Blockchain is already transforming the financial sector in the form of smart contracts, distributed ledgers and decentralised currencies. Now we're beginning to see blockchain secure grounding in recruitment and managed services.
For an organisation to flourish in the digital economy, it needs to stand at the forefront of technological innovation. This is true across all industries — whether it be recruitment, managed services or aeronautical engineering.
One of the major technological trends on the lips of everyone this year is blockchain. Most of us have become aware of it through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. And through architectural change, it is already transforming the financial sector in the form of smart contracts, distributed ledgers and decentralised currencies. UBS has already issued its ‘utility settlement coin’ for use in the financial markets, for example.
Blockchain, however, looks set to reach far beyond the walls of the city. We are already beginning to see it secure grounding in recruitment and managed services. From verifying CVs, to creating trusted candidate profiles, to reducing the logistical pressures on HR departments, there is huge potential for blockchain to transform our industry. No doubt we will also see more beneficial uses for the technology going forward that aren’t yet visible too.
Over the past ten years, transactional, communication and advertising spends have all been reduced thanks to the internet. Speed and efficiency have also helped us focus on adding genuine value through the products and services we sell — especially as the marketplace we live and work in is increasingly globalised.
With blockchain technology, these trends are not only going to accelerate, they are likely to move us towards a position we currently think unattainable. Every day businesses reap the rewards of digitisation. In the future, we are likely to be in a position where we can look back at these early stages of blockchain and recognise the revolutionary impact it had on society, commerce and humanity.
But where are we at now, and what are we likely to see in the near to medium-term future? And what positive, and potential negative impacts are we likely to see blockchain have on recruitment and managed services?
A significant amount of time in the recruitment process is taken up by verifying candidate identities. From checking that references are legitimate, to confirming academic qualifications, to making sure the candidate’s work history is accurate, this chunk of time could be used more effectively.
Blockchain technology offers a solution. Startups like APPII may be at an early stage in their evolution, but the technology it presents could revolutionise the way we recruit. APPII uses blockchain technology to verify education, CVs and career profiles. If employed successfully, it would allow recruiters to instantly confirm candidate identity. As Co-founder and Managing Director of APPII, Gary McKay suggests:
“It is imperative for employers to undertake due diligence on future employees in industries where health, safety, security, and the environment are given heavy focus. For example, in financial services if you’re providing your money to someone to invest, you don’t want that person to have been given their role by falsifying their CV. It is the same if you go to see a doctor or nurse. APPII has harnessed blockchain technology to help employers find pre-verified candidates quickly and at a lower cost and for candidates to increase their employability through pre-verified CVs.”
One of the questions surrounding this is whether it could spell the end of recruitment as we know it. The time saved doing this could reduce the number of staff needed to attract and place candidates — for some companies at least. But the best organisations will use the time saved verifying identities through blockchain to focus on making sure candidates and clients match culturally. Head of Innovation & Insight at Impellam Group, Charlotte Horton, is excited about the potential of blockchain in recruitment:
“The full potential of blockchain technologies are yet to be fully realised due to the maturity of the landscape but we see applications like APPII signalling a fundamental shift in the power balance between job seekers and employers. In these instances the need to consistently reproduce documentation and verify credentials is significantly reduced for job seekers creating a smoother experience and reducing the time it takes to start working.
Blockchain creates a trusted network, reduces the cost and more importantly puts job seekers at the centre of the pre-employment checks, referencing and ID verification. We’re enthusiastic about the possibilities that blockchain offers but recognise that we are still years out from seeing true business transformation as there are still multiple economic, technological and social barriers to overcome."
By focusing on cultural fit, candidates that are placed into positions that match their skills and ambition will engage with roles for longer. Likewise, companies are more likely to return to the same recruiter if they feel they are being provided with tailored staff that culturally match their business. For the best organisations in our sector, this is a potential win-win. Blockchain has the potential to improve retention and motivation — both vital in the modern economy.
If you’re already tired of hearing about GDPR this year you’re not alone. Making sure every aspect of an organisation is compliant can be painful and time-consuming — especially for an industry like recruitment that handles vast swathes of personal information every day.
The fact that information is decentralised on a blockchain which cannot be deleted will worry some in the legal sphere. However, it is possible with platforms like APPII for candidates to destroy their information by deleting their personal access key, which adheres to the ‘right to be forgotten’ aspect of GDPR policy. There are still some questions, what with blockchain being an early stage innovation, but it should make complying with GDPR simpler for organisations.
More importantly, all information stored on a blockchain is watertight. It will allow organisations to store huge amounts of data without the need to secure large databases — with blockchain, at no point can data be breached. As Divya Joshi of Business Insider suggests:
“Data cannot be overwritten, data manipulation is extremely impractical, thus securing data and eliminating centralized points that cybercriminals often target.”
A more exciting role that blockchain can play in the recruitment industry is through the use of crypto coins. Most of us are already au fait with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But the possibilities for digital currency to be used on a smaller, personalised scale, for individual organisations, is potentially huge. One idea might be to offer coin tokens for referrals which can then be spent on pre-determined products and services. But ideas that reach beyond this are likely to break out once we’ve started to fully understand blockchain’s true potential.
With new technology comes new scare stories that signal the end of all jobs. Whether it’s AI powered robots, the internet, or blockchain, there has been, and probably always will be doomsayers. But over the course of history, new jobs have in fact been created by technology.
Consider the digital marketing roles, or Java developer jobs that are commonplace today — 10 years ago they didn’t exist. With the fourth industrial revolution, new roles will be created. Our economy has survived and thrived under the previous three, and it’s likely it will flourish with the latest technological advancements too.
With more time to focus on cultural fit, the role of the recruiter will be freed up to do what they do best — engage in long-lasting personal relationships with both candidates and clients. We can’t predict the full impact that blockchain will have right now, but it’s sure to change recruitment, managed services and every other major industry on earth.
Organisations that choose to ignore it might just find themselves left behind.
For more information on Technology & Innovation at Impellam, click here.
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