I’ll be honest, I never expected to see myself here… I’ve looked for well over a year at positions within the ever-expanding cybersecurity field – but nothing stood out. Were the offers for salary high? Were there well-known companies hiring within the industry? Most definitely. But no positions really spoke to my interests. Positions that truly attracted that deep, inner curiosity.

Until now.

I write this to highlight a key breakthrough I’ve encountered so far at Social-Engineer, LLC (SECOM), that until now, I hadn’t truly grasped at a fundamental level. Gaining the perspective of a beginner within the field wouldn’t have been achievable at this speed through simple study and self-practice. I am not here to claim deep expertise. I am here to convey the initial breakthrough, not dismissing the fact that countless more are coming down the pipeline as I continue forward within the field. That said, I ask one trivial question: do you know how to leave someone feeling better for having met you?

I sure thought I understood this, until now.

a beginner's take on social engineering


Upon arrival, the team at SECOM was working in full force to end the year on a high note. All around me seemingly impossible call quotas for vishing (voice phishing) clients provided no lull in action from day one. Looking back on this timeline of events, I realize I began at the most opportune time. No other time of the year would’ve provided me the opportunity to continuously refine my strategies and enhance my creative muscles throughout every vishing engagement, day in and day out. A continuous feedback loop, fueled by both my personal analysis and from professional team member critiques along the way.

Quite literally, it took no more than a few calls to begin seeing patterns emerge. By utilizing foundational rapport building and influence techniques, I was able to elicit information from individuals within the first few vishing engagements I’ve ever performed in my life. With that, the previously mentioned feedback loop kicked into overdrive… I was working through vishing calls and getting floods of dopamine every time I elicited information from an engagement. Notably, this dopamine rollercoaster was hard to step away from. But, as my first day of work began to wind down, an intense feeling washed over me.

Now What?

After taking a moment to decompress and analyze my entire first day; filled with meetings and vishing engagements, I noticed that feeling was still there. Confused, I dug deeper. Only after time spent listening back through my engagements throughout the day, was I able to find what was truly brewing in the background.

I had found amazement in the effectiveness of the seemingly basic influence techniques used throughout the day’s calls. That feeling was a realization of the power behind even the most basic understanding of human behavior. I had witnessed firsthand that by leaving people feeling better for having met me, not only was I able to elicit unimaginable amounts of data over the phone, but also collect valuable intel on how to best educate and protect our clients.

The New Understanding

Before this perspective shift, or realization of sorts, I could regurgitate information I’ve read from books like ‘Human Hacking’ by Christopher Hadnagy, or ‘It’s not all about “ME”’ by Robin Dreeke regarding rapport building, pretexting, nonverbal accommodation, validation and more. And yes, I had some experience practicing the techniques on family members and close friends to build closer relationships and make the environment more positive. But when I would hear the phrase “Leave them better for having met you,” I can now take a step back and realize that I never comprehended the true meaning of that phrase.

Only now, with the sheer volume of practice within a singular day, could I truly begin to understand the importance of empathy and leaving the other individual feeling better for having met us. The importance, in the testing and training environment at SECOM, of creating an atmosphere for learning and improvement cannot be understated. One can only begin to imagine what realizations will pop up as I continue my journey forward within this field.

Above all, my limited time thus far at SECOM has allowed me to experience in a condensed timeframe what would’ve taken me months (if not years) to learn by myself. Without a doubt, more beliefs will continue to be challenged, broken, changed or reinforced, at an increasingly exponential rate moving forward.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

With great power comes great responsibility. How will I leverage this power to deepen both my relationship with myself, as well as those around me? Well, only time will tell, as I continue to approach every interaction with the goal of leaving them better for having met me.

Written by:
Carter Zupancich
Human Risk Analyst at Social-Engineer, LLC