Note: the following information is provided by the Myers & Briggs Foundation.
Best-fit type is the four-letter type that you think best fits you after you have learned about type, read type descriptions, and had the opportunity to review your MBTI® results with a certified practitioner.*
It is beneficial and ethical for a certified practitioner to assist you in verifying your MBTI results to help you find your best-fit type rather than just giving you the results and telling you what your type is. When you receive your MBTI results in an interactive session with a trained professional, you have the opportunity to ask questions and to be sure that you choose the MBTI type that best fits you.
All too often, the best-fit type decision is a quick pro forma process, in which people either accept their MBTI® results or puzzle briefly about one preference that doesn’t “feel” right. However, when people are encouraged to look in depth at their own preferences and to understand the impact of type in all aspects of their lives, the experience of verifying type can be much more rewarding and enlightening.
Focus on your whole type, not on your individual preferences.
People often focus on pairs of preferences. But MBTI type theory is about whole type, in which preferences interact in ways unique to each of the 16 types.
Suppose you are unsure whether you prefer, for example, Sensing (S) or Intuition (N) as your perceiving function, but the other preferences Extraversion (E), Thinking (T), and Judging (J) are clear to you. Many type practitioners would then focus on the S-N uncertainty and review or discuss the differences in that pair.
But the real question at this point is not whether you are an S or an N, but whether you are an ESTJ or an ENTJ. The essences of those two types are very different.
- The ESTJ is focused on getting things done smoothly and efficiently. As an SJ, you have a core need for seeking the good of the community, a sense of belonging, and learning from the past.
- The ENTJ, on the other hand, is focused on implementing new ideas and challenges. As an NT, you are likely to be concerned primarily with competence and intellectual resourcefulness.
The MBTI practitioner needs to probe and discuss these whole type differences, not just the difference between Sensing and Intuition. Without an encompassing picture of whole type, you might receive an incomplete, or even superficial, understanding of personality type.
Here are some additional tips for helping you to decide your best-fit type:
- You, the person receiving the results, are the expert.
By this stage, you should know the basics about type theory and the preferences. Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide your type. The practitioner needs to use open-ended questions and listen, listen, and listen some more. The greatest learning about type sometimes comes as you puzzle through your core preferences.
- Often opposite types help you identify what you are not.
If you are, for example, hesitating between ISTJ and ISFJ, an MBTI practitioner may ask you to read descriptions of the two opposite types, e.g., ENFP and ENTP. You may recognize very clearly the type you are most unlike, thus guiding you toward your own type. You may also be encouraged, during exercises, to join groups of the opposite types or preferences. The comfort, or discomfort, you experience with those groups may guide you toward your best-fit type.
- Type descriptions should be entirely unbiased, so that all types seem acceptable as choices.
If the environment in which you are receiving your feedback seems to favor certain preferences, take extra care to learn about all preferences in favorable terms.
- Understand that best-fit type should be carefully studied.
People need to identify those parts of the type descriptions that fit and those parts that don’t. As you read descriptions, underline those points that fit and bracket or write “no” next to the points that don’t seem right. This may lead you to consider other types or it may not. But you will have brought your own self-knowledge to bear rather than automatically accepting the results of an official instrument or an “expert” practitioner.
- It is OK not to decide during your first session.
It is helpful for a person to select a “for-the-moment” type, a hypothesis to work with. But the type experience has not failed if you leave the feedback session without a clearly established type. If you feel discouraged, know that it is OK to puzzle it through for several hours, days, or even weeks. You may wish to get feedback from others, do more reading, perhaps keep a journal, and observe how you take in information and make decisions in real life. Ask the person who provided your initial feedback if he or she has time to provide more detailed one-to-one discussion of your type preferences.
*Note: One of the ways CPP offers the MBTI assessment in through an online interactive version called MBTI® Complete. An individual who takes the assessment through this process also has the opportunity to verify their preferences. However, if there are questions about one or more preferences, an individual would benefit from a conversation with an MBTI professional.
The Myers & Briggs Foundation.