The Problem with Personas

The Problem with Personas

Have you seen the new HBO documentary Persona: The Dark Truth Behind Personality Tests? It exposes how the $2 billion personality test industry uses seductive and simplistic language to pigeonhole test takers into "types". Some types are unfairly stigmatized, even passed up for job opportunities and promotions. 

We share the filmmaker's worries about the way personality tests have been misapplied, manipulated, and sometimes even weaponized. The tests have been used against their creators’ wishes to unfairly filter out neurodiverse job candidates, those with mental health issues, and those from lower socioeconomic strata. But cut through the film's withering critique, and you'll detect the filmmaker's undeniable respect for figures like Isabel Myers-Briggs, who along with her mother developed the most popular personality test ever devised.

For all their foibles, personality tests like Myers-Briggs developed archetypes that millions of people identify with, create community around, and use to communicate complex aspects of self.

Is it possible to incorporate what we like about personality tests and leave behind what we don't? 

That's our goal in developing Prolog, an assessment and training program to help you learn and grow your creative strengths. Our founding cohort starts this summer. 

Apply and tell us about your creative strengths.

At the heart of our program is an assessment that identifies your unique creative strength from a spectrum of five types: novelty, beauty, efficacy, completion, and connectivity. You may hear words like "type" and "assessment" and think "personality test," but ours is different for a few reasons: 


Most popular personality tests attempt to label a person's entire personality with a single archetype, as if the subject lacks complexities and won't evolve and improve over time. 

We don't believe that's remotely possible. Instead, we're interested in measuring how people behave while creating in a group, and believe this approach can offer deep insight into how they'll perform in the future, whether solo or in groups.


Personality tests have been used irresponsibly, especially in the context of hiring. At their best, tests based on personality type are helpful ways to frame the complexities of the human experience. But how someone answers a narrow set of questions is an unreliable predictor of future actions.

Our assessment measures action in a collaborative scenario. And while we do use a numeric scoring system, we don't reveal raw scores. In fact, organizations we work with must agree not to use our assessment to make decisions on who to hire, fire, or promote.


The most popular personality tests on the market were developed to help managers reckon with a rapidly growing white collar workforce that was built from the top down. What we're seeing in the world of work is a flatter structure of management, and more workers taking ownership of their careers. Prolog helps workers take responsibility for their own creative destiny, and acknowledges the extent to which modern workers must learn to manage themselves and their relationships with peers.

The filmmakers behind Persona are concerned with how personality tests segregate workers in confining archetypes that alienate and divide. We intend to forge a different path for the future of personality tests, developing creative archetypes that are responsible, helpful, and ultimately uplifting.

If you're interested in being a part of that future, we invite you to apply to Prolog. Please visit to learn more, or book a time to talk with us

Happy creating! 

Ben Millstein is a writer and creative communications designer living in Brooklyn, NY. He serves as Marketing Director for the award-winning experience design firm Local Projects, and is a lead creative mentor at Prolog.

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