Skills creep?

I have recently been recruiting for technical PMs to run infrastructure projects. Recruiters have been sending me many high-dollar candidates with good-looking resumes, but the majority of phone screens have been fruitless. Here is a sample of real exchange I had recently on a phone interview…

Me: “I see you have VMWare DRS on your resume, can you explain what that is?”

Candidate: “I don’t know. I cannot remember.”

Me: “How about VMWare ACE, or VDM, you have that listed as well.”

Candidate: “Uh, I am not sure. It’s been a long time.”

Me: “You have Nexus 7010 on your resume. Can you explain what you did with that.”

Candidate: “It’s a load balancer we used on projects.”

Me: “Isn’t that a Cisco switch?”

Candidate:“Oh, yeah, that’s right.”

Me: “Do you know where the 7010 would fit in a network design?”

Candidate: “At the network layer?”

Me: “Um, I mean in the switch topology.”


Me: “Well it’s a core switch. It’s Cisco’s flagship product”

Candidate: “Oh, yeah, that’s right”

Me: “And do you know where the load balancer would sit in the network design?”

Candidate: “No.”

Now the recruiter upbraided me when I complained, saying “He was interviewing for the PM role.  He has not been in a technical role for a long time.  I feel like you are wanting your Project Managers to be extremely technical… We are sending you PMs that have managed projects in the infrastructure space and some that have a technical background, but they are not engineers.” I was dumbfounded, and still am. Firstly, these aren’t technical questions. If you offer yourself up to manage technical projects, you don’t have to be hands-on, but you have to have a clue. This fellow boasted of 15 years of hardcore data center project management in his resume and was asking top dollar. Secondly, he proudly listed those technologies at the top of his resume. Why on earth would one put things on his resume that they cannot even explain what they are? That approaches dishonesty. Just because you walk past a Cisco Nexus 7000 and notice how big it is doesn’t mean you get to list that as a skill on your resume. I am seeing the same thing with process items, such as ITIL and SAS70. I was trying to think about a word or metaphor for this gross exaggeration. A Google search turns up “inflated resume”, but I am thinking “skills creep”, maybe?