December 1st, 2018

Unblocking blockchain recruitment

Unblocking blockchain recruitment

December 1st, 2018

Part of blockchain for HR series

Did you know that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to Gallup research run in 2017? And in their recent study, PwC found that 80% of CEOs are worried about the availability of critical skills for their companies and  91% of CEOs agree that they need to strengthen their organization’s soft skills to sit alongside digital skills.

With that statistics, the only question that pops up in my head is:

“What the heck human resources managers are doing during their working hours?”

So, what exactly is wrong with HR?

Yes, many things are wrong with this crucial line of business at the moment: lack of talent had become one of the most significant issues in 2018 when 72.8% were struggling to find appropriate candidates. Also, 86% of hiring managers and 62%  of employers felt that the labor market became candidate-driven. So it’s not only hard to find a perfect fit but also lure that person into working for a particular company and retain his or her loyalty (especially, talking about Millennials and even more so, Gen Z) is turning into one of the central corporate mysteries.

On top of that, more challenges come up like balancing the speed of hire with the quality, lack of efficiency during the recruitment process and the inability to use data effectively.

And although according to Deloitte findings 71% of companies  believe that people analytics is one of the top HR priorities, it’s been calculated that as little as  8% of businesses participated in the research thought they have usable data.

What a disaster! Can we fix it?

We sure can. As predicted by Gartner, there are various technological disruptions on the way to save the day. In their list of ten strategic technology trends for businesses in 2019 Gartner mentioned:

  • augmented analytics (“…Through 2020, the number of citizen data scientists will grow five times faster than the number of expert data scientists…”),
  • artificial intelligence (“…By 2022, at least 40 percent of new application development projects will have AI co-developers on their team…”),
  • digital twins (“…By 2020, there will be more than 20 billion … digital twins will exist for potentially billions of things…”),
  • and, of course, among many others, our old friend, blockchain.

It’s fair to point out that Artificial Intelligence has already rammed its way to corporates’ hearts and proved to be useful: Coca-Cola used it to analyze data from self-service soda fountains and, as a result, back up the decision to launch Cherry Sprite. Morgan Stanley provided 16,000 of its financial advisers with algorithms that automate routine tasks, freeing time for more impactful activities like dealing with customers. And Unilever has been hiring people using AI and neuroscience-backed brain games.

Wait, so what about the blockchain?

As for the blockchain, well, to quote Gartner’s executive David Cearley, analyst and vice president of Gartner Research:

Current blockchain technologies and concepts are immature, poorly understood and unproven in mission-critical, at-scale business operations.”

Nevertheless, giants like Deloitte, Accenture, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Mastercard and more are amongst the companies that are actively hiring blockchain personnel.

In their recent report on how blockchain technology will impact HR, PwC mentioned the whole range of possible use-cases including verifying the merits of potential recruits, fully trusted and transparent documenting of education, skills, training, etc. And it’s a real problem, whatever you might think, according to Employment Screening Benchmark Report 2018 by HireRight, 84% of respondents have found a lie in a resume.

On top of that, managing cross-border payments and employee mobility, including international expenses and tax liabilities, enhancing fraud prevention, boosting productivity by automating some routing tasks like VAT administration and the payroll.

So there’s a future for blockchain in HR. And the number of up and coming startups that are trying to solve some of its burning problems is impressive.

The ultimate list of blockchain-based recruitment projects:

Future Times decided to analyze what’s going on in the field, figure out the existing projects and their progress. This is the first article in the series. And we are starting with what blockchain folks have to offer for improving the recruitment process. As a part of this experience, we’ll introduce you to the teams that are willing to crack down the problem.

Some products are downright horrible, some are even worse…

… but some are not that bad at all, oh, and we are mentioning those in the alphabetical order. The purpose of this list is to introduce you to the options and let you form your own opinion on whether or not blockchain is about to fix the hiring issues forever.

#1 APPII

APPII is using blockchain technology to enable the verification of CV credentials by educators and employers, and match those verified CV details to job requirements.

Individuals are initially verified via biometric identification, they then log their career assertions and have them confirmed by associated organizations.

As mentioned among the product’s features upon registration, as an employee you’ll receive a personal QR Code and an opportunity to connect with “100s of leading employers and institutions”.  There’s no information on the native platform’s token or funds raised, product development, and partnerships with prominent employees. However, there is a registration available to give it a spin. Twitter feed is quite active, but mostly has relevant content and conferences participation announcements. Nothing of a substance.

#2 Aworker

To be honest, I was severely confused about Aworker, the project that raised around $5m of funding during its token sale that ended on the 1st of October, 2018, according to ICObench. As the project’s landing page states, it’s a “protocol for creating apps using the verified data where people own their data.”

I mean: “WHAAAT?”

I think even Aworker’s team got the memo, hence their FAQ section where they have a question addressing precisely that: “I still haven’t figured out what exactly you are doing. Tell me, please.”

And the answer is, as follows: “Aworker is the only place that people will need in the future to manage their data in other applications, build their reputation and receive payment for the work done.”

Which is still a bit unclear. Who’s this product for, businesses, people, developers?

Luckily, though, clicking the cute little button saying: “Try Aworker” I was redirected to aworker.pro, that made it more transparent. This product is the “new standard of recruitment, where you get matched with the best companies and find the job you’ll love.”

Some working positions from actual companies are already available (mostly interesting for developers, though) and it’s possible to register on the platform. But significant growth (like the Launch of Aworker HR app for companies and recruitment platform development) is still ahead. The team is quite proactive with social media and generates lots of educational content. (Unfortunately not that much about the actual development).

#3 Caerus Connections

Caerus Connections is a blockchain-based recruitment and employment platform that can is available through a token-based subscription. They have a product in place, and use is pretty much self-explanatory: create an account, fill out your job-seeker profile, start looking for your new perfect job match (or do the similar things if you are an employer). And last, but not least: buy tokens to access upgraded features.

Well, there are tons of other places on the internet like that, right? Why bother registering to a job seeking portal that has zero visitors? And why buy tokens?

Even if the traffic situation wasn’t as horrific, the benefits of the platform are quite questionable, like “confidentiality is maintained throughout your job search process; your current employer won’t  know you’re looking” and “recruiters and employers can be alerted of your interest without jeopardizing your current job.”

But the most amusing thing comes when you browse through paid and free features of this exquisite product. It’s free to register your profile for a recruiter, but if you want to search potential candidates, view their details or message them, you have to pay $99 (or 3 CAER tokens) per month.  A little bit more for the candidates: you can create a profile and respond to the messages, but if you want to know who that message came from you have to pay $33 (or 1 CAER token) per month. I think LinkedIn has a stronger value proposition.

Most likely the project isn’t here for long. Its Twitter feed looks pretty sad and abandoned.

#4 ChronoBank

With this competition, ChronoBank seems like a winner. But they definitely over-promised a bit at the initial development state trying to build a full stack of blockchain-based HR related solutions including a hiring platform (LaborX), a multi-signature wallet (ChronoWallet), personal labor hours pegged cryptocurrency  (Labor-Hour Token) and a decentralized exchange (TimeX).

That’s great, really – it’s clear that the team put a lot of thought into the product.

But, for any overpromising Elon Musk, there is a bunch of unmet deadlines.

According to the project’s roadmap fully functional hiring platform, LaborX should have been up and running back in August, but it’s still not there.

Several releases were launched. The current version, 0.7, the core, enables Job Seekers and Employers to apply for and assign jobs respectively, as well as to manage each stage of the employment process. But more important and exciting features are yet to come: e.g. messaging, reputations system, making an offer, portfolio integration, file uploading, etc.

This team is really onto something regularly updating their community on the progress with the development and partnerships.

#5 CVerification

CVerification is supposed to help employers in making data-backed and safe recruitment decisions by identifying the best fit for the particular position before the interviewing process takes place. As predicted by the project’s team members, the company is due to disrupting the background check industry with the soon-to-be-achieved projected annual revenue of $2b.

Sounds like a no-brainer, but after the project’s initial coin offering ended back in September 2018, not much has happened. Startup’s Twitter feed is filled with announcements about yet another conference that team members are attending, but there’s no news about the product itself.

#6 HireMatch

HireMatch raised $16m during the token sale, that ended on 15th of February, 2018. Project’s supporters were quite excited about the idea – patent pending P2P employment marketplace with the native token used as the incentive to verify its participants. Sadly enough it doesn’t seem like HireMatch will ever take off.

According to the product’s initial roadmap, the public beta launch was scheduled for Q2 2018.  The last more or less sensible updates, like “ask me anything” sessions with founders, were happening back in summer. Needless to say that there’s no product yet and the company went into the silence mode.

#7 OUNA

Ouna is another industry disruptor. It’s core value proposition the assessment tool called “The Ounalyzer,” the technology that was born after 15 years of research and $4m of investments. This tool uses 12 parameters and 40 skills to assess the candidate’s experience and having gone through years of experiences and development it reached the accuracy levels the team is boasting with.

At the moment anybody can leave their email address using the form on the website and “get three months free with Ouna’s assessment and recruitment platform.” What will happen after those three months is a mystery. And, to be honest, the lack of transparency of this project, with no social media presence or blog, is a bit unsettling.

#8 Wavebase

Wavebase’s token sale ended in June 2018, with approximately $600,000 raised, according to ICObench. With the first soft cap of $2m and a hard cap of $20M, it’s nice to see that the project is still alive at some degree. The startup is striving to build a blockchain solution for employee authentication, performance tracking and information about previous roles in various companies.

Although the project’s blog is suspiciously silent about any recent turns in product development, and the most of the ongoing publishing content are intros to the team members, you can still register a free account on the platform for Data-driven appraisal system, qualitative feedback and recognition, and real-time analytics.

#9 Zinc

Zinc seems very persuasive and thought through. This blockchain-based hiring platform recently raised $2.89m of funding and now going full speed with development. The goal is to build an ecosystem where individuals, companies, and recruiters can interact reasonably and hiring decisions are made based on real, trusted insights/work proof.  Workers are paid for skills data sharing. Companies will use the platform’s native token, ZINC, to reach out to the workers, registered in the network.

The public version of the platform was launched in September, but the team has never stopped posting updates on the product.

Another fantastic thing with Zinc is the project’s decentralized governance and token sale rules. If the team isn’t able to reach significant project’s milestones, token sale contributors will receive partial refunds. Beautiful.

Fun fact: along with the quite impressive recruitment experience, entrepreneurship, tech and blockchain, Zinc’s CEO and co-founder Luke Shipley was also a “Dragon’s Den Failure,” pitching one of his business ideas – meggings (leggings for men). And, well, he looks absolutely adorable in leggings.

Luke Shipley with co-founders pitching meggings to dragons

What’s next?

That’s all we’ve got for you today. But Future Times will keep you posted on more blockchain projects that have already build something usable. We’ll be tackling the Human Resources topic further (and many others). Along with the overviews, like this one, we promise to try, test and report (in every little teeny tiny detail) on some of the most advanced products that currently exist.

Stay tuned and let’s be disruptive together 😉.