Invented in 2008 Blockchain, is a technology that involves “chains” of unalterable ledgers, fundamentally for use in managing the cryptocurrency, typically the Bitcoin. In simpler terms, blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. It’s managed by a peer-to-peer network that adheres to protocols for communication and validation of new blocks. It’s compelling because it’s so unchangeable: blocks can’t be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority. However, more blockchain has more usage than that just for the Bitcoin. The blockchain is the newest tool in HR’s toolbox as well. Though the technology isn’t terribly new, HR professionals have just begun to find uses for it.
Call it exaggeration or stretching the truth, the fact is that many people lie on their resume. For recruiters and hiring managers, the problem is so widespread that in some cases it has landed up in bad recruitment. When it comes to resumes, blockchain technology has the potential to largely eliminate exaggeration. Schools can post degrees and educational details, employers can share dates and titles, and credentialing entities can make information available. Candidates could then authorize employers to access their records directly. Although blockchain cannot guarantee all exaggerations or flaws will be detected, it does dramatically reduce incidents of fraudulent points and helps employers get the most accurate picture of their candidate’s credentials before hiring.
Let us, first of all, try to understand the different things that can be done with a blockchain data:
- Blockchain data can be made public, allowing everyone on the network to add data.
- Blockchain data can be made public, but only authorized people can add data.
- Blockchain data can be made open for only select few individuals or organizations and only a handful authorized people can add data.
Role of Blockchain Technology for Employment Verification
Blockchain can help employers go directly to educational sources for verification of applicants’ claims. Last year, MIT became one of the first universities to debut a blockchain tool for human resources professionals to verify degree information directly. Employers or third-party verification companies may soon be able to use blockchain technology to perform background checks. Going forward, human resources departments could be able to use the technology to seek out ideal candidates who may not even be applying for open jobs. The essence of blockchain technology has been developed with the core objective of providing trust. It is nothing but a super-powered truth machine which is not owned by a single entity but available to all its users. The major reason for employers and HR managers to conduct pre-employment background checks is to ensure the truthfulness of the information provided by the candidate while filling their job application forms. This purpose can be solved with the help of blockchain technology if used properly while conducting background checks on potential candidates. We are still a year or two away from seeing the mass adoption of blockchain technology in spaces such as the recruitment industry, but its potential cannot be denied. Here are some ways of blockchain ha changed the face of the employee background verification.
The concept of blockchain can also be applied to individuals. Something along the lines of a digital ID that gets tracked using the concept of the blockchain, where you are able to see a full history of candidate’s school transcripts all the way to their work experience. As you might already know, the traditional background check is far too slow and expensive. It’s also a burden on candidates who don’t want to waste time filling out forms. So through blockchain technology, you will see significantly less time spent on calling employers to verify backgrounds, as well as less money spent on background checking services. And more time spent doing your actual job, which is matching the right candidates with the right jobs.
As recruiters pay job boards for access to CV’s that have been stored in their databases for ages. These CV’s might be old and unrepresentative of that candidate. They might even be totally fake, as falsifying what goes into CV’s has become too easy to do nowadays. We’re constantly seeing people who slip through the cracks, such as Yahoo’s former CEO, Scott Thompson, who quit the company after less than six months due to accusations that he falsified a computer science degree on his CV
Using the concept of blockchain technology, recruiters can have a real database of resumes, owned by the candidates themselves but where their qualifications and achievements are verified, and accepted, by the companies they had worked for in the past and the schools in which they attended. Hirers will be able to collect a log of a candidate’s history, and much of the time involved with verifying a candidates’ CVs are eliminated. So there’s no falsifying or fakery. It’s an authentic display of candidate achievements, education, and qualifications.
Candidates will also reap the benefits of blockchain technology, as it allows them to apply to roles knowing they are actually qualified for the role, and more importantly without worrying that other candidates might be applying with fraudulent resumes and qualifications.
The transparency within this system ensures a level playing field for all candidates. So it’s in many ways a win-win for both the recruiter, who is getting the most ideal and qualified candidates, but also the candidate, who is confident that they have the right credentials and skills to excel in the role.
The potential of blockchain cannot be ignored, but with any type of technological innovation, we can’t know for sure how it will affect our businesses. What we know for sure is that we have to keep up-to-date with emerging technologies in order to continue the on-going development of the recruitment space.
Future Potential of Blockchain
The big question is not how but when blockchain technology will play a critical role in conducting background checks. One thing is for sure that we are in for major changes when it comes to conducting screening of potential candidates. With the growing freelance economy and struggle for transparency, it has not been an easy proposition for organizations to carry out pre-employment background checks. With the emergence of blockchain technology, there has been a positive feeling when it comes to the future of background checks as it will provide added transparency to the screening process thereby lowering the costs making the transformation in recruiting very easy.
How blockchain will integrate with applicant tracking systems remains to be seen, but it could well be the next phase of ATS evolution. Imagine a system that allows candidates to direct HR right to their credentials for immediate verification. The benefits could go beyond time and money saving. HR could focus on the more important strategic aspects of the profession, like employee engagement, development, and retention. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize not only how we hire, but how we dedicate HR bandwidth.
cFIRST Think Tank is the team that researches and produces content for cFirst. This team comprises of seasoned content and digital design professionals and background screening industry veterans. Together we produce insightful blogs, infographics and reports meant for HR and background screening professionals.