Knowledge Is Currency

I recently read Aaron Conway’s post about interviewing a candidate that seemed like a great fit for his environment, only to find out the guy was nothing more than a farce, and this got me thinking. We’ve been searching for a Senior Network Engineer for our team for as long as I’ve been part of the team. Which is almost a year now, and I’ve been told this has been going on for a few months before I joined the team.

I’d been lucky enough to be invited to a few interviews to start, and I was surprised at the content of these people’s resumes and how they would be able to talk the talk on paper, but when you tried to make them walk to walk they would end up not knowing the answers to low hanging fruit questions. Soon after the first few interviews, I’d been invited to sit in on almost all of the candidate interviews, and it just became more and more interesting…

Anything from being told they had spent “15,000 dollars” on a home lab to pass an IE level certification with their two years expired NP in the same concentration to being told that “they were a true believer” in our vendor of choice for hardware and that they had even gone as far as to privately purchase stock within that vendor’s company. That’s all well and good, but I can’t see how that really plays a role in what you know as an Engineer…

The way that I see it, and as I’ve read elsewhere on the internet. Knowledge in our field truly is currency and to pit yourself against someone who has invested the time, energy, frustration and nail-biting to earn their wealth, with nothing but lies and deceit is offensive. It tells me from the very beginning that you’re not in the field because you’re passionate and want a career and to invest in yourself. It tells me you’re a liar and are just looking to either climb the ranks as fast as possible with minimal effort, or you’re just a plain old run-of-the-mill liar. You’re printing fake money within the industry and devaluing the people who actually invest the time and effort to truly become a professional and an expert in their field. The same way a counterfeiter prints currency that will ultimately cause devaluation.

Stop undermining the system with lies and deceit. If you put something on your resume, expect to be asked about it and expect it to get specific. If you’ve used an application once and can “remember what the menu structures look like” or “can tell me how many lines down within the SDM output that information is contained”, then its not worthy of donning your resume. Really think about what you know and what you would consider yourself comfortable with, skills wise. You’ll be doing everyone a favor, including yourself. And you’ll prevent yourself from looking like an idiot that has no integrity.

And please do us all a favor, we don’t need literally 7 pages of bullet points accounting for your last 10 years of employment and every possible technology you’ve touched. Stick to 5 years. There are people out there who can remember everything they’ve done in their career and pick up a system that they’ve worked with 15 years prior and not miss a beat, but they’re incredibly rare.

So, long story short. Have a little integrity and if you want to be able to play hard ball with the more experienced individuals, invest the time and energy they did and you’ll not only be able to hang technically with them, but they’ll respect you more for it in the long run.