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Hiring Jason Bourne via the Myers-Briggs Assessment...

Michael at The Career Revolution has a cool breakdown of HR considerations if you are employing Jason Bourne from the Bourne Ultimatum.    One caught my eye with special interest - Pre-employment testing, and how you would figure out if Bourne was a fit for your organization.

My solution?  Let's figure out if Jason Bourne would be a good match for your team via the tool you know Jason_bourneand love - the Myers-Briggs test. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality questionnaire designed to identify certain psychological differences according to the typological theories of Carl Gustav Jung as published in his 1921 book Psychological TypesMore importantly, it has a strong following with corporate types as they try and figure out who's the best fit for their team...

Here are the Myers-Briggs determinations we have to make to judge if Bourne will play nice with the other assassins in your organizations:

-Introvert or Extrovert?  Can a spy on the run afford to be an extrovert?  This one is the easy one, so the first letter in his Myers-Briggs is "I"...

-Sensing or Intuition?  Bourne trusts only the information he can sense through his tuned up senses.  Don't be fooled that he is acting on Intution.  He's a cyborg, and it's all about what he can validate.  Second letter is an "S"....

-Thinking or Feeling?  Bourne measures decisions by what is reasonable, logical, causal, consistent and matching a given set of rules.  So thinking it is, and he's a "T"...

-Judging or Perceiving?  Like most spys, Bourne is happy to leave matters open, for further input; he may want to leave finishing a task until close to the deadline, and be energized by a late rush of information and ideas; and he is ready to change plans if new information comes along.   "P" it is...

Add it all up and what do you have?  An ISTP.  What's that mean?  From the site typelogic:

"Like their fellow SPs, ISTPs are fundamentally Performers (note the capital 'P' :-)), but as Ts their areas of interest tend to be mechanical rather than artistic like those of ISFPs, and unlike most ESPs they do not present an impression of constant activity. On the contrary, they lie dormant, saving their energy until a project or an adventure worthy of their time comes along--and then they launch themselves at it. The apparently frenzied state that inevitably ensues is actually much more controlled than it appears--ISTPs always seem to know what they're doing when it comes to physical or mechanical obstacles--but the whole chain of events presents a confusing and paradoxical picture to an outsider."

That sounds like Bourne.  Got a place on your Account Management team for him?  He's looking for his next gig....


Michael Moore


This is a very clever and funny post, but it also raises a good point about the role and use of personality assessments by an organization. I was wondering what your take is on when and how companies should us personality assessments.


Michael -

WOW - that's a tough question. I, like you, am somewhere in the middle ground between "must have" and "hocus pocus" depending on the day and the instrument being used.

For example, I like some personality assessments to flesh out the basic drive necessary for sales and customer service roles. I also like the Myers-Briggs, but only for team building purposes, which is clearly post hire and more about awareness of differences.

Bottom line for me is I would cringe to make an assessment a yes/no when it comes to hiring. Part of the mix, yes, but the validity questions scare me too much to make it the driver of the whole process. Once employees are in the door, I think you can use them for developmental purposes, but you have to be careful not to overuse and get in the employee's head as a result.

Thanks for the comment, keep them coming!

David Morrison

Ross Douthat would agree with your assessment of Bourne's MBTI type. Here's his description of Matt Damon's portrayal of the character in a film review he wrote for the August 27, 2007 issue of National Review:

"Damon himself is stripped-down and deadly as a bullet, returning yet again to the watchful underacting that's central to the character's appeal. He plays Bourne as a monk of war, with a purity that distinguishes him from the ordinary run of action heroes. There are no Austrian accents, bulging muscles, or catchy quips; there are only the bursts of violence, and the tense, coiled, quiet moments in between.

"It's this lethal-seeming stillness that makes the Bourne movies so riveting, in the end. We don't know what he's going to do next, but we know we want to watch."

Jim Petroff

He is not an ISFP. He is an ENTJ "field general," just like Sean Connery and James Bond 007. Note that one of the careers for an ENTJ, aside from being an executive or trial lawyer, is "CIA agent."

Simply put, he an extroverted conceptualizer who rationally makes quike decisions with mastery. He is ENTJ all the way. He is Superman and he knows it. And eventually, everyone else will learn that too.

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