Blockchain Technology in Talent Acquisition and Recruiting: An Interview with Bill Inman

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By Ranjay Sarda

Regional Director of Business Development

Blockchain has become one of the hottest topics in the world of talent acquisition. Not only do blockchain professionals have one of the fastest-growing and most in-demand skill sets in the world, but blockchain-related job posts have doubled in recent months. But what exactly is blockchain, and how can it help businesses optimize their recruiting results?

I recently sat down with blockchain expert and SmartSearch Executive Vice President Bill Inman to pick his brain on why this concept is becoming more prevalent in the world of talent acquisition and how businesses can utilize it to shape the future of work.

What is blockchain technology?

According to Bill, blockchain is—in short—an immutable decentralized ledger technology. Its databases store information and record encrypted transactions on individual servers across the world. An evolving technology, blockchain is considered more secure than traditional centralized data. To access this information in specific blockchain-proof strategies, more than 51 percent of computers that store this information must be hacked—a nearly impossible task—which makes blockchain reliable and safe.

Is there an acronym that can explain blockchain?

Bill mentioned an acronym used in the blockchain community called ‘FITS’—which stands for Fraud, Intermediaries, Throughput, and Stable Data. So how do these phrases relate to blockchain?

  • Wherever there is fraud in a process, blockchain can help to eliminate it through its immutable records. For example, blockchain can help to eradicate misinformation associated with candidate resumes.
  • Whenever there are intermediaries, blockchain can provide a service to remove them. While recruiters will almost always be necessary for the recruiting process, some activities can be taken off their plates with blockchain.
  • Massive amounts of data, or throughput, can be better processed in a decentralized manner because users are not limited to a centralized processor or applications capacity. For companies with large amounts of information, blockchain can help to store and transact this data.
  • Blockchain holds records of stable data In the world of HR and TA, the industry’s affinity with different apps can lead to nightmarish information transfers when integrating systems or rolling out new ones. With blockchain, a business’s internal operating programs can be seamlessly connected.

How does blockchain relate to HR?

Rather than having to decipher whether something is accurate on a resume, during an interview, or with candidate references, this information is stored in the blockchain—thereby speeding up the hiring process. In turn, this also lowers cost-per-hire and time-to-fill metrics. Blockchain can also connect common HR platforms like VMS, ATS, HRIS, and background screening systems into one stable database. Candidates will be allowed to control—and release—their own data that is living in these disparate systems.

Here is one comment from Bill that both resonated with me and explained the limitless potential of blockchain technology: “There are so many use cases for blockchain within the HR and talent acquisition industry that we are going to see. This is like the internet in 1992 right now.” Not a bad comparison!

What are some other uses of blockchain in recruiting?

People know blockchain from its most popular current use case: decentralized finance, which consists of things like bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, or Polkadot. We’ve also heard a lot about NFTs this year, which are used to store value. One use case where NFTs may be valuable is in the statement of work arena. For example, you may insert $1 million dollars of SOW work into an NFT and smart-contract payments to workers based on milestones that are recorded in blockchain. Candidates can also store their resumes as trusted and validated NFTs that can be sent to recruiters. In this format via blockchain technology, candidates may also have better control over their data. Staffing companies can have more confidence that the information contained on the resume is entirely accurate. In the coming months and years, blockchain is going to be very pervasive. If recruiting companies can get out in front of this emerging trend, they will become more trusted in the eyes of their clients and their hiring managers. And if they fail to get ahead of it? Bill thinks they very well might become less relevant.

How can blockchain work together with artificial intelligence?

According to Bill, the combination of blockchain and artificial intelligence creates a converging technology with significant implications for the staffing and recruiting industry. In essence, these two capabilities can link together to form the “smartest recruiter on the planet.” As AI helps to analyze a candidate’s information and integrates it with different HR platforms, blockchain can install a sense of trust to keep this data in one unified and decentralized database. Rather than meticulously examining resumes, recruiters can benefit from optimized, AI-backed results that place quality candidates in the right positions at the right times.

Are there any potential downsides to using blockchain in recruiting?

While there are tremendous benefits to utilizing blockchain technology for recruitment purposes, this concept has the potential to disintermediate and take humans out of the process when completing certain task-oriented work. For instance, why do you have to call references anymore? Would there be a need for background check screenings? Bill believes that while blockchain has the ability to significantly disrupt the industry, the human element of recruiting will never dissipate. Instead, HR professionals may be asked to take on new responsibilities within the process so as not to duplicate efforts that are being handled by blockchain-based technology.

Are there data privacy and ownership concerns with blockchain?

Through the use of blockchain, candidates will have the ability to better control their data. In the best case blockchain scenarios, no longer will job seekers have to worry about their data being stolen or being used without their permission; instead, blockchain will bring this information back to the data owner and allow them to control whether their profile is available in an ATS or other HR system.

As a layman who wants to get into the blockchain industry, how can you do it?

Bill stated that individuals who are looking to learn more about blockchain should first acquire their own cryptocurrency wallet to teach them more about cryptocurrency. Even spending as little as $10 on bitcoin is an exceptional way to educate oneself on the nuances of this digital currency. In addition, people can spend time watching videos on YouTube—like those made by Coin Bureau—to enhance their knowledge of the industry from proven experts.

For more trending HR and recruitment topics, check out the Trends section of our Acara blog.

Want to watch the entire interview? Check it out on Acara’s YouTube page here.

Looking to connect with Bill Inman? You can discover his profile on LinkedIn.

Want to learn more about blockchain in recruiting?

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