Challenging Traditional Roles in the Age of Self-Organisation and Intrinsic Motivation

Do traditional hierarchical roles such as “Development Manager” or “Director of Software Engineering” genuinely cater to the progressive needs of contemporary businesses?

In light of the evolution of the field, where the principles of auftragstaktik have fostered self-organisation and collaboration, supplanting rigid command-and-control structures, do these roles maintain their relevance? Or do they potentially create barriers to effectiveness and innovation?

In a world that takes a leaf from Dan Pink’s “Drive”, promoting autonomy, mastery, and purpose as the pillars of intrinsic motivation, what does it mean to be a “Development Manager” or a “Director of Software Engineering”? Are these roles becoming mere vestiges of a past era, where top-down mandates were the norm, rather than fostering an environment that nurtures intrinsic motivation?

How can these positions be reformulated or reinterpreted to better fit the ethos of modern organisations, aligning more with the principles of auftragstaktik, which emphasizes initiative and adaptability? Are we clinging to an outdated nomenclature that no longer mirrors the reality of how work is executed? Is it time to reconsider how we define relationships and roles within the context of the workplace?

Are these positions truly adding value, or are they merely relics of an outdated mindset? Is it time we reassess the structures we’ve come to accept, and explore new paradigms that inspire innovation and growth?

The Trenches of Tech: How Non-Software People Sabotage Their Own Success

💡 Brace yourself for a front-row seat to the battlefield of hiring blunders, as we expose the costly mistakes non-software folks make when staffing software teams, and the devastating consequences they leave in their wake.

➡ Here are ten ways non-software people bungle the hiring of software folks:

1. Cultural Misfits: Shoving square pegs into round holes, they hire developers who clash with the company culture (present and future, both), leaving a trail of discord and lost morale in their wake.

2. Lone Wolves: They bring in skilled coders who can’t play nice with others, sowing strife and creating a battleground instead of a harmonious workspace.

3. False Idols: Blinded by shiny CVs, they crown candidates as ideal team players without digging deeper, setting themselves up for a rude awakening.

4. Neglecting Soft Skills: Like generals leading their troops, they ignore the human touch, overlooking the importance of communication and emotional intelligence, and end up with a mutinous crew.

5. Tech Tunnel Vision: Fixated on technical prowess, they forget to evaluate problem-identification skills, critical thinking, and creativity, undermining the firepower of their software squadron.

6. Ignoring Red Flags: Turning a blind eye to warning signs during the hiring process, they march headlong into a minefield of underperformance and potential conflicts.

7. Failing to Verify: Taking claims at face value and not understanding the details and relevance of such claims, inviting charlatans and snake oil salesmen into their ranks.

8. Overvaluing Pedigree: Seduced by brand-name education and experience, they disregard the raw talent and potential of self-taught and lesser-known candidates, missing out on hidden gems.

9. Misjudging Passion: Mistaking enthusiasm for expertise, they hire driven but inexperienced developers, leading to rookie mistakes and costly setbacks.

10. Rushing the Process: They charge into the fray, hiring hastily to fill gaps, only to realise their recruits are ill-equipped for the challenges ahead, leaving them to pick up the pieces of their shattered expectations.

In the unforgiving trenches of the tech world, non-software commanders make grave errors in judgement when recruiting their software people. From cultural misfits and lone wolves to ill-considered hires and neglect of soft skills, these missteps wreak havoc on the battleground of business operations. Like abandoned minefields, the consequences of these blunders linger, leaving projects and teams in ruins.

Beyond the Price Tag: The Stone Truth About What Really Attracts Top Talent

Are you tired of losing your best employees to competitors? It’s time to rethink the traditional (and unevidenced) notion that “you have to pay market rates to attract good people”. Simply offering more money will likely attract mercenaries rather than loyal and committed employees. So, what can companies do to attract and retain people? Let’s explore the factors that truly matter in building a team of dedicated and passionate people who will help drive your company’s success.

The idea that “you have to pay market rates to attract good people” is widely accepted in the business world. The basic premise of this argument is that in order to attract the best talent, companies must offer competitive compensation packages that reflect the current market rates. This is because highly skilled and qualified individuals are in high demand, and will often receive multiple job offers from different companies. As a result, companies that offer below-market compensation packages are unlikely to attract the most talented candidates.

“If all you have is a hammer…”. Compensation is that hammer.

However the stone truth is that simply paying market rates is totally inadequate to engage and motivate. This is because individuals who are primarily motivated by money are mercenaries – individuals who are willing to work for the highest bidder, without any loyalty or commitment to the company or its values.

In this sense, paying at or above market rates will attract mercenaries rather than truly committed and loyal employees. Mercenaries may be skilled and talented, but will lack the long-term commitment and dedication that companies need to succeed in the longer run. By definition, mercenaries are primarily motivated by financial gain, and will quickly jump ship to another company if they receive a better offer.

Therefore, companies might choose to consider factors besides compensation, such as company culture, opportunities for growth and development, and a strong sense of purpose and mission. By offering a more holistic package that goes beyond mere financial compensation, companies can attract employees who are not just in it for the money, but are engaged with the company’s long-term success. A policy of hiring mercenaries also lowers the workforce’s esprit de corps.

Finally, there’s Deming’s 95:5. Deming’s 95:5 rule states that 95% of productivity in any organisation results from the system or process, while only 5% is down to individual talent. This principle has important implications for the idea of paying market rates. By focusing on the 95%, rather than the 5% represented by individual employees, “best talent” becomes next to irrelevant. Ultimately, the success of a company depends on the strength of the entire organisational system, rather than the individual skills and talents of its employees. Where’s the bigger payback?


Candidate Experience: Ignored by Executives, Crucial for Company Success

Research suggests that many senior executives may not be fully aware of the recruitment experience from the candidate’s perspective.

For example, a 2018 survey by Talent Board found that while 82% of HR and recruiting leaders felt that their organisation provided a positive candidate experience, only 49% of candidates agreed with that assessment. Similarly, a 2019 survey by CareerArc found that while 60% of employers believed they were providing a positive candidate experience, only 29% of candidates agreed.

These findings suggest that there is a disconnect between the perceptions of senior executives and the actual experiences of candidates. Executives may not be aware of the specific pain points that candidates experience during the recruitment process, such as a lack of communication, lengthy application processes, or bias.

Ultimately, the attitude of senior executives towards the candidate experience can have a significant impact on the recruitment process and the organisation’s reputation as an employer.

Attending to Your Employees’ Needs Gives Your Company a Financial Edge

Attending to folks’ needs has been found to benefit companies in multiple ways. A new report, “Performance through People: Transforming Human Capital into Competitive Advantage,” analyzed 1,800 large companies across 15 countries and found that a dual focus on attending to folks’ needs and developing people gives a select group of companies a long-term performance edge. These companies, referred to as “People + Performance Winners,” prioritise attending to the needs of their employees and through doing so achieve top-tier profitability at the same time.

The report found that companies that build human capabilities are more likely to propel their employees into higher earnings brackets over the course of their careers. Building human capabilities also pays off for firms in the form of more consistent company earnings and greater resilience during crises. People + Performance Winners have lower attrition rates, which is important when companies are facing hiring challenges.

People + Performance Winners have a distinctive organisational signature that challenges and empowers employees while fostering bottom-up innovation. This form of organisational capital contrasts with other top-performing firms, which tend to be more top-down and transactional, and creates a tangible competitive advantage.

In conclusion, attending to folks’ needs provides a real financial edge for companies. People + Performance Winners have demonstrated that by prioritising employee development, they can achieve consistent and resilient financial performance whilst surmounting staffing challenges.

Disrupting the Chimera: Unveiling the Truth Behind the Concept of Talent

Talent is a chimera, a figment of the imagination, a mirage of the mind. It is the result of the stories we tell ourselves, the beliefs we hold dear, and the myths we propagate. The notion of talent is a seductive one, a powerful idea that has captured the imagination of people for centuries. We want to believe that there are a select few who are blessed with gifts, that some people are just naturally better than others. But the reality is that talent is nothing more than a construct, a way of thinking that obscures the truth and distracts us from the real forces that shape our lives and determine our success.

The truth is that talent is a product of the system, a complex web of social, economic, and cultural forces that shape our lives and determine our destiny. The system accounts for 95% of each person’s productivity, influencing our choices, shaping our beliefs, and directing our paths. It determines who has access to resources and opportunities, who gets the support and guidance they need to develop their skills, and who is able to pursue their passions and realise their potential. The system is the hidden force behind the success of the so-called talented few, providing them with the resources and opportunities they need to hone their skills and cultivate their abilities.

The system is a powerful entity, one that shapes our lives in countless ways. It influences the way we think about ourselves, our abilities, and our potential. It sets the standards for what is considered talented, determining who is recognized and celebrated, and who is marginalized and overlooked. It also creates the conditions that enable or disable success, providing some people with the resources they need to succeed while leaving others struggling to get by.

But the system is not all-powerful. It is not an unyielding force that dictates our fate. It is a dynamic entity, one that can be influenced, shaped, and changed by those who are willing to challenge the status quo. The system can be transformed, but it requires a deep understanding of how it works, an unwavering commitment to change, and the courage to act. We must be willing to challenge the myths of talent, to reject the notion that some people are simply better than others, and to recognize that success is a product of the system, not of innate ability or talent.

In conclusion, talent is a chimera, a false idea that obscures the truth and distracts us from the real forces that shape our lives and determine our success. Talent may be a chimera, but the system is real, and it is up to us to shape it, to influence it, and to make it work for us.


Hire Your Dream Employee in a Day: A Step-by-Step Guide

Hiring someone in a day or less can appear a daunting task, but it can be done with the right approach and preparation. Here are some steps to follow to help you hire someone quickly and effectively:

1. Clearly define the position, in terms of your top needs and the needs of others involved: Before you start looking for candidates, you need to have a clear understanding of the position you are looking to fill.

2. Have a recruitment partner or partners ready: Pre-briefed recruiters who know your company and its needs will help you reach a wider pool of candidates quickly. Ideally, engage them in informally building a funnel of possible candidates long before you actually need anyone.

3. Forget about resumes and cover letters. They’re mostly fictions anyway. Pose a few simple questions about their assumptions and beliefs about how work should work – oftentimes the key stumbling block to compatibility.

4. Have one-to-one video chats: Video chats give you an idea of the personality of the candidates, a key aspect of hiring. It also enables a discussion of THEIR needs from the position – another key aspect of hiring. Beware making snap judgments, and of your unconscious biases and prejudices.

5. Make a quick decision: Nobody likes hanging around. Make it reversible.

6. Have the paperwork already pre-prepared: This includes the offer letter, and any other legal requirements. Things like background checks can follow along behind the candidate actually starting (geography-specific caveats may apply).

7. Have their workplace, equipment, access, colleagues, etc. already pre-prepared.

8. Get them started (for a trial period)! You’ll only really know if they’re a good hire once they have a few days or weeks in the job.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to find and hire someone in a day or less. Keep in mind that finding the right candidate quickly is not always easy, but with the right approach and preparation, it’s definitely possible.


See also: Make Bad Hires!

Quintessential Applications – Come Join Us!

What do we need to see in applications from potential Quintessential fellows? Well, we definitely don’t want to see a CV or resume. We don’t grok how what you’ve done in the past speaks to your potential in the future. We choose to see our fellows as capable of anything, given the necessary support and environment.

We would like to be surprised by the things you feel represent your best. Maybe a list of the things you’ve read and found insightful, such as blog posts, articles, books and so on. Or the times you’ve most enjoyed getting together with others to deliver great software and great experiences. Or maybe the topics in which you have the most interest, and some contributions you’ve made or intend to make in those areas. Maybe you’d be willing to share your take on Quintessence, on Organisational Psychotherapy, or some intriguing questions or practical experience you may have regarding excellence in software delivery. Opinions are way less interesting to us, compared to evidence.

It might be interesting to hear about the terms and conditions you guess you might be needing, including things like pay, hours, locations, equipment, team mates, etc..

Take a look at the list of skills we consider most useful, and tell us about your own skills and aspirations in those areas, or even in other areas you feel may be relevant. Although some “hard” tech skills such as coding and UX might be interesting, we’d love to enroll fellows with outstanding soft skills – these rank higher in our priorities. For example, the Antimatter Principle is as the heart of everything we do – so we’d love to hear about your experiences with attending to folks’ needs.

We’d also love to hear about times when you’ve taken care of something or someone. And how that felt – bot for you and for them.

Above all, we invite you to share with us why you see yourself as a good fit for our community of fellows, and the ways in which you will contribute to moving our whole community forward – improving the principles and practices of software delivery. And your take on excellence, too.

Go wild! Express yourself. If words and text ain’t your thang, maybe video, or audio, or music, or art, or Zen koans, or haikus, or however you best express yourself.

Our declared purpose is to make a dent in the universe, to make the world a better place through outstanding excellence in software delivery. To bring Alien Tech to the service of human beings. We’d love to hear what these things means to you. And how you see yourself contributing.

We appreciate we’re asking you to dedicate some non-trivial amount of time to representing yourself. And we’ll reciprocate by dedicating our time to paying attention to your application. And we will happily help you evolve your application from e.g. small beginnings, incrementally. No need for a one-shot big- bang application. Doing things together is, of course, a hallmark of The Quintessential Group.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you – whatever the medium, whatever the format. As Marshall McLuhan said, the medium is the message.

– Bob

We’re NOT Hiring!

At The Quintessential Group we’re NOT hiring. We have little interest in paying people for their labour or their personal services (fnarr).

We ARE inviting inquiries and applications to join our community of fellows, and participate in our software delivery teams.

Sure, we pay. And we pay top dollar (well British Pounds, mostly). But we pay our people so they can live (and fellows get to choose their own salaries and rates, amongst other things). We subscribe to Phil Crosby’s statement about the purpose of organisations:

The purpose of organizations is to help people have lives.

~ Phil Crosby


We’re breaking the transactional nature of the individual <-> organisation relationship in favour of something much more like fellowship.

So, we’re NOT hiring. But we ARE inviting applications to join our community of fellows. First off for our Quintessential Teams service. And then for our other services, which will be coming on stream soon.


We cordially invite you to apply to join our community of fellows. In the first instance, we’re looking for folks with software delivery skills, who will be forming delivery teams rented by our clients (a variety of medium to large UK organisations) to deliver software at their behest. Early on, you’ll be playing and learning directly with myself and / or Ian.

Just drop Ian or myself a message expressing your curiosity or interest, and we’ll get back to you.

You may already have some questions, so please include them if you’re after some clarification or further information. There’s much already available on my Think Different blog. And a brief but growing collection of more focussed introductory and informational posts on the Quintessential Blog, too.


What you may not have yet read is some of the other benefits of becoming a fellow of The Quintessential Group:

Having Your Needs Met

Central to our business and community is the idea of attending to folks’ needs. Each of our fellows will have his or her own needs, and The Quintessential Group will do its utmost to see those needs met. 

These may include career development, learning, autonomy to capitalise on your abilities, mastery of skills, sharing in a common purpose, playing with technology, work-life balance, choosing your own package, and so on. We’d love to hear just what your needs are. And we as a business have needs too. This mutuality offers a crucible for productive dialogue.

The Opportunity To Do Great Things

We focus on excellence, and carefully select clients with and for whom our fellows can achieve truly great things. Humdrum things bore us, and we’d not ask any of our fellows to suffer that either.

The Opportunity To Participate in Self-Managing Teams

Our Teams manage themselves, with the active support of the rest of the company. Learn and experience what participating in truly self-managing teams feels like. The true meaning of esprit de corps. The experience of excellence and real fellowship.

Other Key Benefits

Unlimited World-class Personal Mentoring

Bob and Ian each have more than twenty years’ experience in coaching and mentoring developers and delivery teams. We happily share this experience with all Quintessential Fellows, on a one to one basis (mentoring, individual coaching) and one-to-many basis (i.e. teams).

Unlimited Expert Coaching

We define mentoring as providing sage advice when asked. Coaching to us implies a more structure relationship. See e.g. “Coaching for Performance” by Sir Jon Whitmore and his G.R.O.W. model. Mentoring also implies, to us, a shared agenda. Coaching, an agenda entirely driven by the coachees.

Unlimited Awesome Career Development, Including Job Search Help & Career Advice

We try to attend to the needs of all our fellows, on a continual basis. If being a part of the Quintessential community is not meeting your needs, we’re delighted when we can help folks get their needs met, even when that means leaving us for pastures new. We’re delighted to actively support folks in this.

Free Books And Subscriptions

Continuous learning is at the core of the Quintessential Group and its community of fellows. We support these needs in any and all ways possible, including paying for all books and subscriptions of our fellows. If you have other learning needs, we’re happy to support those, too.

Paid Time Off For Conferencing (Plus Entry Fees, Expenses Paid)

We don’t believe our fellows should suffer a financial disincentive to pursue their learning and socialising needs, so we pay for time taken to attend conferences, as well as for the entry fees and associated expenses (travel, hotels, etc.).

Paid Time Off For Learning, Studying

Many folks learn for the joy of it, but we don’t see why learning has to be on the learner’s dime So we invite our fellows to invoice us or otherwise claim financial recompense for time spent learning. Effective learning benefits everyone, not least the company.

Development Hardware, Tools

Many new fellows will already have their own equipment, software tools, etc. But when they need other stuff to be quintessentially effective, we have no issue with providing such things, as the fellow(s) see fit.

Note: A Quintessential fellow is anyone (irrespective of gender) who has complete the one-week orientation and chosen to join the Quintessential community.

Note: When we say “paid for” we mean The Quintessential Group will reimburse fellows in the course of invoicing in respect of client gigs. In other words, and using the one week’s paid-for orientation as an example, we will pay fellows for attending the orientation week, over the course of several weeks’ payments for participating in services to a client.

Accepting Inquiries and Applications

We are now accepting inquiries and applications for the first “orientation” cohort of Quintessential Teams


Simply put, we pay our candidate fellows to join together for a week (five days) of orientation. This week prepares fellows for Quintessential Team client engagements, in particular is afford the opportunity to get to know each other, build relationships, and thrash out a shared way of playing together.

Would you like to know more?

– Bob

At Face Value

I’ve hired a lot of people over the years. Both for my own businesses and on behalf of clients.

One thing most of these hirings have had in common is taking the successful candidates – well, all the candidates, really – at face value.

Which is to say, believing the things they say about themselves – about their character, their abilities, their experience, their needs, etc.. A bit like UPR (Unconditional Positive Regard).


At the time, we needed an IEEE 754 floating point package for our commercial Modula-2 compiler. At that time our compiler only supported integer math, and for greater commercial appeal we decided floating point support was also necessary.

So we looked for someone with floating point implementation experience. We found someone who said he had such experience, and we took him at face value.


Let’s dive into our experience with Niklas. He was a student from Germany looking for some summer work experience in London. We had a chat over the phone, and invited him to join us. He took us up on the offer, and came to stay and work with us. His work was outstanding. Everything he had claimed, and more. He accomplished the necessary in two months. It would have taken me six.

Trust or Doubt

How likely is it that new hires are going to be impressed that the hiring manager, team or organisation doubts their word? Is doubt any constructive basis upon which to start building a positive relationship? Lack of trust, much?

How do you deal with candidates’ claims and representation of themselves? Scepticism or respect? Doubt, or trust?

– Bob

The Organisational Psychotherapy Solution for Easier Hiring

I’ve hired many people in my time, and every day it seems to be more difficult finding the right people. 

Most organisation still have the mentality that says they’re doing people a favour by considering them for an open position. Not that hiring for open positions is too smart, in any case.

The Bus

The old adage goes, “get the right people on the bus, and only then sort out where they might sit”. In other words, don’t hire into open positions, hire into the organisation at large, and then find the best fitting role for each new hire. There may not even be an existing position for the best candidates, in which case new positions must be created. 

Employer Branding

Gone are the days when a simple ad or commission for a recruiter would attract suitable candidates. These days, unless your organisation is well known and highly regardsed in the jobs market, you’re highly unlikely to attract the candidates you seek. 

Deming’s 95:5

Deming’s 95:5 implies that there is no such thing as “best candidates”. It’s the system (the way the work works) that dictates 95% of the productivity/performance of each new hire.

Collaborative Knowledge Work

The future of work is collaborative knowledge work (CKW). Potential new hires know this instinctively, and studiously avoid organisations that seem unaware or ill-adapted to this new reality.

The Organisational Psychotherapy Assist

Organisational Psychotherapy can assist in making hiring easier in a number of ways:

  • By helping the organisation build a culture that actively attracts candidates (much better to having candidates queuing round the block for positions, rather than having them ridicule your organisation as a cultural dinosaur). See also: Rightshifting and the Marshall Model.
  • By surfacing your organisation’s existing collective assumptions and beliefs – assumptions and beliefs which most typically lead to hiring the wrong people, and missing out on the candidates you really need.
  • By identifying the cognitive biases which lead to exclusion of much of the available talent pool.
  • By convincing potential candidates that your organisation takes them and their needs seriously, and that you are determined to build an environment in which they can do their best work (see also: Harter & Buckingham, 2016). 
  • By adopting well-established management practices, best suited to CKW.
  • By awareness of Management Monstrosities and how to avoid them (potential new hires can spot these monstrosities from a mile aways, even if the hiring organisation in blind to them).

Further Reading

Harter, J., Buckingham, M. & Gallup Organization (2016). First, Break All The Rules: What The World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. Gallup Press.


The Great Hiring Debacle Continues

The debacle of hiring (cf. external hires) continues unabated. In my experience, it’s getting worse by the day. And I see every hirer totally oblivious to the data. Here’s a couple of charts:

HiringDebacleDoubleAnd some data from various sources:

New Hire Failure Rates (By Job Level)

Overall failure rate – What percentage of all new hires fail within eighteen months? “46%” (Source: Leadership IQ)

Hourly new hires – What percentage of all hourly employees quit or are fired within their first six months? “50%” (Source: Humetrics)

Managment new hires– What percentage of management new hires fail within eighteen months? “Between 40% and 60%” (Source: Harvard Business Review)

High managerial talent – What percentage miss the mark on high managerial talent? “In 82% of their hiring decisions” (Source: Gallup)

Executive new hires – What percentage of executive new hires fail within eighteen months? “Nearly 50%” (Source: The Corporate Leadership Council)

CEO failure – What percentage of new CEOs fail outright within their first eighteen months? “Nearly 40%” (Source: Centre For Creative Leadership)

Unequivocal success –  What percentage of new hires can be declared as an unequivocal success? “19%” or 1 in 5 (Source: Centre from Creative Leadership

(Table courtesy of Dr John Sullivan)

And you think you’re so smart?

– Bob

Further Reading

Griffiths, A. (2022.). What You Need to Know About Unsuccessful Recruitment and Ways to Improve Your Hiring Success Rate – Hirenest. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Jan. 2022].

Live Interviews Suck Donkeys

Hiring sucks.

CVs suck.

And for many folks, myself included, who don’t cope well with live interviews, live interviews suck donkeys.

And that’s before we consider the impact of a wide variety of implicit cognitive biases and prejudices – such as sexism, racism, ageism, etc. – on the hiring process. Impacts which are inevitable when hirers get to see the candidates and their gross visible characteristics (gender, ethnicity, age, etc.).


What’s the alternative? When I’m hiring people, I’d much rather script a list of salient and insightful questions, and give candidates the opportunity to consider them and respond, coherently, at the pace that best suits them. After all it’s not like these are the kind of questions where one can find the answers on the internet, all neatly pre-packaged and gift-wrapped.

And when being hired, I’d much rather have the opportunity to present coherent and considered responses to questions, rather than make up some lame and half-assed response on the spur of the moment.

Are we hiring people for their skills at live interviewing (i.e. politicians) or for their skills in actually doing the job at hand?

How do you feel about live interviews?

– Bob

More Employable

Ineffectiveness is the norm (in particular in the software and collaborative knowledge work fields).

Therefore the less effective someone appears to e.g. hiring managers, the more employable they are. The ineffective fit right in, don’t challenge norms or ruffle feathers, and appear a competent “good hire” even as they join in with sustaining and compounding the organisation’s prevailing ineffectiveness.

Simple Truth

This simple truth explains why some many organisations are so poor at developing tech products, and software more generally. They unwittingly hire “good fits’ i.e. the profoundly ineffective. And never realise the productivity improvments, etc., that they’re leaving on the table.

The (modified) Marshall Model chart (below) illustrates the situation:

How might we help these organisations appreciate their dire situation? Is that even possible?

– Bob

Further Reading

Peters, T.J. and Waterman, R.H. (1982). In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-run Companies.  Profile Books.

Marshall, R.W. (2021). Quintessence: An Acme for Software Development Organisations. Falling Blossoms (LeanPub).

The Unemployables

There’s a saying in recruitment that the best jobs are never advertised.

There’s another idea, not quite a saying as yet, that the best candidates are unemployable. Allow me to explain. 

Most vacancies as advertised are shaped to fit the mediocre candidate. Any candidate with outstanding skills, experience, capabilities and insight is such a poor match for the position as advertised – with job description, education, certification and experience requirements, and all – they’ll never get past the first filters / gatekeepers (people with no understanding of what it really takes to excel in the job).

The outstandingly capable candidates are thus, for all intents and purposes, practically unemployable.

This leads to my regular refrain – the recruitment / hiring market is irredeemably broken.

Irredeemably broken? Yup. At least until those who unknowingly suffer the consequences of their organisations’ hiring mediocre candidates (CxOs, particularly) go to the gemba and begin to see what’s ACTUALLY happening in their name.

– Bob

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