Hiring right in Trust and Safety
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
AI and Machines play an integral role in user safety and experience on the internet. Everything from transactions, logins, content updates, uploads, messages, searches, etc go through a stringent rigor of qualification checks to be able to be executed on the platforms. An integral part of this process still lies with people/human intervention to qualify them.
We have looked at trust and safety as sensitive and dark work of moderating and policing the web. What it really is, teams globally ensuring user and platform safety through analysis and decoding of transactions/data/content online. It is a crucial, rigorous and analytical one. There are certain qualifications that people have to meet, to be eligible to work on this work type more efficiently.
I have at various stages interviewed people across multiple roles (Front line agents, team leads, quality analysts, trainers, subject matter experts, project managers, product managers, and operations managers). In my experience, there are some qualities that are extremely consequential to have for effectively performing in the role. While each of these roles comes with a prerequisite of qualifications and experience that is needed, there are few common traits that I look for in each of the candidates.
Emotional Empathy and Intelligence
High level of Integrity
I find this to be extremely crucial for all the roles. A person who is able to keep themselves abreast about the latest trends, who is able to hustle and find solutions and can figure things out faster. Trust and Safety throw situations at you that are not traditionally simplistic. It could be a piece of content that is violating policies or they could be unauthorized access to an account. Violators are evolving as much as the services and we keep finding the loopholes which need to be closed. To stay ahead of them creates a safer environment for the rest of the users.
Cognitive empathy is an understanding of perspectives. The right vs wrong could have multiple perspectives and the mentalizing of the other person becomes important in decision making and understanding biases. I hold this to be one of the top 3 skills and qualities to have as a contributor to trust and safety.
Emotional Empathy and Intelligence
This would be top-quality to possess. A high level of emotional empathy is necessary for every role within trust and safety. While we say that, it is important to objectively look at everything hence the intelligence. The decision-making process needs a high balance of empathy and intelligence. Especially in people management roles, this helps in understanding and helping team members.
Why curious? Most problems presented to you usually are convoluted. A curious mind would find the right questions and eventually the answers to simplify decision making. This makes curiosity an important add-on of traits.
Passion I would call out passion for 2 reasons. Passion gives purpose. While I’m glad that I am passionate about making the web a safe place, I do have other passions like aviation. These give me the break and diversion to relax and revitalize myself. It is the employer’s responsibility to make an employee feel content and relaxed at work. Trust and safety can be overwhelming like any other job and having that passion condenses the steam.
High Level of Integrity
These roles demand an individual to be bias-free at decisioning, put aside personal choices, and stick to a logical and intuitive solution. Integrity along with empathy helps in being more objective in decision making while actioning subjective interpretations.
Resilience is an important attribute to be built in these roles. “Resilience to what” could be based on what an individual works on. There are triggers that could make some people uncomfortable and it's crucial to identify these to help choose the right roles.
While there are many more parameters in choosing the right individual to fit a role, I have predominantly looked for these qualities in people I have hired and they have always fit right to be among the top performers in roles assigned.