How Blockchain Can Prevent the Manipulation of Job Seeker Qualifications

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Many people embellish their resumes in order to seem more impressive, knowledgeable, or experienced. In fact, according to a survey from CareerBuilder, honest job seekers might be far more uncommon than we think. In the survey, 56 percent of hiring managers said they had caught candidates lying on their resumes. Among the most egregious lies, 25 percent of hiring managers said they had come across in the job market   candidates who had fabricated entire roles.

With numbers like these, how can recruiters trust anybody? Consider how easy it really is to lie about your previous work history and credentials. When reviewing resumes, companies mostly rely on the honor system. Even LinkedIn requires no further validation beyond your own word for the information on your profile. As a result, companies and recruiters must spend an excessive amount of time and resources to detect lies in the first place.

Trust and the Economy

Recruiters today deal with the daunting task of scouring LinkedIn and other websites to source potential candidates for jobs. Companies, meanwhile, must shell out a few hundred dollars in order to conduct a background check on a given candidate – a process that can take weeks. The loss of time and money due to such checks can be massive.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. More trust would mean less time and money spent verifying candidates’ credentials.

According to an economic theory based on a 2010 Harvard University study, the more trust that exists in an economy, the lower the cost of conducting business. In a recruiting process that takes place in a low-trust economy, a considerable amount of time and money is spent on verification alone. This is a problem particularly in the United States, where trust in the government is at its lowest since the late 1950s. Meanwhile, interpersonal trust is at its lowest since the 1970s. The lack of trust causes a “distrust trap,” which in turn leads to increased regulation and slower economic growth.

How can we increase trust in a nation that seemingly grows more distrustful by the second? The solution could be in our latest technology.

Blockchain as a Promoter of Trust

Often associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, blockchain has capabilities that go far beyond payments. At its most basic definition, a blockchain is a ledger in which events are recorded chronologically. The events recorded on a blockchain can be anything from payment transactions to education and job history, which brings us to how it can improve the recruitment process.

Blockchain technology has two features that make it an ideal solution to the verification problem in recruiting: immutability and timestamping. Blockchains are immutable, meaning that like the US Constitution, no deletions can be made – only amendments. Therefore, if a job candidate claims former employment at a specific company, a blockchain of their background can confirm whether or not the claim is true.

Additionally, blockchain technology can record other information that is of value, including a timestamp of each event in a person’s employment history. Blockchain is also especially beneficial for recruiting in sectors that deal heavily with international job candidates, such as engineering, as verification of job and education history can be particularly tricky when dealing with nations outside of the US. With blockchain technology, recruiters can deal with international job candidates and students with relative ease.

The manipulation of work history and school credentials is simple to do and difficult to prove, but that doesn’t mean that recruiting has to fall into the distrust trap. With blockchain as a reliable and efficient solution to deter lying on resumes, the recruiting process can be vastly improved by saving both valuable time and money.

Steve Chen is CEO and cofounder of EchoLink.

By Steve Chen