30 years in HR, part 10: "Help, I’ve got INTP!"

“You look ok for someone who has worked 30 years in HR!”

Today is the day. Exactly 30 years ago I started to work in HR (see “30 years in HR, part 1: The Start”). No flowers, no pin from the Dutch HR Society. Still loving my work and my job. One of my old bosses said,  when he saw the photograph above, “You look ok for someone who has worked 30 years in HR!”. I hope there is at least another 15 years to go, if they let me.

I was tested many times…

During the last 30 years I have undergone various different tests. Among them the LSI, PAPI, HBDI, The Dolphin Brain Map, JMQ etc. etc. Also I was tested several times by psychologists, as part of a job selection process.
Do the outcomes of these tests properly describe me, and can they predict my future behavior?
For those who know me a summary (very colored of course, as I only selected positive quotes…), so they can check:


INTP, “Philosophers”, “architects”, “pensive professors”… These epithets are most often used to describe the INTP personality type. Deeply immersed in their own exciting world of theoretical possibilities, INTPs believe that everything can be improved, modified or made to suit a specific goal”. Famous INTP’s include Albert Einstein, Carl Jung and Tiger Woods.

JMQ (Job Motivation Questionnaire)

“Based on your responses to the Job Motivation Questionnaire, we can expect you to be highly motivated by the following aspects of your work environment: mental challenge, achievement, autonomy, creativity, development opportunities”.


“With a small team of professionals, well motivated and highly skilled, he will form an effective team. He is not someone who will provide rigid leadership. Rather, he is someone who will take the final responsibility and who will cut the Gordian knots during the decision making process. At the detailed level, he could well demonstrate additional vigilance and sharpness”.

Drake P3

“Tom, your responses indicate that you communicate directly, take risks without hesitation, and plan out your objectives. Your very independent, persistent and creative nature often leads you to cultivate concepts that create fundamental changes within your sphere of influence. Due to your constant self-determination, you remain true to your goal until you reach it”.


Very yellow, ” Imaginative, artistic, intuitive, holistic, synthesizer, simultaneous, spatial.


“Outward they can appear formidable – thick-skinned, unemotional, uncompromising, obstinately tenacious, purposeful, energetic, shrewd, intuitive and wise, sometimes with a philosophical profundity and thought verging on inspiration. Their intimates, however, may see a very different character, one with a sympathetic and kindly sensitivity to other people, especially those they love”.

Are you blue, green, yellow or red?

One of the first things I learned at my study psychology in Groningen (from W.K.B. Hofstee) was that it was impossible to divide mankind in 2, 4, 5, 16 or any number of types. We had to read the famous book “The personality game, theories and systems in the psychology of the human person” of Ben Kouwer, that elegantly and very convincing illustrated this point (written in 1963!).  However, 50 years later, the daily practice is hardly influenced by science. The number of tests on the market are numerous, and the most popular ones divide mankind in four different types. The types are often connected to colors to make life easier (blue, red, green and yellow). It works best, they say, if all staff participates in the test, so that everyone speak the same language (“ohh, you are yellow, now I understand why you …..”).

Scepticism is justified

Some of my conclusions after 30 years test results. Yes, it can help to do a test, and it can help to share results with others who have done the same test. For most tests it is: what you put in, you get out. If they ask me what I prefer, going to a party or reading a book, I fill in reading a book. Conclusion: I am an introvert (but I still go to parties sometimes, and sometimes they are fun, even for introverts!).
The outcomes of the typology tests should be handled with some skepticism. As said, people can not be divided in 2 (introverts-extroverts), 4 (yellow/green/red/blue) or 16 (MBTI) types. The outcomes of the test should also not be used as an excuse for poor behavior (“the test says I am blue, so I can not help I am not a good people manager”).
So, handle with care, and realise a good personal conversation is also possible without having test results as guidance.


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