[This article was originally published in Healthcare Quarterly 13(1).]

John Rogers (not his real name) found himself across the boardroom table from a selection committee, as one of over 100 applicants competing for three vacancies on the board of governors. After a comprehensive interview and an even more extensive reference-checking process, John hoped the rigorous selection procedure would bring about a result in his favour. What was so unusual about this competition? If he won, he would be expected to work for free.