Taking the next step: The career search process in 2019

Back in the days when the 16-bit graphic splendor that was the America Online launch page was the pre-eminent gateway to the Internet, little could one see the instantaneous service that mobile telephony would provide some 20 years later.

Yet while you can hit your smartwatch a couple of times to order a coffee to go, some processes remain bogged down in the 90s. Take the job search process for example. While human resources departments have progressed beyond putting want ads in the local paper to look for candidates, some facets of the job search have regressed. At least a want ad gives a contact name and info for a given position. These days, job seekers spend hours entering their details and uploading their documents into applicant tracking systems (ATS), only to have the system time out, wasting hours of job seekers’ time. In the event that the application actually makes it to the “submit” stage, applicants get a terse, automated e-mail in reward for their efforts, with their application left to float in some ether.

Often times, this auto-response is the last an applicant will hear. HR departmental ghosting does no one any favors. Beyond the obvious implications for job seekers—being left out in the cold as they wait for some sort of sign on their status—this system can also backfire on the employer. Applicants might decide to vent their frustrations on third-party recruitment sites such as Glassdoor, or even boycott the company’s products, encouraging friends and family to do the same. On the other side of the coin, while ATS can be clunky, HR departments have their reasons for using such legacy software: it puts applicants on the same competing level, and grants those behind making hiring decisions the ability to search applications for key listed skills. This being said, such search functions are not necessarily free from error either, meaning HR departments are missing out on key talent.

Among job seekers, entry-level applicants are perhaps among the most prone to falling into this disconnect. Given that their career search skills haven’t yet been battle tested and they only have the most nascent network of business contacts, new graduates might find that first job can be a particularly hard land. Professed career gurus on the Internet often suggest that, rather than the traditional chronological résumé, that new entrants arrange their CVs to emphasize skills. Sound advice, sure. But here’s the follow-up question: how can employers be sure that an applicant isn’t wasting HR departments’ time by over-embellishing their skills?

Ambiguity over an applicant’s true mastery of a skill can result in lengthy back and forth in terms of interviews and tests. While a personal touch is always appreciated, at the end of the day, time is money. To this old adage, technology is often the solution. And it can be for new graduate recruitment as well.

Enter blockchain technology as the link between new graduates and the workforce. Blockchain, also known as distributed ledger technology, is the underlying software behind cryptocurrencies. The technology, thanks to its decentralized network and cryptography, offers superior security, recordkeeping and verification of documents saved on the system. All of these facets lend themselves handily to not just launching a career, but also the college/university search itself. Essays and other writing samples can be verified to be plagiarism-free. Test scores can be verified by universities for veracity. Applicants can fill out a single form and have their information saved on the blockchain, rather than have to spend fruitless hours filling out online forms.

On Aplic.io, students and graduates will have an opportunity to present themselves in a way that goes far beyond the traditional resume. First of all, personality matters. Aplic.io’s proprietary matching system takes personal preferences into consideration when matching to jobs. Secondly: skills. Students usually don’t have much in the way of work experience, but they do have portfolio of projects they’ve done while studying or volunteer work. With the currently used platforms, it’s hard to prove those projects actually are genuine and belong to the user. On Aplic.io, we have developed a system that, thanks to blockchain technology, validates skills and portfolio projects’ authenticity. Students can be matched with jobs based on the skills they have and want to develop.

Beyond convenience, however, a blockchain-based platform would foster a sense of trust among students, higher educational institutions, and employers alike. Having key information and documents stored in one place would lead to faster communication from all parties, lessening the chance of ghosting on the part of employers. On this front, blockchain isn’t just about innovation; it’s also about respect.

As the holiday season is upon us, countless relatives of a certain age will be dispensing with such outdated, unsolicited advice as telling new entrants to the workforce to walk around from office to office, passing out paper résumés. While those on the job hunt can easily dismiss such less-than-helpful tips out of hand, other outdated job search functions need to fall out from common use just the same. Blockchain is the next step forward. Let’s hire the next generation with next-generation technology.

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