Haha yes. The test of a true engineer is if they can reverse engineer what already exists.
I happen to agree. Except in two cases:
•Where a specific procedure should be followed in order to achieve a certain consistent result
•Where the equipment may be so obscure that any regular engineer, no matter how good they are, may simply have not come across it
But otherwise time is too short and there are far more interesting things to be doing other than documentation (say all engineers I am sure.)
Although I will concede one thing, in my current job I handle circuit documentation quite religiously. We deal with an absolute mountain of circuits now that its impossible to expect anyone to remember.
When I hired people to replace me at my former work place I used a lab scenario to work out just how clued in they were. I configured a couple of routers and a switch and introduced a couple of errors that meant certain devices could ping each other but others couldnt, and the candidates had to work out why and implement the fixes. One guy took about an hour before I just had to give up and give him the answers (yeah I actually gave him that long...), and another guy worked it out on his own in about 5 minutes.
And when I say a couple I really do mean a couple, 2 to be precise. One was a simple subnet mask mismatch, and the other was a statically configured ARP entry for an IP pointing to a MAC address with only a subtle variation from the original (two swapped characters next to each other.)
I was actually really pleased with the result of this test, it really showed who had experience and how they went about digging information out and checking through things. I would use it again.