Hiring In a Post-Weinstein World : Blockchain to the Rescue
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Hiring In a Post-Weinstein World : Blockchain to the Rescue

By Bharat Berlia November 10, 2017 - 9,877 views

In the immediate aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein saga, human resource departments across industry verticals have had to deal with a tsunami of harassment complaints, leading to dismissals, compensations, and expensive lawsuits.

Every hiring manager, whether at BBC or at a smaller organization, has asked the same question to themselves: “Why didn’t I learn more about whom I was hiring? How could I have avoided the embarrassment that my hiring decision caused to the company?” They could not have made a better decision anyway. Because they simply didn’t have access to verified and validated information about every candidate that applied. They probably had access to a one-sided, colored, and mostly favorable review of the candidate. If they had access to blockchain, they would have made better hiring decisions and avoided complex and unsavory situations.

What is blockchain?

Often described as a digital ledger, blockchain securely records every transaction, communication, or event that must be recorded and verified. Consenting parties contribute data to a shared network where a varying number of people record transactions in a ledger that only grow over a period of time.

Once recorded in the ledger, information can never be altered or edited. Instead, blocks of transactions get stacked on top of one another in a permanent manner, with each block lending itself to be accessed by those who have the authorization to do so. Every block forms a chain with its preceding and succeeding block, thus validating the entire chain of blocks from the beginning of time to eternity.

All these complex and encrypted recording of transactions take place automatically in the backend with the help of blockchain software. In other words, information stored in blockchain is literally indestructible. To tamper with information stored in blocks, a malicious entity will have to edit information on every computer where the block is stored, at the same time, which simply isn’t possible. Digital ledgers can be public, private, or semi-private. They can vary in size and may grant anonymous access or may not.

How blockchain revs up the hiring process

Blockchain technology has been around for many years now, and people usually associate it with Bitcoin. However, blockchain technology has many other important implications, especially in the hiring process. With every event that could influence a hiring decision recorded in blockchain, forming that perfect team gets so much easier.

As a norm, hiring managers have depended on background checks, recommendation letters, references, qualification assessment authorities, etc., to access a wide range of opinions regarding a candidate. On top of these varied sources, a hiring manager also has to qualitatively evaluate a candidate during many rounds of interviews.

BBC alone saw more than 25 claims of harassment after the Harvey Weinstein scandal kicked off. Somewhere, every hiring manager knows, if they had access to verifiable insight into a candidate’s character and conduct, all this could have been avoided. Blockchain not only helps you verify a candidate’s credentials and identity, it helps you evaluate his or her character and past conduct.

As blockchain isn’t controlled or stored on a single server, data stored cannot be tampered with. Blockchain technology is all about transparence, made possible by decentralization of technology and distribution of digital ledgers across nodes. No block is stored only on a single computer but is rather stored on shared networks, which makes tracking and verifying each event and data so much more credible. In other words, a candidate cannot present only their most favorable reviews, while keeping unfavorable evaluations hidden.

To put things in perspective, blockchain encrypts every verified document or event related to a candidate, right from the recommendation letters written by processors to certifications earned, appraisals in previous organizations, any legal issues, defining events in social media activity, and helps build a psychographic profile of the individual over a period of time, all backed by hashes stored in previous blocks.

Clear benefits of using blockchain during hiring:

  • Execute hiring contracts when certain conditions are met
  • Conduct audits in a super-efficient manner
  • Store and access verified files
  • Use blockchain in combination with predictive analysis to foresee employee outcomes
  • Use smart contracts to protect all your intellectual property, and prevent employee fraud and theft
  • Track and analyze social media content
  • Use distributed ledgers to develop and access universal digital identities
  • Avoid expensive lawsuits and claims
  • Create a safe working environment for the rest of your team
  • Add value to your organization and team by hiring someone who will fit in
  • Evaluate candidate’s compatibility with your work culture

Between you and your candidate, there will be no middlemen

Blockchain removes the need for middlemen and intermediaries, ensuring that information sought about the other entity is validated and guaranteed as “true” by blockchain technology. If you plan to hire a new senior-level manager for your organization, you can not only make sure that he actually got that Yale degree he claims to have, but also make sure that he did not bully someone at a job he held 10 years ago.

As an employer, you will have access to his education, grades, conduct, and character, joining and exit dates at previous organizations, performance scores, etc. In other words, blockchain acts as an instant background check, especially when it can correlate events and information recorded in social profiles. For example, if you gain access to Blockcerts, you can immediately access verified and validated records of an individual’s qualifications. What makes blockchain truly remarkable is, you do not have to depend on just the quantifiable measures such as scores, certifications, and lack of criminal history. You can access qualitative information about a candidate built up over years, thanks to recommendation letters, appraisals, performance reviews, etc. Combine all this with predictive analysis and social media data, the sky is the limit.

Build better teams, and a safer workplace

In the end, blockchain helps you foresee whom you are hiring if they are fit for your team, and how you can reduce risks associated with hiring someone you don’t know much about. You will be able to save time and money by avoiding hiring the wrong person and the costs associated with such wrong decisions.

Blockchain technology in hiring domain is still conceptual. However, with the way things are going in technology, and with a renewed need to avoid controversies and bad hiring decisions, blockchain-based hiring will become a necessity. With new-age entrepreneurs coming up with creative ways to bring hiring solutions to managers and organizations, blockchain is going to get big. In the end, you will not have to worry about scandals in your organization, and you can hand out contracts to the right people.

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