The Reason You Can't Hire

There's an old joke amongst software developers: A job description that requires 10 years of experience in technology X. Problem is X was invented 4 years ago.

This would be funny if it wasn't so common. In fact, it happens in more than just tech. I regularly am sent job descriptions by folks looking to hire. They too often are looking for people who just don't exist.

While there is a correct role and company for everyone, businesses mistakenly design roles that are impossible to fill. Strengths that let people thrive in a given role come with weaknesses that are fatal flaws in other roles.

To illustrate, let's consider a job description I received recently. It said basically "I want to hire someone to be a  great coder and able to manage our team."

There's a problem. That person just doesn't exist – or doesn't exist at the amount you're willing to pay.

Let's dig in. Say you want a great coder. That person will have to be able to focus for long periods of time on detail, often in solitude grinding away at a problem. They will likely find joy in that. They'll have a black-white worldview. They'll be tough communicators and often introverted.

But ask that same person to be a leader of people. How do you think that person will relate and motivate others as a manager? Not so much.

What to do? If you find you're looking for a unicorn like this, your problem is not the people. It's your organizational design and the solution is to fix that rather than send your job description to even more people.

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