If the Fax Machine changed the Recruiting Industry, what is Blockchain going to do?

The recruiting industry has been quick to embrace new technologies. From faxing resumes to clients, to email, to now using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Applicant Tracking Systems – technologies that shorten the recruiting process have been quickly adopted. Even so, labor-intensive activities as the sourcing, vetting, and onboarding of prospective candidates still slow the process.

Validating candidate credentials, which now relies on email and phone calls, might soon benefit from blockchain technology. For the unfamiliar, a blockchain is an evolving list of records called blocks. Only those pre-approved to do so can make entries or changes to the block. No one person controls the information. Blocks are “linked” (creating chains) using cryptography. Blockchain applications could provide an encrypted network of “blocks” allowing individuals and companies to securely share information. A blockchain-enabled recruiting application could allow recruiters to instantly verify candidate data such as certifications, education, work experience, and even specific career accomplishments.

Although blockchain-based applications might be useful for many recruiting activities, one of the first is likely to provide access to a secure and verified set of credentials for job candidates through a blockchain resume. Blockchain resumes will reduce the time now spent on sourcing, vetting, and onboarding job candidates.

Sourcing Sourcing is the broad search for candidates based on criteria including education, certifications, and experience. Social media and other data sources offer a wealth of candidate information but even using today’s powerful search engines, building a pool of prospective candidates takes time.

By incorporating blockchain technologies into the sourcing function, recruiters will quickly refine their searches using verified and “truthful” data thereby improving the accuracy in identifying qualified candidates.

Vetting Vetting candidates also takes considerable time.  The current approach to vetting is vulnerable to fraud as credentials can be stolen, lost, or faked. Using blockchain technology, schools and certifying organizations could issue a secure, tamper-proof, pre-validated credential that will permanently remain part of a person’s block.

The blockchain would also store a range of personal and professional credentials, from driver’s licenses and bank information to work experience. With records on the blockchain, a verification process that might have previously required days of phone calls, faxes, emails, and searches would be instantaneous.

Onboarding Like candidate sourcing and vetting, employee onboarding requires a lot of time and labor, including repetitive paperwork, inputting information, and background and drug screenings. For example, because of the critical nature of their work, onboarding healthcare workers is slow. In the future, updating their certifications and immunization records will happen as they occur. If a new hire’s pre-validated credentials and other information were on the blockchain, it would shorten the time now devoted to manual tasks.

The Blockchain Resume

Over the years, there have been many attempts to create a verified resume but all have been stymied by the lack of a centralized “resume authority”. The challenge is that beyond education credentials and dates of employment, the potential for tampering taints all other information.

Blockchain recruiting applications offer a path to a verified resume. An individual’s history could be stored in a single “site of truth”. Schools could post degrees and education details, employers could share employment dates and job titles, and credentialing entities could make their information available. Once data is verified within a blockchain it cannot be modified and is immune to fraud. Candidates could then allow employers access to the needed records.

The blockchain resume would offer a high level, comprehensive overview of a candidate’s accomplishments. It would not contain details about work experience (e.g. what an individual did for a specific employer in a specific role). It would list where they worked, for how long, and their job title(s).

Building a blockchain containing this varied individual profile information is dependent on the widespread adoption by the entities now controlling it – schools, universities, employers, skills test providers, and drug screening agencies. Currently, no organized effort to solicit the participation of all the necessary players exists; however, some organizations are embracing this new technology and laying the groundwork for blockchain resumes. For example, several colleges and universities, including MIT, have begun issuing “digital diplomas”. Other early adopters are taking steps to embrace the technology:

  • In Australia, the company Chronobank is developing a blockchain application targeting the use of Australian contingent workers.
  • In the UK, a company called APPII launched what it calls the “world’s first blockchain career verification platform”. Using facial recognition, they create a “trustless” system to give employers confidence that the candidate sitting in front of them is who they say they are.
  • There are also early attempts to monetize blockchain recruiting by creating a crowdsourced recruiting marketplace where participants can earn cryptocurrency or buy in to participate. While this approach appears of questionable value, it might spur thinking that generates less risky opportunities.


Blockchain recruiting technology has the potential to reduce costs and increase efficiency. For whatever its faults, well-conceived blockchain solutions, once developed, are faster, cheaper, and more secure than systems now in use.

Recruiters shouldn’t fear being replaced by blockchain technology anytime soon. Its adoption will reallocate their time from sourcing, vetting, and onboarding – to doing what they enjoy – recruiting high quality talent.