Cutting through the hype surrounding bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies is not an easy task. From market boom-and-bust to security breaches, thefts, and hidden online marketplaces, it is easy to think of the entire sector as a murky underworld of organised crime.
In fact, blockchain technology could be just about the most exciting area to work in right now. It has the potential to transform myriad industries, bringing a wave of innovation and wealth creation. And, somewhat ironically considering its origins, it could introduce an era of anti-corruption and help to curb financial crimes.
With all that to offer, it’s no surprise that blockchain is attracting attention from diverse sectors. A lot of that attention is lip-service, hype, and gimmicks. But I want to suggest that recruitment is in fact one of only a handful of industries where blockchains can be used to their fullest potential.
Blockchain: the best recruitment software of 2018?
It has been a while since we last reported on blockchain technology for recruitment enterprises. In the intervening months, the market value of many top cryptocurrencies has plunged. Several pundits have declared 2018 “the death of cryptocurrencies”. But then – with more than 300 obituaries for the technology – it wouldn’t be the first time.
2018 has been a significant year in the field. Last year’s mania surrounding initial coin offerings (ICO) has faded. Many coins have returned to zero, with more expected to vanish from the market. But, while many cryptocoins have been (perhaps correctly) dismissed as transparent get-rich-quick schemes, others have kept their relevance.
But what’s so good about blockchains?
There are two schools of thought on this question. One sees the crypto space as an investment or speculative opportunity. It’s a money market with high volatility and is, therefore, attractive to high-risk investors.
The other side of the argument says that, in fact, the cryptocurrencies are not all that interesting. It is the underlying blockchain tech that will change the world.
But a blockchain is also nothing particularly special in and of itself. It’s little more than a public database, which is verified every ten minutes or so by a decentralised computer network.
The truth is a mixture of the two. A purely speculative money market adds little value to the wider world. It is unlikely to grow to the point where it impacts the lives of everyday folk like you and I.
On the other hand, the cryptocurrencies are the only reason why blockchains continue to exist. They are a by-product of the computer processes which verify and secure the blockchain. When pundits boldly claim that cryptocurrencies have “no inherent value”, this tends to be the fact that they have overlooked.
And if, as other experts state, blockchains can usher in a new era of transparency and openness, cryptocurrencies are the incentive that ensures it happens.
Blockchain use cases in recruitment software
Blockchains are a truly disruptive tech because they hold three valuable attributes:
- 1. They cannot be controlled by any single government, body, or organisation.
- 2. They are distributed, meaning that they are resilient against almost any attack.
- 3. They cannot be edited, censored, replicated or diluted.
Essentially, they remove the need for trust in any part of their information exchanges. If the blockchain network verifies a transaction, then that transaction is completed.
But the reason why experts cannot decide how significant blockchain tech is, is because of its real-world application.
In reality, there are very few use-cases where all three of the above points are truly necessary. Global finance, as it happens, is one industry that would benefit enormously from blockchains for these very reasons.
Healthcare has been touted as another.
And recruitment is a third.
The reason why recruiters could benefit from on-chain recruitment software is because, in this use case, a “transaction” can be one of information, not money.
The on-chain recruitment database
A blockchain for recruitment would allow your agency to widely advertise your candidates without the risk of being “cut out of the equation”. You would have greater freedom to share top talent with interested parties, while retaining an unbreakable ownership of that information.
A blockchain recruitment database would mean you could list your candidates publicly. Their skills and qualifications would be viewable by any employer on the chain. However, the identity of each candidate is protected by encryption. Crucially for your business, your agency is the gatekeeper – and the literal keyholder – of the encryption that protects this information.
Each time a potential employer views candidate information, the candidate received a small micro-payment in a cryptocurrency. It pays to be part of this network. That fee increases whenever the candidate is: added to a shortlist; called to an interview; accepts a placement.
But how do you fit into this picture?
Your agency role is transformed from a sort of “corporate matchmaker”, to an almost regulatory position. Your agency still collects candidate data. That data is still uploaded to “your” part of the recruitment blockchain. When an employer views one of your candidates, your agency receives a payment, too. That fee increases as your talent progresses through the pipeline towards placement.
But you win other fees, too. Just like today, these fees are reliant on the quality of your service.
If you put forward a suitable candidate, you get a fee. If your client confirms that your candidate was authentic, your fees increase again. As a consequence, your reputation as a recruiter also increases. More candidates seek you out, and more employers trust your service. Your database – and your fees – increase exponentially. The recruitment blockchain rewards open, verifiable quality in the service you deliver.
Blockchain: tomorrow, today
Blockchain tech is barely a decade old. It is a complex blend of cryptography, economics, network science and data security management. As such, it is still in its infancy. But the field has captured the imagination of technological innovators and progress has been swift. It seems quite likely that we will see a significant blockchain product for the recruitment sector within the next five years. Will your agency be among the early adopters when it arrives?