Hiring Experts Still Mostly Boggled by Digital Credentials

The future for digital credentials is still a bit foggy. A new survey on the topic found that just over a third (36 percent) of people involved in human resources and talent management have any knowledge of the topic. Only a quarter of those surveyed have already begun using digital credentials, such as badges, in their recruitment or hiring processes.

The survey was done among 130 HR, recruitment and talent management professionals by Accreditrust Technologies, a company that authenticates digital credentials through its program TrueCred.

According to the results shared in the "Digital Credentials Brief," those who are evaluating digital credentials are "likely" using them along with other information to help formulate their hiring decisions. The majority still rely primarily on "high stakes" credentials, including a college or university degree, a professional certificate or license and work history on a resume. Likewise, a majority of respondents consider a digital badge earned through a for-credit online course or a MOOC and posted on LinkedIn or a comparable site as "low-stakes."

Digital Credentials Brief by Accreditrust Technologies

Source: "Digital Credentials Brief" by Accreditrust Technologies.

However, HR professionals do expect digital credentials to gain in importance over time. While a mere 8 percent said they expected digital credentials to "completely replace" traditional credentials, another 50 percent said they would supplement the customary proof of job-readiness, such as a degree or work experience.

The growth in adoption will also see a push driven by ongoing development of standards that are meant, as Accreditrust wrote, to "ensure the rigor, quality and reliability of credentials." For example, the Verifiable Claims Task Force at is tackling the challenges inherent in creating a credentials ecosystem. IMS Global Learning Consortium has an initiative to bring together education technology companies and schools to create an ecosystem that works for competency-based education. And a consortium made up of the George Washington University's Institute of Public Policy; ANSI affiliate Workcred; and Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Center for Workforce Development is creating a web-based registry to give "transparency and clarity" to the credentialing process.

"We see a three-pronged problem in the marketplace. Companies and organizations are having a harder time identifying candidates who possess particular skills; educational institutions are in the middle of a shift in the way they are preparing graduates for 21st Century job demands; and job candidates are struggling to make themselves marketable in a rapidly evolving job market," said Accreditrust CEO, Eric Korb, in a prepared statement. "These three broad issues are really driving the development of technology to help tackle these challenges, but we're still in the early stages. For digital credentials to deliver on their promise, we need to lay a solid foundation now. Credential viewers and verifiers need to be able to trust the information that they obtain from digital credentials. Making digital credentials secure, standards-based and interoperable are core to this effort."

The report is available with registration on the TrueCred website here.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.