Could Blockchain Shake Up Recruitment As We Know It?

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There’s no denying that the rate of technological innovation is changing the recruitment sector. While much of the discussion centres around how artificial intelligence and automation is set to disrupt the recruitment landscape, one area that’s still in its infancy is blockchain.  

Blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but any asset of value, including personal data—a resume for example. What this effectively means is that third parties that would normally facilitate a transaction can be removed. As a result, the use of blockchain for secure transactions, identity management, and storing digital records is gaining pace.

So how could blockchain revolutionise the way recruitment is carried out? And does it pose a threat to the traditional recruitment model?

The Application Process

While many people associate blockchain with the transfer of currency (via bitcoin, for example), the reality is that blockchain allows the transfer of any asset. And this includes information relating to individuals such as the details on a resume concerning work history and educational qualifications.

In an age where trust is elusive, blockchain clearly has huge potential within the recruitment sector. After all, the details an individual includes in their job application are arguably taken at face value (certainly at the application stage). And it would be remiss to suggest that everyone is absolutely truthful with the information they disclose. Take Yahoo’s now ex CEO, Scott Thomson, who claimed to have degrees in both computer science and accounting, which—when turned out to be fabricated—resulted in his swift exit.

The ability to use blockchain to validate an applicant’s credentials much earlier in the hiring process could not only reduce time-to-hire but also result in cost savings in terms of the processes and resources usually needed to undertake that validation.

Could Blockchain be a Threat to Recruiters?

While blockchain clearly has the potential to change the way recruiters process applications, could it also pose a threat to recruitment companies?

One new entrant to the recruitment sector is Sydney-based Chronobank, which uses a new generation of time-based currencies to pay workers utilising blockchain technology. The company plans on partnering with companies directly to facilitate the supply of workers through a decentralised labour exchange platform called LaborX. By using the platform, employers and talent will be able to connect directly and workers will be compensated in-line with their experience and skills, rather than industry-dictated payment rates.

While employers have been using the direct hire model for years and the concept of engaging talent online is gaining pace with the emergence of a plethora of players such as Airtasker, Sidekicker, and Weploy, the difference that a player like Chronobank will make is the use of Labour Hour tokens that will trade freely on the open market and be the currency that companies use to purchase labour. The tokens are based on average hourly wages in the host country which, according to supporters, means a fairer payment system for workers, particularly those operating in countries with rapidly fluctuating currencies.

The Future

So could Chronobank pose a significant threat to agencies? There’s always the possibility of it impacting high-volume transactional recruitment companies operating in the gig economy, but as yet it’s difficult to see how it could be a threat to niche specialist recruiters. And while new and disruptive models will continue to be a feature of an evolving recruitment sector, blockchain is still a largely unproven concept on anything but a very small scale.

For more insight on the trends, priorities, and challenges Australian recruitment companies say they’re facing this year. Check out the 2017 Australian Recruitment Trends Report.

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