How Does PEP Compare with Myers-Briggs?
Two of the questions we are most often asked is "How does the Personality Evaluation Program compare
with (this or that) system?". Often mentioned is the widely-known Myers-Briggs evaluation. Also asked is, "Can
PEP be used as a hiring tool?" One quick answer to both of these questions is: "Wherever Myers-Briggs can
be used, PEP can be used-- in our opinion and the opinion of our clients... to an even more successful
Myers-Briggs is a time-established, respected system that is used by thousands of businesses to assist
them in employee management. It is natural that people would compare this system with the Personality
Evaluation Program. What is the difference?
Apples and oranges:
* PEP was designed from the beginning for use specifically in the employee and applicant evaluation and
job-matching areas. Myers-Briggs was never intended nor designed for use in employee / job matching (see the
following article and cautionary note).
* PEP is a positive evaluation system. Myers-Briggs is not. PEP does not pull skeletons out of the
closet or dwell on negative personality aspects. PEP emphasizes strengths and shows how to turn potential
negative personality traits into assets.
* PEP is fast and easy to use. The entire response time and report can be completed in five or ten
minutes. Myers-Briggs can take up to an hour for the response process and another hour or longer to perform
the evaluation, per evaluation. Many businesses simply do not have the time and manpower to implement the
Myers-Briggs system. The Personality Evaluation Program does not present this problem.
* People sometimes feel uncomfortable with the results of Myers-Briggs due to the negative connotations
of some results. Having seen other reports, they are sometimes hesitant to have their own flaws revealed. PEP
does not present this drawback. Once people see a PEP report, they tend to be very eager to see their own
* Opinions regarding the accuracy of the Myers-Briggs reports vary widely. PEP is considered by our
clients to be 'amazingly and consistently accurate'.
* The categories and criteria of PEP are very different from the Myers-Briggs system and are designed
specifically for application in the business environment (while still remaining of great value to the home user).
Cautionary note: No single tool (including PEP and Myers-Briggs) should be used by itself to determine
whether an applicant is hired or not hired. Doing so may be considered unethical. Local laws may be pertinent
to this subject. However, PEP may be properly used if applied with ethical standards and common sense. For
example, to look at a person's personality report and say, "This doesn't match. You're not hired," would be
highly questionable (and in some areas, unlawful). However, it would be acceptable to present the PEP report to
the applicant, grant the applicant time to examine the report-- and observe the applicant's responses. Asking the
simple question, "Do you feel this accurately describes you as a person?" can quickly verify whether (a) the
applicant has filled out the response form properly (sometimes instructions are misunderstood) and (b) that PEP
actually did perform an accurate analysis of this person (which of course, is usually the case, to an amazing
degree). Once the accuracy of PEP has been verified, you may be comfortable in ascertaining whether this
person's training, experience and personality fit the job you have in mind.
It may be your decision (based on other factors) to hire a person despite an apparent personality mismatch. In
such a case, PEP can assist you in keeping communications open with this person and perhaps even altering the
work environment to better suit the personality of your new employee. By taking these simple steps, you assure
your company is using the best tools and information available in the hiring process.
Once you examine the freeware PEP system yourself, read the following reprint from Workforce
Management, December 2003, pp. 72-74. This impartial third-party analysis of the Myers-Briggs report should
help you discern the tremendous difference between the Personality Evaluation Program and the Myers-Briggs
system and emphasize the benefits of using PEP in matching people to the right jobs.
At 60, Myers-Briggs is Still Sorting Out
and Identifying People's Types
Demand for the venerable personality test remains strong, even though the world has changed.
By Douglas P. Shuit
Anyone who has worked in an office knows that certain personality stereotypes stand out. There are the friendly,
outgoing people and the quiet, serious people who hate small talk. There are big-picture people and hands-on
number crunchers. Caricatures though they may be, they are accurate enough in describing extroverts and
introverts to have kept psychologists, trainers and human resources executives enthusiastically using personality
tests in the workplace for decades. And it is the widely used Myers-Briggs Type Indicator that has been the
standard-bearer of testing for generations.
Myers-Briggs celebrated its 60th anniversary in October, a noteworthy achievement for a test that has been
sorting out quirky personality types since 1943. After all those years, it's said to be still the most popular and
widely used personality-assessment tool of its kind in the world, with about 2.5 million tests given each year. Both
critics and supporters say that the Indicator endures because it does a good job of pointing up differences
between people, offers individuals a revealing glimpse of themselves and is a valuable asset in team-building,
improving communication and resolving personality-based conflict. Many consider it an essential tool for career
planning and development.
Calling it a test will spark an argument because ideally no one can fail Myers-Briggs. There are no right or
wrong answers to the basic 93-question "test." It can identify introverts, extroverts and other personality types in
15 or 20 minutes, though analysis and interpretation of the results can take at least an hour if done correctly.
Begun by Isabel Myers and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs, and based on the theories of psychologist
Carl Jung, the questionnaire successfully nailed down personality types in World War II such as GI Joes and
Rosie the Riveters, then '50s conformists, '60s rebels and on to Gen X types. Attitudes, styles and cultures may
change, but the eight basic personality types that Myers-Briggs identifies don't.
Logic over sentiment
Myers-Briggs distinguishes personality types from four sets of opposites. Establishing differences comes from
questions like: Are you inclined to value sentiment more than logic, or value logic more than sentiment? After the
answers have been completed, the responses are dropped into broad categories of opposites, the best known of
which are the introverts/extroverts. Other categories are judging/perceiving, sensing/intuitive and thinking/feeling.
At the end of the process, four initials identify people, say ISTP (introvert, with strong sensing, thinking and
perceiving traits). Although there are some of the different characteristics in just about everyone, the test is about
discovering dominant personality traits and recognizing strengths or areas of potential weakness, such as things
that can produce stress. A "thinking" person, for example, who likes organizing and structuring information in
logical, objective ways, might work on organizing in a more personal way. An introvert who likes to work quietly
should be aware that others might interpret that as a lack of interest.
Today, most Fortune 500 companies use the test in some form or another, including 89 of the Fortune 100,
says CPP Inc., publishers of Myers-Briggs. General Motors Corp. has put its workforce through thousands of
the tests. Myers-Briggs was a key part of an executive training program between 1997 and 2000, when every
GM executive was given the test. It is still widely used by the company. Robert Minton, GM's manager of global
human resources communications, recently took it for the first time and came away impressed. "It was uncannily
accurate," he says. But it does have its critics, who say that Myers-Briggs has limited value, has not been
validated by solid science and is subject to manipulation by test-takers who want to present a certain
picture of themselves to employers. Myers-Briggs, they note, is not an indicator of success and does not
measure intelligence or skills. Detractors also argue that test results can change over time.
"It's accurate the way a $5 wristwatch is accurate," says John Binning, associate professor of psychology at
Illinois State University, who specializes in industrial and organizational psychology. "It is not the most
sophisticated measurement instrument, but it does what it purports to do in a useful way."
Wendell Williams, managing director of ScientificSelection.com, a consulting and test-developing firm, points
out that it isn't like a blood test that is backed by solid science. "People who take the test may find they are
characterized as one kind of person today and if they take it tomorrow, they will find they are characterized
significantly differently," he says.
A major concern of critics and supporters alike is that Myers-Briggs will be used by hiring managers for
selection or promotion purposes, a practice that is widely condemned by both supporters and critics. Many
companies do use psychological tests to determine whether job applicants are suited for a job, but
Myers-Briggs was not intended for that. "In most cases, scores on a personality test have little or nothing to
do with how well you perform on the job," Williams says.
"It is not the most sophisticated measurement instrument, but it does what it purports to do in a useful way."
A Canadian client called him in because he had a workforce of "highly sensitive, team-oriented folks" who
couldn't get anything done together. The company had opened up a new branch and built the workforce largely
with new hires, bringing in people who were team oriented and people friendly. "They ended up with a workforce
that would not meet unless everyone was there, and wouldn't make a decision unless everyone agreed," he says.
"They never ever wanted to leave each other, to the point that they liked to have a few drinks with each other
after work. This was highly irritating to their spouses." The proposed solution was just as bad. "Their answer was
that they wanted to use another cheap personality test to bring in anti-team members." Williams bailed out.
Agrees up to a point
Michael Segovia, director of business development at CPP Inc. agrees with some of the concerns, but only up
to a point. He says that Myers-Briggs is not intended for hiring or job-candidate selection, and that its
use as a hiring tool is unethical. "The MBTI is meant for inclusion, not exclusion," Segovia says. "It is used
most often for team-building. Its purpose is not to move people in and out of the team, but to help people work
more happily, more successfully, as team members."
Segovia says the biggest misconceptions about Myers-Briggs are generalizations about personality types. "It
doesn't mean a person is loud or shy," he says, referring to two common stereotypes of extroverts and introverts.
The terms apply to how people absorb and process information. Segovia says that misinterpretations of Myers-
Briggs stem in part from people who imitate the test, which keeps CPP's legal department busy. He recommends
one-on-one analysis of the test results to ensure that test-takers do not walk away with misconceptions about
who they are or what the conclusions mean.
Over the years, Segovia says, the basic ideas on personality assessment presented by the two women in 1943
have been researched extensively. "It continues to be studied, continues to be evaluated," he says. "It's amazing
how much it holds up."
Rebecca Tilley, a team-building facilitator with Adventure Associates, says her firm uses Myers-Briggs as a
core team-building device. She takes groups of executives, administers Myers-Briggs and then explores the
individual differences and approaches of team members. The premium here is problem solving. People have
different ways of dealing with stress and problem solving, and one benefit of the exercise is to bridge differences
between managers and show that there are several ways to tackle a problem. There are group activities, such as
writing ad copy for a product, that indicate how different personality types approach problems differently. Each
group learns where its strength is, and where it might be closed off to possibilities, she says.
Tilley says that sometimes extroverts have trouble understanding an introvert, who processes information
internally and likes to think about things before acting. Common misconceptions might be that the person doesn't
have anything to say or is not interested in the topic being discussed. One solution, she says, would be to give
information to participants the night before a meeting so that they have time to study it.
She describes a conflict between two companies that Myers-Briggs helped to resolve. A manufacturing
company was working with an advertising firm on a campaign. The ad agency sent the manufacturer sketches of a
proposed advertising campaign, and wanted a quick answer about the approach being taken. Tensions
developed. "They didn't feel that their relationships were solid," Tilley says. "They did the Myers-Briggs to find
out more about themselves." Turns out the client who received the storyboards was a strong introvert who
wanted a longer time to think about the ads before giving his feedback. A light went on. "They said, Aha!" and a
dialogue opened up, Tilley says.
She acknowledges that corporate managers are tempted to use Myers-Briggs for hiring, but says
she will have nothing to do with it. "We do have people who call us who want to use it as a screening
process for hiring," she says. "But Myers-Briggs has strict ethical guidelines that it can't be used that
way, and we won't do it that way."
Minton will buy that. "We use it to help leaders figure out their own personal style and how they are perceived
by their peers as well as the people who work for them," he says. "Leaders are encouraged to share their
[personality] type with their staffs. It doesn't mean you are that way all the time, just that you have a natural
preference. We are all kind of wired a certain way, and this helps us see that."