Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Build on It

As part of a standard credit-check, I tried to contact the person's human resources department to verify employment. The tech company is well-known locally, its market cap between $10 and $15 billion.

Drilling down through three menus to find the phone number on the company's website, I dialed the main switchboard. It rang for half a minute then dropped the call. I tried again and got the familiar message "if you know your party's extension, dial it at any time." When a voice-recognition routine started, I asked for "human resources," which the disembodied voice didn't recognize. No human operator came on to help.

Using other sources, I was able to get enough information to satisfy the credit-check. However, it was disappointing that I had to forego one of the standard, easy means of foiling fake references, that is, calling the employer directly and not using the numbers given by the person being checked out.

The irony is that one of the company's best-selling services is internet security. In the old-school world security relied on practicality, common sense, and talking with, or better yet, meeting people. In the new world security is provided by companies whose technology is understood by few. A word of advice to the kids running these companies: don't throw out the old, build on it.

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