Recently RollOnFriday gave readers a glimpse into its inner workings when a firm's reputation manager threatened to sue. The consensus was that RollOnFriday wore the white hat in that encounter. But rarely, maybe once every 100 years, we get it wrong.
In my defence, Dawn Ellmore Recruitment has a reputation for inventing members of staff. And so when somebody tipped us off that one of its employees listed on LinkedIn, James, was a work of fiction conjured from a photo of a genuine employee, Luke, in which Luke wore a different expression and tie, they were pushing at an open door.
The transcript of the phone call which followed yields a peek behind the curtain which, sadly, exposes this RollOnFriday reporter as an over-excited gimboid instead of a titan of investigative journalism.
Receptionist: Good morning, Dawn Ellmore employment. How can I help you?
JH: Hi, could I speak to James Smithson, please?
R: Yes, could I take your name please?
JH: Yes, it's Jamie Hamilton.
R: Ok, bear with me one moment.
R: Hi Jamie, can I ask what the call's regarding?
JH: I actually need to speak to James directly about that. If that's alright.
R: Ok, bear with me.
James Smithson: Hi, it's James here, how can I help?
JH: Oh hi, is that James Smithson?
JS: It is.
JH: Hi James, I'm calling from RollOnFriday. I'm just slightly puzzled because I saw you on LinkedIn and I've been told that you've got the same picture as your colleague, Luke Rehbein. Is that an error on the platform?
JS: Erm, no. I've got my own picture on LinkedIn, thank you very much.
JH: Oh, so you're...because it looks to me like you're actually Luke Rehbein.
JS: ...No, I'm not [puzzled laugh].
JH: You're James Smithson?
JS: And I've got my own picture on there.
JH: It looks the same as Luke's picture.
JS: ...No it doesn't.
JH: It does, it's the same. It's the same picture.
JS: Where are you calling from, sorry?
JH: RollOnFriday, the legal news website.
JS: It's...not the same picture. I'm looking at my profile right now and it's...my picture.
JH: Because it looks like you just...it just looks like Luke's picture with a different face - different expression, sorry.
JS: Er, no, I think you're getting mixed up here, sorry. Thanks very much. Bye.
[JS hangs up]
[JH conducts frantic, silent analysis of photos]
JH: Oh *@~!*. He's right. They are pictures of completely different people.
James Dennison: No. Really? So you called him up and accused him of not existing?
JH: From his perspective that must have been strange. Someone just phoned him out of the blue and insisted he's not real. Maybe I've plunged him into an existential crisis.
JD: He's staring into a mirror, questioning everything.
JH: I can't write this up. It's too toe-curling.
Three months later I can. Sorry, James, for being a wally. You are real. You are real.