Features, Insight, Interviews

Co-Head of TrueProfile.io outlines how company is empowering end-users

CNME Editor Mark Forker spoke to René Seifert, Co-Head of TrueProfile.io, to find out how the HR and recruitment industry has been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – and how the global leader in document verification is leveraging blockchain technology to empowers users of their platform.

Seifert is a serial entrepreneur and was the co-founder and co-CEO of successful crowdfunding platform Venturate AG, which was subsequently sold to FinLab AG in 2015.

He is currently the Co-Head of TrueProfile.io, a company that sits under the umbrella of the DataFlow Group – and has completely transformed document verification for recruiters and HR experts.

In a candid and fascinating interview, we began our conversation by focusing on what impact the current global health crisis was having on the recruitment sector.

“The change in climate has prompted recruiters to look domestically for hiring opportunities. Due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also witnessed a surge in unemployment, which unfortunately leads to a higher percentage of individuals embellishing their credentials in order to land a job, so there has been a huge rise in the risk factor of doctored documents over the last number of months”, said Seifert.

As a result of the economic uncertainty, rather inevitably many sectors opted to delay their hiring plans, but contrary to that, and largely out of necessity there has been a significant recruitment drive globally for healthcare professionals.

“One of the highest sectors that people have been sought after has been in the healthcare industry as countries all over the world attempt to get the virus under control. The urgency meant that recruiters in the healthcare sector were looking for pre-verified candidates to expedite the hiring process. Those that had already been screened were at a huge advantage because that accelerates dramatically the process versus having to go through a number of verification steps that can take weeks, or in some cases even months when the talent is needed right now”, said Seifert.

Seifert explained how the DataFlow Group has been in PSV (Primary Source Verification) since 2006, and that it focused mainly on document verification for healthcare staff. However, he stressed that TrueProfile.io have revolutionised the experience for the end-user.

“What we at TrueProfile.io have done is really re-empower the individual by building something that he/she can maintain – and this is the sort of empowerment that we are bringing into TrueProfile.io on the B2C side. I would be cautious against classifying what we do as all out empowerment as its more of a service we provide. However, on the other side of the market we are enabling companies or regulators to make qualified hiring decisions by verifying and screening candidates in a very convenient and elegant way, and this ultimately allows decision-makers to determine that the candidate is legitimate and as a direct consequence your de-risking the process because you know the individual is not fraudulent”, said Seifert.

According to the dynamic Co-Head at TrueProfile.io, DataFlow has been built on the back of big contracts that the company got from government regulators, and he said that it was always a sort of a ‘one-off’ process when it came to verification.

“For example, if a nurse from the Philippines wants to work in the UAE, they go through a screening process and gain employment, but then when they want to move to another country, they need to go thought the exact same robust screening process again. It was very strongly focused on making this regulator client happy, but we tried to turn that on its head by saying, ‘let’s put the individual in the centre’ and allow them to be empowered”, said Seifert.

However, he stressed that this archaic and rigid verification model is what inspired TrueProfile.io to innovate and completely transform the process.

“The key problem that we wanted to solve at TrueProfile.io was that when people were changing jobs they needed to get verified over and over again, but what we want to introduce is a standard that once it is done once it is accepted forever, so it also means if the company pays for the verification the actual applicant is allowed to keep the result of their verification on their myTrueProfile – and carry that forward through their career”, said Seifert.

Seifert outlined some of the market dynamics that are driving certain adoptions – and highlighted how the move from the compounds of the physical traditional office space to a work from anywhere culture had triggered a demand for greater integration.

“Working remotely almost had a counter force, which has led to a stronger integration of the work environment. Employers did not want their employees to be working on a plethora of different services, but ideally on fewer by integrating them. We have supported that shift in change by launching TrueProfile Connect for businesses”, said Seifert.

He explained that in the past if you were an employer you had to go on TrueProfile.io and use their backend to trigger a verification, but what they have done with the launch of TrueProfile Connect is implement API’s which are connected into third party HR systems.

“We launched our first integration with Salesforce, and they have a very powerful HR administration and management engine. What it means now for a HR decision-maker is that you can do everything out of Salesforce. The systems talk to each other and you get the verifications without ever leaving Salesforce and this is something that we are driving to integrate this into other services”, said Seifert.

TrueProfile.io is leveraging blockchain technology to once again enhance its ability to ‘empower’ its users, but he also added that in this very politically charged climate we now live in there seems be an alarming amount of censorship across social media platforms and applications, which he believes only serves to reinforce and highlight the benefits of blockchain technologies.

“Our view on using blockchain technology goes back to our primary objective which is to empower people. If our users buy a verification with us and it’s sitting in their myTrueProfile account, well that’s great, but what if and especially in the current climate when you look at what Twitter, Facebook and Robinhood has been doing in relation to censorship at some point we as TrueProfile.io decided for whatever reason that we don’t like that person and shut them down then their verification is no longer verifiable. We wanted to go to the next level and empower the individual by adding each of the TrueProofs. A TrueProof is a single unit of one document that has been verified, so for example if you sent us your University diploma, and then we get a positive result from your University, then we create a so-called TrueProof – and that TrueProof is a PDF that sits on your PC, but we also add a fingerprint of that TrueProof on to the Ethereum blockchain. The benefit of this is that if we were to behave in a nefarious way the blockchain is there for good! It can’t be changed, and this again reinforces our overall message and mantra which is empower our users”, concluded Seifert.

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