The recruitment services sector has largely embraced the internet and the radical changes it has brought to the way in which businesses operate and people interact. Despite this, many of the challenges facing recruitment service providers in 2018 bear a striking resemblance to those in 1998: too many underqualified candidates, a failure to establish candidate trust, and a disconnect between candidates on paper and candidates in reality. In this article, we explore blockchain technology and the ways in which it may be adopted to solve some of the seemingly timeless challenges to the recruitment services sector. We also look further ahead and try to predict what the recruitment services sector of 2028, powered by blockchain technology, will look like.
Blockchain and the challenges facing the recruitment services sector
Too many unqualified candidates. Blockchain technology could be used to maintain an online digital ledger which can validate and store candidates' profiles, CVs and assessment scores in a safe and secure manner. Much has been made of the potential for machine learning and artificial intelligence systems to reduce the administrative burden of sifting through candidate applications – blockchain technology can be used to go one step further and only permit qualified candidates from applying or even seeing job openings in the first place, by reference to the data stored on-chain. The benefits to this approach for the recruiter are obvious: a dramatic reduction in administrative burden while avoiding the need to invest in expensive machine learning systems which will themselves become obsolete as the underlying technology improves. By eliminating underqualified candidates before the interview selection process even begins, recruiters and employers will be able to better focus on other critical factors of success such as cultural fit, long-term aspirations and core values.
Establishing candidate trust. The transparent and auditable manner in which data is stored on a blockchain also serves to benefit the candidate. Every candidate will have heard the recruitment horror stories, whereby CVs are sent to a recruiter in respect of a specific role only for the CV to be changed (often incorrectly) and distributed far more widely, even including the candidate's existing employer! Using blockchain technology, recruiters can provide candidates with verifiable proof that their data has not been amended and that it has only been shared with authorised third parties. This would go a long way to improving candidate confidence and trust in the sector by eliminating undesirable practices and making horror stories a thing of the past.
Candidates on paper vs. candidates in reality. A longstanding frustration of recruiters is that candidates often fail to live up to the version of themselves they present on paper. Indeed, candidates are often encouraged to exaggerate their skills and suitability for roles, whether by the recruiter themselves or more generally by the 'airbrushed' social media culture which pervades online professional branding platforms such as LinkedIn. Blockchain's ledger entries are verified by the network and operate on an append-only basis, meaning that data can only be added – previous entries cannot be altered or deleted. This means that the straight-A student would need to disclose that he or she required fourteen retakes to achieve the grades and employment histories will be complete and no longer omit the roles that were left in mysterious circumstances after a few short weeks. This will greatly improve the veracity of candidate data available to recruiters and their clients and reduce the number of interviews that leave interviewers scratching their heads when comparing the CV they have seen with the candidate in front of them.
Recruiting for 2028
Recruiting in 2028 may look very different to today's sector landscape. The challenges facing recruitment service providers are not going to disappear overnight, but blockchain technology provides a real way forward and a genuine opportunity for the sector to evolve.
Higher quality candidate data, more transparent selection criteria and greater trust in the sector are just examples of the way in which blockchain can power recruiting 2.0. Recent months have seen early attempts to completely change the sector's remuneration model. Aworker is a blockchain solution which incentivises engagement with recruitment campaigns by rewarding all participants in the recruitment process, from successful candidates and introducers through to recruiters and unsuccessful interviewees. The Aworker platform is young, but provides just one example of a new, disruptive influencer which has recently entered the recruitment services sector.
How we can help
Mishcon de Reya has a dedicated Blockchain Group which has deep market expertise and are able to advise our clients on all aspects relevant in the space. Together with our Recruitment Services Group, we can talk our clients through the various considerations involved in adopting a blockchain-based solution and help to design and implement platforms which are right for their businesses.
If you have any questions on this article or are interested in adopting a blockchain-based solution, we would love to hear from you. Please contact either Tom Grogan (firstname.lastname@example.org) or your usual Recruitment Services Group contact for more information.