How Blockchain can disrupt recruitment and HR

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24 June 2019 by Paul Howard
Team Skills Recruitment Infrastructure Engineering IT Science

What’s the next step in the technological revolution? Blockchain technology 

The recruitment industry is constantly evolving alongside technology. It wasn’t long ago when traditional paper based applications were the only way to apply for roles. Now we have the convince of digital based systems and even more recently cloud based professional networking platforms like LinkedIn. Social Talent have a great infographic on the evolution of technology in the recruitment industry you should check out.   

Blockchain is the foundation of the digital currency Bitcoin however there are far more applications that blockchain technology can be utilised to help improve many industries.  To put it in simply Blockchain and Bitcoin are not the same. Bitcoin uses blockchain technology but blockchain can be used in many different contexts which have nothing to do with bitcoin or cryptocurrencies.

The technology behind it all is quite complicated but the blockchain is a secure public ledger which gives participating parties a way of validating the information related to a transaction. In doing so, it speeds up the process and cuts out any middlemen. 

A good example is in the banking sector. If you send money to a friend, you usually have to use your bank, who then sends it to your friend's bank. The ledger of your bank will show the money being taken out. The ledger in your friend's bank will show the money being put in to his account. But without a bank, how would you send money over the internet? Instead of "trusting" the banks to do the work, you can use a public blockchain, which doesn't rely on trust of any entity except the blockchain itself. It's a distributed ledger that is made in a way so that if a fraudulent transaction is attempted, or someone tries to "spend" the same token-of-value twice, the blockchain will by public consensus reject the transaction. It's a form of "trustless trust", and does not need big institutions like banks to work. 

This is known as a Smart Contract which can be defined as a virtual agreement of a transaction/exchange of goods or assets that may or may not involve money. Its main role is for two parties to conduct a business transaction/trade, that can be digitally self-executed and self-enforced, acutely eliminating the need for a ‘middleman’. This would transfer power away from those who currently manage or verify transactions – a seismic change to the way the world currently operates.

The traditional contract like those created by legal professionals today, rely heavily on middlemen or third parties be it for validation, review or authentication. There is also risk of loss, destruction or theft. A smart contract eliminates all that.

The blockchain technology makes the same problem autonomous. Since it is based on a decentralized ledger, there is no chance of theft as several copies exist on various computers that host the blockchain. Any change induced by a party, results in the other party(s) being alerted instantaneously. A Smart contract saves time, conflict and is cheaper as the middlemen are cut out and therefore there are no commission expenses.

4 ways which Blockchain can improve the HR & recruitment industry.

A blockchain is a distributed, shared digital ledger made up of a trail of validated facts. These facts can be anything from money to information. As part of this digital system of record keeping, each transaction and its details are validated and then recorded across a network of computers. Everyone who has access to the distributed ledger receives this information, and the parties agree on the accuracy before the block is replicated, shared and synchronized among the entities. A blockchain is virtually impossible to tamper with since each block of information references the block before it.

In an age when trust is both elusive and held at a high premium, blockchain's appeal is soaring since it presents a way to confirm, validate and authenticate both values and events. In human resources, talent identification, selection, and processing require employers and employees to engage in a lengthy process of data verification. From verifying the candidate’s educational qualifications to work experience, including consulting referees, this can be time-consuming during staffing. 
As seen in another use cases: once the record is created by the source and stored in ‘a block’, an HR system could link to that record and digitally accept its authenticity.

According to HR Technologist, “Oracle has applied for a new patent related to the blockchain — one that harnesses the crypto technology for bettering workflow efficiency. The patent is titled ‘managing highly scalable continuous delivery pipelines,’ and talks about leveraging ‘pipeline blockchains’ to serve as distributed information points for product delivery flows.”
Subramanian Iyer, a senior director with Oracle, has commented on how blockchain-based smart contracts could simplify onboarding and help organizations get new hires up to speed in less time. It seems that the company is now ready to move at full speed in that direction.