Identifying what parts of current recruiting processes are slow and opaque.
At one of the blockchain meetups that I spoke at, I was accompanied by a friend, whose full-time job was recruiting engineers for the company she was working at. After the event, we were on our way back when she started muttering something. I made out the words ‘blockchain’, ‘recruiting’ and ‘reference check’ when her uttering started intriguing me.
She then asked a question, “Can blockchain also help with recruiting?” It left me wondering. And I think, the answer to her question was a ‘Yes.’
⛓ Powered by Blockchain
I am a huge advocate of blockchains. Not merely from an investment point of view, but also because of the belief I have in the protocol that it can change how our society works in general. I can often be found saying:
I cannot believe that trust-delivery organizations will still control fifty years from now, the most important things in our life. Every family will be a part of several blockchains.
The change will span several decades, but the disruption has to happen today. It was not the first time I was asked a question along the lines of “How can blockchain affect the XYZ industry?” Over time, I have developed a framework to figure out where a blockchain fits in the entire industry. I think it’ll be useful if we take this example to understand the framework I use.
By the way, I am editor of a weekly newsletter, Unmade, which delivers one startup idea to your inboxes.
🤝 Where Blockchain meets hiring
You’ll need to start by understanding what exactly blockchain is and what purpose does it serve. Blockchain can serve a great purpose in an industry that has a lot of valuable data moving around (across multiple organizations). Hiring industry seemed like a perfect fit for blockchain.
What is the data that moves across the organizations in the recruiting space? People; and every tiny piece of information related to them.
There will be a time when robots will take over our jobs. Until that fortunate day (depends on how you view it) arrives, we’ll have to make do with human beings. Unlike robots, humans aren’t black and white. Neither do they come with a quality stamp. What if they did come with a reputation badge? Stop for a moment and think about it before reading ahead.
Over last several years of building ventures, hiring people and letting them go, the most interesting piece of information about people I have got to know was from their past immediate managers. I don’t talk to everyone’s previous manager, but I wish I could. Across the ventures, I would have known each person better. But it was a time-consuming thing to do.
What if this information about a person could be fetched simply by querying a database? But what kind of database? Blockchain, of course.
🗣 Decentralized References (and more!)
The current model of references is flawed in more ways than one. To start with — the references are provided by the candidate himself/herself. It is not necessary that the references candidate lists are the best people to know about him/her. It is entirely possible that the vital information that you, as an employer, might be looking for lies with someone else in the candidate’s previous organization.
There can be a blockchain that companies use to record vital information of every employee in a standard format. In fact, such information can be recorded at multiple points in time. Why just at the exit?
Liked how someone from support team handled a ticket? Appreciate it on the blockchain.
Liked how someone learned a new technology over a weekend to help the company move forward faster? Let the kudos spread beyond the walls of the meeting room.
Someone in your sales team did something unethically wrong more than once? Record it on the blockchain, so that the future employers are aware of it.
👣 Who writes and who reads?
I am yet to zero down on the best way to make sure only authorized people can write on the blockchain about a candidate. There are several potential ways to solve the problem of authorization.
Simplest but the most elaborate method is to create a private blockchain and on board all the companies individually. But it looks like overkill to me personally. If you are ambitious, it would a great way to go forward. Otherwise, a token on the Ethereum blockchain might help out just fine.
Every current employee in the company that wants to participate in the token gets a unique cryptographic key assigned to them. Anyone who knows the employee’s key can write the feedback about them on the blockchain.
Each of these minute feedbacks that a candidate would get from time to time would form his/her reputation trail in the network.
Eventually, when the employee leaves the company, he/she would be taking along his/her reputation trail to the next employer. The next employer would be able to quickly know things about a candidate that was not possible earlier. At least, not at scale and at that speed.
Economics would be such that writing on a blockchain costs nothing (thus incentivizing more feedback) but verifying someone’s reputation would cost (to de-incentivize the data exploit).
Such a token will have the usual chicken and egg problem. If you are pursuing the idea, you must make sure that you can bring a large number of companies on board. The ideal team to pursue such an idea would be the one who is already working with companies for their recruitment. If not, at least the founding team must have an extensive personal network of HRs that they can leverage initially.
Without companies accepting to put information on the blockchain, it’d be a futile token. Perhaps, a strategic partnership with someone on the likes of AngelList or LinkedIn might help. You might get to leverage their network of employers and employees, and they might get to use the data on the blockchain to enhance a candidate’s profile with something like a Reputation Score.
It’s hard to imagine why something like this would not exist in the world full of blockchains. What do you think?
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About the author
He writes regularly for world’s largest publications including HackerNoon, TechCrunch, TheNextWeb, CoinTelegraph among others. This story first appeared on Unmade.
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