Retail Recruitment

According to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), UK Recruiters helped almost a million people find a new permanent job last year and are responsible for a further 1.3 million agency workers. Total revenue from permanent and temporary placements is over £32bn annually, in an industry that itself employs over 100,000 people.

The UK Retail Sector employs 2.9 million people and at 25%, the staff turnover rate is significantly higher than the UK average of 15%. This equates to 725,000 people each year moving jobs within retail, which in turn means that there are as many offer letters, background checks, reference requests and a whole host of other recruitment administration.

The on-boarding process for new employees can be a mammoth task and in a post-GDPR environment, retail recruitment can now include; employee privacy policy, data protection policy, data retention policy, data breach policy and so much more.

These are static tasks though in the sense that the documents are the same for each new employee, they simply need a copy of each document and so whilst it is an administrative task, it is not particularly time-consuming.

“Retail is the largest private sector employer in the UK with 2.9 million employees, 66% of which work for the largest 75 retail companies.”

- Office for National Statistics (ONS)

What takes significantly more time, and resource, are the dynamic elements such as checking previous employment history, job titles, employment dates, reference requests, background checks etc.

These checks are often built into an offer letter, with the offer of employment conditional on them being found to be satisfactory. So if someone falsified any of their application, the offer can be withdrawn and the recruiter saved from having employed the wrong person.

This does of course mean that all of the time and effort that went into the recruitment process has been an absolute waste of time and money. So why not get all of that done before an offer is made?

Blockchain Retail Recruitment

Moving the admin tasks associated with retail recruitment onto a blockchain will make the on-boarding process significantly faster, cheaper and more accurate.

People move jobs more than once in their working lives and so once the initial data has been added to the blockchain, it’s held securely (and privately) on the database, avoiding the next recruiter having to do any of the verification process. Offers become unconditional, admin resources reduced and the whole process much quicker.

Candidates build a digital CV where the entire content is verified by the issuing party (schools, university, past employers etc), providing new employers with absolute certainty of it’s accuracy and authentication. Once completed, it never need be done again.

Digital CV

Individuals will have to initially collate a substantial amount of information, which is of course dependent on their career history to-date. Millennials are likely to be early adopters and so someone just starting out in their career would simply add to their digital CV as their employment progresses.

Recruiters don’t always want the same information so it is in the individual’s interest to establish a thorough CV. What every recruiter will agree on though is the authenticity of the data and so it is important that organisations providing the source data are also on-board.

Here is an outline of what is likely to be recommended as a basic digital CV;

  • Personal ID: Establishing that you are who you say you are is a basic starting point. This could include passport, identity card & birth certificate but may also include some form of biometric ID.
  • Education: Schools would verify attendance dates, absence records, subjects taken, extra-curriculum activities and other relevant details.
  • Education Qualifications: Subjects, dates and grades would be verified by the official Exam Boards.
  • University: Course name, dates and results verified, with lecture attendance a further consideration.
  • Other Qualifications: Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, Pilots, HGV Drivers, Fork Lift Truck Drivers and a long list of other jobs have role specific requirements, each of which should be verified by the appropriate body.
  • Training Courses: Additional skills, like first aid courses, would be verified by an authorised body.
  • Accreditations: Verified by the issuing body, who themselves should be verified before being admitted onto the blockchain platform.
  • Residential Status: Verified by the relevant Government Dept.
  • Right to Work: Verified by the relevant Government Dept.
  • Employment History: Verified by previous employers and to include job titles, employment dates, locations and main duties. Other details may be desired but could be restricted due to GDPR legislation.
  • References: Some employers restrict their references to basic employment history but references can also be provided by past colleagues and reputable individuals, who should be verified before being admitted onto the blockchain platform.
  • Criminal Record: Getting a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (previously CRB) is done by the individual, not the potential employer. Candidates that add this information to their personal database speed-up the on-boarding process and show transparency.
  • Medical Questionnaire: Employers increasingly ask for candidates to complete a medical questionnaire to ascertain an individuals health & fitness. It is important that individuals complete this honestly. However, employers cannot bypass the law in this regard.
  • Personality Profiles: Large companies often ask their management to attend personal development courses, such as Myers Briggs. Candidates may choose to include their profile assessment. Caution should be applied here though as psychometric tests shouldn’t be used on their own and are only valid for a short period of time, so they will change from year to year.

It won’t be long before we are utilising machine learning and AI to scan the Internet for personal details, behaviour traits and comments on social media prior to making an offer of employment. This may of course already be happening.

Whilst the method in which we capture and record data may be changing, one thing that cannot change is the laws upon which we make employment decisions. No employer should discriminate against individual on any grounds whatsoever.

“A verified record of employment history, qualifications & references built on a blockchain becomes an unequivocal source of an individual.”

- Mark Taylor

Benefits of Retail Recruitment on a Blockchain

Moving the admin tasks associated with retail recruitment onto a blockchain will make the on-boarding process significantly faster, cheaper and more accurate.

A simple check of a candidate’s Digital CV would quickly establish their personal identity, qualifications and employment history. Instead of taking days and weeks to ascertain the facts, a recruitment administrator could do this in minutes.

As candidates progress through their careers, they add new employment history, qualifications, references etc to their digital CV. Individuals control the data and having it securely stored on a decentralised database means that it privacy is restricted to authorised parties and cannot be sold to third parties.



One company that is already utilising blockchain technology in recruitment is APPII.

APPII was founded in early 2016 by Gary McKay, Brian McNulty and Adi Ben-Ari, each of whom have been active in the blockchain sector for a number of years.

Through the course of discussing how blockchain was going to affect our futures, they identified a need to verify candidates career history and achievements. Adi started building a prototype, demonstrating how simple it was to verify individual awards, qualifications and work history on the blockchain. Brian and Gary mapped out how to drive a material shift in the process and built the business model.

There are no details on the website of the cost to either Candidates or Employers. They have no public statement on raising capital and appear to have no plans for an ICO (how refreshing). What they do have however, is a claim to reduce the recruitment process from 70 to 30 days.

Future of Retail Blockchain Recruitment

The future of retail recruitment is going to be based on binary logic, the basic assumption that everything can be distilled down to ones and zeros. I am of course exaggerating and simplifying this but the premise is that we are all simply made up of bite-size chunks of data.

For example, I started my current role on a specific date, meaning I have x years and y months of service. My job title is ABC from which certain values can be extracted and when combined with a list of my main duties, can start to compile a record of experience, which can be added to a database. So far this only shows what I have done, when I did it and where.

A full picture of my experiences and qualifications would also include, the how and why but if we were to take the complete Digital CV, this would add References and begin to give a full picture.

What if we were to then add some personality profiling, Myers Briggs for example. This not only starts to add a further dimension to my digital persona but could also be used to assess how likely one personality type would work with another.

If the Digital CV was stored on a blockchain and combined with the powers of machine learning, we can start to consider the future of recruitment. Map this against a carefully detailed job profile and the computer may well just find the ideal candidates. Is it too far fetched to suggest this may well just happen, soon?