Hiring Useless People : A Root Cause Analysis

Dr Stuart Woolley
Published in
5 min readDec 6, 2022


Can you guess the common factor when it comes to recruiting dead wood?

Photo by Martin Lopez on Pexels

I’ve seen many disastrous events during my time in the grand game of software engineering since I mistakenly played my first move back in the 1990s and have rather alarmingly been here ever since and pretty much all have of them have something pretty major in common.

See if you can guess what it is.

Problems have arisen on a regular basis primarily as a result of one or more of the following reasons:

  1. People who were hired because they were friends with someone in management.
  2. People who were hired because management thought they “knew the requirements” better than the actual people who needed the resources.
  3. People who were hired because they went to the same school, college, university, or correctional institution as someone in management.
  4. People who were hired because management decided they were “obviously qualified by the look of them” and therefore allowed a free pass through the conventional technical hiring pipeline put in place by people they’d have to work with.
  5. People who were hired because they bullshitted their way through an interview conducted solely by management who went all starry eyed as they were led up the garden path, flattered to within an inch of their lives, and as a result lost the ability to ask any relevant questions such as “are you an axe murderer?”, “are you criminally insane?”, “have you ever actually been near a computer, ever?

I really don’t think I need to illustrate this point any further.

When someone arrives either on the development team, in notional control of a project, or as an adjunct resource such as someone who professes some niche knowledge that may be relevant to the business¹ in some way… and no-one’s heard anything about it until they’ve actually been hired, put in place, and are sending emails to the ‘all’ alias then you just know there’s going to be a problem.

Or two, or three, or a whole lot more coming down the pipe.

A Technical Examination



Dr Stuart Woolley

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.