Interview with Cisive’s Chief Executive Officer and President, James Owens
Cisive recently joined 14 other enterprise multinational labor market organizations to launch the Velocity Network Foundation (VNF). VNF is a collaborative, vendor-neutral, nonprofit organization established to define, deploy, and champion the Velocity Network: a globally accessible, trustworthy “Internet of Careers” powered by innovative blockchain technology.
David Bennett, Cisive’s Chief Operating Officer, recently sat down with Cisive’s Chief Executive Officer and President, James Owens, to discuss the evolving background screening landscape with the arrival of VNF. The following conversation expands upon Owens’ vision for the future of career data exchange.
What is your take on people wanting to own their career records so they are better positioned to access career opportunities?
If you go back and look at the background screening industry, the process of obtaining past employment and education records that make up a person’s resume or profile has been very random and chaotic historically. I think the ability for people to have ownership of those records and exert control over them combined with a defined methodology to allow employers to provide those records to third parties will result in a much more consistent flow of information. Not only does it give people control over their records but it also results in better quality information provided to third parties. Ultimately, that’s the direction that this whole industry is going to move and I think it’s going to make a big positive difference across the board for both job candidates sharing their profile information as well as the employers that need to use that information to make informed business decisions.
What is your vision for the future on how workers of all types exchange trusted career data with employers?
In today’s world, job candidates can share a digital resume that’s effectively as if you printed that information on a piece of paper. Background screening firms like Cisive have to go back and in many cases re-verify that information every time it comes across because you can’t necessarily trust that the information is accurate for a variety of reasons. The result is a very time-consuming, expensive, and laborious process that is essentially “hit or miss.” In many instances, we are unable to actually verify the information after spending considerable time and expenses. The idea of a framework where job seekers and people that want to set up profiles can authorize the employer to provide that information in a way that can be done with integrity can make this inefficient process a lot easier. It accomplishes this by eliminating much of the laborious re-checking that background screening firms conduct in the traditional process.
With an increasing number of blockchain-based approaches for career credentials in the market, what makes Velocity Network Foundation (VNF) different?
Many of those solutions were developed by a single organization and without the inclusion of a number of different parties. What makes VNF different is they have taken the approach to gather companies that represent every different segment in this problem space. The membership list includes companies representing background screening, student credential and enrollment verification, HR and Education technology, freelance and contingent workforce platforms, employment marketplaces, assessment and people insights, recruitment and staffing agencies, and development and advisory firms. These different companies involved across the education, talent acquisition and human resources spaces are coming together as part of the Velocity Network to not only create a different approach but also solve this business problem. This inclusive collaboration is a better approach than a preconceived packaged solution developed by a single organization. Who knows if that’s really going to solve all the problems or if it’s going to benefit all the different employers in this space?
What drove you to join Velocity Network Foundation as a founding member?
In the Information Age, the background screening industry’s approach to conducting verifications of employment and education records must change. It simply cannot remain as it is today. We are making phone calls over and over again trying to obtain these records in a modern age whereas we should be using a more structured approach with technology. The fact that we are using a 100-year-old process to do something in the 21st century is startling. The business model is going to change and I think that background screening companies need to recognize that. We at Cisive are cognizant of this and want to be part of the solution while working with other constituents in this space to craft a new business model that will benefit everyone. When we tie into this network we can provide a superior service for a much lower price point than what can be done today while also delivering it much faster and more accurately. I think there will always be a role for background screening companies, but that role is going to change significantly. We want to be there at the table being part of the solution rather than being reactive to the changes that are going to happen.
How does Velocity Network’s platform create value for constituents?
If you think about our constituents, they are not only the companies doing the hiring but also the applicants themselves. How successful and accurate we are as a background screening firm has an indirect impact on the applicants that are coming through and trying to get hired by a company. The more we can remove bottlenecks and increase the accuracy of the product that we provide, the greater the process benefits the applicant and the hiring company. It becomes a win-win situation for everyone involved, but it is especially a win for the job candidates who are the center of this scenario. We at Cisive are excited to see this platform starting to take shape, but I know there is a long road ahead of us with this initiative. There’s a lot of different players involved, and I really think this is the pathway to the future for career data.
Originally posted at Cisive.com