All you need to know about blockchains and their benefits to recruitment

You could be forgiven if you’ve filed knowing about Blockchains under must do/sort later, after all isn’t it all about finance and bitcoins and nothing to do with recruiting, staffing or HR?
You certainly wouldn’t have been wrong if you had taken this approach, as in reality although blockchains have been around since 2008, as part of the digital bitcoin currency concept, they have had little, if any, application in recruitment. That was until now.
At the end of last year, the UK’s leading IT Jobs Board, announced their partnership with the world’s first blockchain career verification platform APPII. This ground breaking move allows candidates to apply for roles using CVs verified by blockchains and ensures recruiters and employers know that the information is trustworthy and authenticated.

So what actually is a blockchain?
A blockchain is a digital database system of record keeping, where each entry and its details are validated and recorded across a network of decentralised computers.
The records are shared with many and everyone has access to the distributed database records (the block), however it is only shared after all parties involved have verified the accuracy of the information.
The chain happens as each block of information notes the block of information before which has a timestamp, ensuring it is impossible to tamper with or alter and everyone’s copy of the distributed blockchain is kept in synch.
Users can only edit the parts of the blockchain that they “own” by possessing the private keys necessary to write to the file.
As a blockchain is not stored on a centralised server or held by any one organisation there an extra layer of security.

So what benefits can blockchains offer recruitment?

  • Time and cost savings
    We all want finding the best talent to be easier and quicker. However, there is simply no getting away from the fact that for every candidate there is the frustrating, time consuming and often challenging task of verifying all their details. In recent years, as the nature of how we are educated and work has changed, the task has become even more costly and time consuming. Blockchain allows an individual’s CV to be pre-verified by the candidate’s educators, former employers and accreditors prior to them even knowing about the role, affording significant time and cost savings. So before your even past the initial contact stage, or before contact has even been made if the candidate allows shared access, a recruiter can have access to all the candidate’s different jobs and work experience, employment history, qualifications, accreditations, on-the job training and education and most importantly know it has been checked and verified. Now that is powerful.
  • Improvements to productivity and the candidate experience
    The recruitment process can be frustrating to candidates and at times all-consuming for recruiters. By reducing the burden of a significant part of the recruitment process, recruiters can become far more productive and ultimately focus their energies on making the candidate experience the best it can be.
  • Candidates can become a better fit
    Having a permanent verified record of a candidate will allow recruiters to develop more and more sophisticated candidate profiles, especially as information cannot be deleted, allowing for better and better candidate and company culture fits.
  • International recruiting can become easier
    The need to ensure rights to work and permits can be assisted by blockchain technology, as can the need to enable overseas secure payments.
  • They can become employee records
    Blockchain technology can become a permanent record which employees, employers and recruiters can benefit from. Details such as skills gained, goals met, pay increases and bonuses received can give a true employment history.
    This can especially benefit those who lack formal qualifications or previous work experience and all position including voluntary and contract working can be verified and recorded.
  • They can become ‘smart’ employment contracts
    A smart contract is simply an automation that executes an action on the blockchain when specific conditions are met.
    Smart contracts can be stored in blockchains and can manage any benefit that is contingent on an achievement, such as passing an online course or achieving a target, by being automatically triggering via a smart contract. This not only makes the HR function more effective but allows for a great employee experience and can help better manage freelancers and contractors, ensuring they only get paid when their task is completed.
  • Blockchains give power back to the candidates
    Blockchain technology gives ownership of their data back to the candidates and allows for more privacy. The likes of LinkedIn and Facebook collect your data and store it on their own servers. If their servers go down or they are hacked you could have your information compromised.
    There could even be a time when recruiters pay candidates to view their great CVs, authenticated by blockchain and held on decentralised database, instead of the job boards that hold and charge for access to their databases of CVs. At the very least, it could be an end to job boards and the likes of LinkedIn charging for access.
  • They can Help with the on-boarding process
    Getting a new recruit up and running involves a lot of actions: they need computer, passwords, key card access, an email account, electronic signatures, an office, a car parking pass – the list can be endless and so time consuming.
    Blockchains could allow many of these tasks to be automated using smart contracts stored in the blockchains. Indeed, leading technology company Oracle recently applied for a patent to use blockchain technology to create efficiencies in employee workflows.
  • It helps those working in the gig economy
    Imagine having all your employment related details associated with your electronic signature in one transparent block: security access, insurance, payroll, expenses, work performance, employment history, psychometrics etc.  You could gain work almost immediately, with quick payment.
    While blockchain technologies clearing have tremendous potential for use within recruitment, it’s still early days and very much a ‘watch this space’ situation. A recent report produced by leading professional services firm PwC, I think says it best about the application of blockchain to recruitment and HR: “While disruption from blockchain is more commonly associated with areas like payments and capital markets, its effects on HR will be profound and pervasive.
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