Since the turn of the millennium, digitisation has revolutionised every aspect of the human experience. Most of our lives are now conducted online and this is true of the recruitment sector. Online job applications now account for over half of all employment inquiries.
From qualifications to occupational history, you need to be sure that any candidate you engage as a recruiter has skills relevant to their role. Confirming these credentials can often be the most frustrating part of candidate onboarding, costing both time and money. This is before you even consider how many people lie on their CVs.
Lying on CVs is endemic in recruitment. Some reports show that as many as 63% of job seekers have lied to help gain employment. Digital identity technologies seek to mitigate this by providing recruitment decision-makers with a more reliable system to assess candidate suitability.
Digital Identity, refers to technology that allows individuals to share their verified credentials digitally with whoever needs their information. This could include everything from education and occupational history alongside references, qualifications, and even medical history.
There are various proposed methods of doing this, one of which is utilising blockchain technology. Blockchain is a digital ledger system predominately used in the trading of cryptocurrency. It functions by keeping a record of transactions that are verified by the parties involved and storing them on a ‘block’.
Digital ID systems developed on blockchain technology are essentially impossible to tamper with. Each transaction must be verified by all the involved parties before that block of information is added to the record. This means that it would be incredibly difficult to fake a qualification or period of occupational history.
Chasing references and qualifications is usually a time-consuming task but the reliability of blockchain technology means this task could become non-existent. Integrations could allow background checks to be initiated automatically once a candidate is chosen. Information relating to a candidate’s working life would, in theory, be instantly available.
Methods of digital ID verification are already being used or piloted by many corporations. If you’ve signed up with one of the digital challenger banks, you’ve likely had to take a selfie along with a photo of your passport or driving licence. These technologies then scan the pair and confirm their authenticity. This process has made signing up for a bank account and other digital services incredibly quick, and this efficiency could save millions of hours across the UK economy.
However, it might be some time before we start seeing this rolled out for public services. This is because the digital infrastructure in the UK is significantly lacking behind other European nations. Having a secure and useable digital identity is a fundamental component of digitizing the economy. As there is no consensus yet on how that would look in the UK, we’re lagging behind our neighbours on the continent.
Citizens in Estonia for example can access 99% of public service online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This infrastructure is possible because of the Estonian governments huge campaign to provide everyone with a digital ID card. Until this widespread digital mobilization can be repeated in the UK, we won’t be able to integrate any significant changes into how our public services are accessed.