Hiring in Digital Trust & Safety

Hiring in Digital Trust & Safety

May 30, 2019

[Editor's note: May is Level Up Your Fraud Fighting with Digital Trust & Safety Month at Card Not Present, sponsored by Sift. E- and m-commerce fraud have evolved significantly in the last half decade and many fraud professionals feel that, to keep up, their philosophy must evolve as well. Check back here throughout the month for updated content detailing how some merchants are changing the way they think about risk and growth and how that is changing the way fraud departments operate.]

If you’re anything like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Patreon, and Airbnb, then you’ve probably thought about incorporating Digital Trust & Safety into your hiring plans. Unlike standard fraud and risk teams, Digital Trust & Safety professionals work cross-functionally to influence the whole product lifecycle. They’re stakeholders in any business decision that involves risk or revenue.

Digital Trust & Safety is a paradigm that encompasses your business’s mindset, processes, organizational structure, and technology. It empowers companies to balance revenue and risk decisions rather than siloing them. Running a business or a team with Digital Trust & Safety in mind requires more than just fraud prevention tools or a larger risk team. It’s a revolutionary approach that touches your whole business ecosystem.

If you’re on the fence about hiring in Digital Trust & Safety, here’s an analogy that might help. The legacy approach to hiring in fraud and risk prioritizes detective work. Detectives parse bad users from good ones by examining clues like clicking on a page, putting an item in a cart, or inputting a credit card number. They don’t pay much attention to a customer’s behavior on the site over time. Their goal is to impact the company’s bottom line by reducing losses rather than by enabling new business growth. Detectives are loners, working in silos to make insular decisions about fraud prevention.

This approach is harmful not just for your company but for your customers. When a user experiences fraud on their account, the customer support team is often your first line of defense. Customer support doesn’t always know how to rehabilitate the user’s account, and the user might not know what to ask for. At this vulnerable moment, when your customer is worried and confused, you might be unintentionally giving them the runaround.

Digital Trust & Safety professionals, by contrast, are commandos. They have a Swiss Army knife of abilities: negotiating skills, data literacy, and technical expertise. Adept at working cross-functionally, commandos have a deep understanding of the product lifecycle and customer journey. Unlike the detective, who looks for clues to solve the crime after it’s happened, the commando uses data to stop fraud before it happens. Instead of impacting the bottom line by mitigating risk, commandos are proactive. Their decisions empower the business to expand more aggressively.

Convinced? Here are three things to ask when evaluating a candidate for a Digital Trust & Safety position.

1) Are they comfortable working cross-functionally?

A Sift survey revealed that 57 percent of companies believe their revenue and fraud goals aren’t fully aligned. Digital Trust & Safety commandos have to serve as stakeholders in growth and product decisions. They should feel equally comfortable working with the finance team to determine how fraud is impacting the company’s bottom line, and working with customer support to figure out how fraud is driving user complaints.

2) Are they data literate?

Fraud and risk teams must be deeply analytical. Ideally, they should have skills like SQL and basic Python. At a minimum, they should be able to talk through KPIs with product, finance, and other teams. Digital Trust & Safety commandos can read data like a book.

3) Do they have technical expertise?

Cutting-edge technology like machine learning is crucial to effective fraud prevention. Digital Trust & Safety professionals should have working knowledge of machine learning systems that can adopt to risk in real time.

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