As part of our efforts to chronicle emerging technologies’ impact on both employment and our hiring specialty – Supply Chain Management and Procurement – we’ve written about Blockchain a few times. It’s a technology that’s still difficult for the lay person to understand, but Blockchain is popping up everywhere in the world of business. There are hundreds of possible applications (beyond just Bitcoin) that are poised to upend everything from finance, to supplier transparency, to medical record keeping, to voting, over the coming decades.
It’s a technology that still eludes understanding for so many, so let us try: at its core, a Blockchain is a distributed ledger. It’s a network of computers all working to verify transactions within a system so that there’s no need for a single trusted third party to verify that any transaction has taken place. For example, Bitcoin is a Blockchain that allows people to give and receive money without relying on a bank to verify the transaction and prevent people from spending the same money twice. How? The ledger is public, but encrypted, which makes all transactions visible to – any constantly recorded by – any other computer on the network without revealing who’s behind each account.
How can it be secure? Strength in numbers. Because there are lots of computers working to process transactions on any given Blockchain ledger, the computational power required to decrypt or compromise the Blockchain by bad actors would have to be greater than the computational power of the network itself. Because a given Blockchain has been publically recording transactions longer than any attacker, it becomes a near-impossible task to hack or compromise an established and active Blockchain.
Whew. Still with us?
The short of it is that Blockchain is a technology for providing trust in transactions that would otherwise require verification by a single trusted third party. Which brings us to a cool new application for Blockchain that’s just come up on our radar:
A recent Forbes article profiled one company, APPII, that’s offering resumes to candidates using Blockchain to record employment and education verifications. The basic idea is that candidates create intelligent profiles where they upload a photo to be examined by facial recognition software to make sure their face matches with the photos on their official identification documents (drivers licenses, passports, etc). Candidates then input “assertions” about their work history and educational attainment, which go on the block chain. Once a company has verified some aspect of the candidate’s history as part of the employment process, APPII records that verification on a Blockchain so that future employers don’t need to go through the effort of verifying it again.
It’s one application among many. For example, MIT recently rolled out “Blockchain diplomas” so that employers can easily verify who graduated from MIT and who’s just saying they did.
Whether APPII or any other particular startup in this area is successful, it seems obvious to us that Blockchain-based resumes have huge potential, given enough time for development and diffusion. With recent surveys showing that 85% of employers have found lies on applicants’ resumes, a smart application of Blockchain technology in this arena could be a game changer.
What are some of the effects if Blockchain-based CVs get widely adopted? Here are a few of our predictions:
- Candidates will obviously find it harder to misrepresent themselves and hope no one notices (e.g. that classic person who’s one credit shy of a degree, but pretends that they’ve finished it).
- Employers would save both the time and resources it requires to verify employees’ education and employment histories post-hire.
- Once Blockchain-powered resumes become more common, job candidates who use them would gain an advantage in the hiring process over those who don’t.
- They have the potential to disrupt the employment verification industry, which is an outsourced partner for lots of HR teams and recruiters.
- With the rise of high-skilled contingent staffing, the amount of time people are spending in any given job has been dropping. Pre-verified resumes can help speed up the hiring process for short-term contractors, allowing contingent staffing to become an even more powerful rapid hiring model.
As a recruitment firm, we’re intrigued about where this application of Blockchain might go. We’ve heard from so many companies who get weeks and hundreds of hours into a hiring process, only to find out a candidate has misrepresented their employment history at the finish line. So we’re excited to hear about any technology that could eliminate that scenario.