results. Regarding preferred work culture, 94% maintained the same results and no one scored in one quadrant the first time and an opposite quadrant 6 weeks later. Regarding thinking style, 89% scored the same and everyone’s first result was their first or second result six weeks later. In general, Facticiti meets the criteria necessary for researchers to deem it reliable.
The most important aspect of Facticiti is the match between assessment results and current American jobs. Ninety-six percent of test takers had at least 90% of the job titles show up the first and second time they took the assessment. If we are considering this aspect of the assessment, Facticiti appears to be highly reliable.
Comparing 16 possible outcomes on the MBTI to 10 Trillion on Facticiti is complicated math. It appears that within a 5-6 week span, you can depend on Facticiti to be more reliable.
Valid: Does it do what it claims
Gardner and Martinko did a comprehensive review of the MBTI and found that very few relationships between MBTI type and work-fit exist. It seems that no matter what your MBTI type is, it will not predict your success or happiness in any particular profession. This does not mean that certain types of jobs don’t attract certain types, only that you can be good at a career and enjoy doing it no matter what type you are. I found this to be true firsthand when I first started using assessments in the workplace in 1997. At that time, I used the MBTI and found a variety of results for the exact same position at a technology firm. As a matter of fact, among the 100 or so people tested for that project, the MBTI did not predict whether someone was in design, engineering, or human resources. Gardner and Martinko, who looked at this on a broader scale, uncovered the same results.
Facticiti does not claim to predict success in a career, only if one will enjoy the career. This is done simply by measuring what the person likes to do and then comparing it to common work activities associated with American jobs (Based initially on O-net research and eventually on crowd sourced data). For example, if a person enjoys networking, problem solving, and mentoring, the founders of Facticiti believe they will enjoy a career that allows them to meet new people, fix things, and develop people one to one.
The scientists at Facticiti also believed that when your thinking style is valued by a company and the culture is a match, the likelihood of job satisfaction will also rise. In my case the perfect employer would value my open thinking style and not expect me to over rely on using ideas from the past. I would also enjoy being part of an organization that moved quickly, was agile and took measured risks.
When comparing the validity of MBTI and Facticiti, we are comparing a lack of validity from the MBTI to the face validity of Facticiti. Face validity happens when the assessment is transparent about the items it measures. Simply put, these Facticiti test takers sort the things he or she likes to do and throws out those things they do not. Then we look for jobs where they can do the things that rated highly and avoid the activities they tossed.
Where Facticiti and MBTI both lack validity is in predicting whether or not someone would be effective in their new career. However, Facticiti does not purport to measure aptitude only interest. One may argue that people will do the things they like and the repetition will improve their capabilities but Facticiti has not studied that result (yet). I can personally attest that my ability to create an effective strategic plan has improved after making several plans over time but I also know that if I was not reasonably intelligent, my ability to strategize would plateau quickly.
Structure: Is the assessment theoretically sound
Adam writes about the independence of subscales in the MBTI as he calls into question the basic structure of that assessment. For example, MBTI indicates that thinking and feeling are opposite poles of a continuum. In reality, we have three decades of evidence that suggests they are independent. The same is true of ideas and data (N vs S). Research even shows that people with stronger thinking and reasoning skills are often better at recognizing, understanding, and managing emotions. When Adam scored as a thinker one time and a feeler another, it’s because he likes both thinking and feeling and therefore should have separate scores.
The most troubling and potentially the most damaging is the MBTI dichotomy of Extravert and Introvert. Dan Pink’s in To Sell is Human and Dr. Travis Bradberry both cite research that most people are “neither overly extraverted nor wildly introverted.” Instead, most people are ambiverts. When the MBTI attempts to put the assessment taker in one category or the other, it fails to consider all of the other aspects that go into the ambivert category. As a result, an entire group of people have been told they are introverts instead of alternative explanations like shyness or contemplative.
The MBTI violates two commonly accepted psychological theories. The first is that it fails to measure the five personality factors accepted by the great majority of psychology researchers. Of the five factors, the MBTI fails to measure of neuroticism (response to stress) and does not directly measure agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness. The second violation is categorizing people as “either/or” when psychologists know that characteristics are on a continuum.
Facticiti has five broad categories: 1) Work Style 2) Task Activities 3) People Activities 4) Thinking Activities and 5) Leadership and Management Activities. For you stats geeks, structure was created by using exploratory factor analysis in the development of the assessment. Therefore, it is possible and even likely that a Facticiti test taker will have “likes” under multiple categories. My personal Facticiti results shows interests in the Work Style, Leadership, People, and Thinking categories. The only category not represented in my scores were in the Task category, although a couple Task Activities showed up in my dislikes.
Where Facticiti lacks structure is in the selection of only six likes and three dislikes. For example, I really enjoy research, especially statistics. When a new idea is proven scientifically, I get a rush yet Science did not show up in my results. When I look at the calculations, Science shows up as my seventh preference and still factors into the job matching algorithm despite not showing up in my display. This is less a factor of structural independence than a need to make the results understandable to the test taker.
In comparing the two, the structure of Facticiti makes it significantly more robust than the MBTI.
In addition to all the theoretical and statistical arguments, there is also a very practical one. According to http://www.mbtionline.com/, the MBTI is $49.95 although I assume that some career centers may receive a bulk discount. According to Facticiti.com, the Facticiti assessment costs $35 online and no bulk discounts are currently available.
For the $49.95 fee the web based program will walk through the interactive learning experience. The site is designed to further explain and expand on the MBTI type preference pairs and provide you with more detailed insight on how to use this knowledge. At the end of this experience participants receive a four-letter type. It does not appear to offer career advice although you may be able to get advice for an additional fee from a certified MBTI practitioner.
The Facticiti Assessment is cheaper and focused primarily on career choice. Every result is geared towards helping the test taker identify choices to pursue a perfect career. This includes listing job titles that the test taker would enjoy, organizational cultures where they will thrive and thinking style. Furthermore, the test taker receives actual titles of jobs they would enjoy and job postings of people ready to hire.
Test Taking Experience
The MBTI has 93 forced choice questions. The online test taker clicks a button to indicate a preference, which is an electronic version of the original pencil and paper administration. However, the MBTI does advertise an interactive experience to explore types after the assessment is completed. Like the Facticiti assessment, test takers complete the assessment between 25 and 35 minutes.
The developers of Facticiti were very concerned about the impact of cognitive fatigue on results. Especially concerning was the research that showed the quality of test taker responses began to deteriorate after only 50 questions. To overcome this neurological obstacle, Facticiti gamified its assessment and allowed people to interact with it by moving items with their finger or computer mouse. This method allowed them to gather a lot of information in just 45 questions. If they used the forced choice method from the MBTI, it would take 315 questions to get the same amount of data. Test takers complete the assessment between 25 and 35 minutes.
The Facticiti assessment is more fun to take and allows it to gather three times as much information within the same period of time.
Scientific and anecdotal evidence clearly appears to favor the Facticiti assessment for career assessment. I know the MBTI very well and used it often early in my career. I even have 48 endorsements on my Linkedin page for my expertise in the MBTI. By knowing the MBTI so well, including its serious flaws, I was able to design Facticiti to not make the same mistakes. However, the true test of using the assessment for vocations is whether or not it brings insights into career decisions. The only way to measure that is to take the Facticiti Assessment yourself and be your own judge.
Author: Dr. Dave Popple has worked as a Corporate Psychologist since 2006. During that time he has developed 8 assessments that are used in companies worldwide. He is also the co-owner of Facticiti where his main role is to develop this assessment. His dream is for Facticiti to achieve its purpose of helping 100 Million people worldwide wake up each morning excited to go to work.