Is the end of recruitment near?

The traditional recruitment business is continuously threatened by a variety of innovations. How did we survive in the past? And what will the future look like? Art Papas, founder of Bullhorn, tells us more.

Jasper Spanjaart on January 03, 2020 Average reading time: 3 min
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Is the end of recruitment near?

2019 marks 20 years since Art Papas founded Bullhorn. At the time investors thought the concept of the company, which was based around recruitment software, was interesting – but at the same time something stopped them from pursuing an investment. Investors saw job boards as something of a threat to the recruitment industry. Why would you need a recruiter when candidates can go online, and simply view and apply for jobs themselves?

However, when the job boards were finally introduced, there was a different outcome than expected. The only people to not apply for jobs online, were the ones that were qualified.

New worries in 2008

When LinkedIn was introduced in 2008, new worries ensued, as everyone seemed to be using the platform. A recruiter could simply enter a database and was able to find all the right, experienced personnel – without too much trouble. The only real job, was simply sending them a message and awaiting their response. Simple, right? This must be the end of recruitment… now for real.

The question is: What does this type of technology truly mean?

But we all know what happened next. Job boards still exist. Linkedin too. And so do recruiters. So the question is: What does this type of technology truly mean? It doesn’t allow for recruitment to disappear, it simply makes the job of a recruiter a bit more difficult – as you have to be able to use it all.

Technology is staring at us

Everywhere consumers go, technology is staring us right in the face. To think the GDPR would help us, turned out to be a naive thought. Privacy is still going to be a major issue when calendars turn to 2030. Google will continue to come up with new ways to track us, and follow our online behaviour. Government regulations will ensue, but the cat-and-mouse-game with Google will linger on. Moreover, those above-mentioned regulations will only bite recruiters in the butt, as it continues to be more difficult to contact potential candidates you don’t already know. And if you do know the candidate, legally contacting them will also turn out to be more challenging.

Google will continue to come up with new ways to track us, and follow our online behaviour.

Researching new technologies is now also part of your job. Technology is evolving at such a rapid speed, you have to be on top of your game. If you don’t try new technology every six or so months, you’ll be left behind – because your competitors are spending that time, immersing themselves in the new available software. Don’t be afraid of regulation, don’t find it and don’t hope it goes away: just look at the opportunities it offers, Papas said.

The importance of re-skilling

Re-skilling is important. Look at a company like Amazon, which employs roughly 300.000 people. They look at their personnel, people that know and understand their culture and systems, and attempt to figure out ways for them to be more effective. That’s why they spend large sums on the re-skilling of their own – something that could give them an even bigger advantage come 2030.

Unemployment rates continue to go down, but what happens when it hits zero?

Unemployment rates continue to go down, but what happens when it hits zero? If you can’t find anyone to do a job for you, you’ll have to be innovative and different in your approach – by automating, for example. AI will likely take over quite a few tasks now belonging to recruiters: sourcing, screening, scheduling in appointments, checking references…


Stop asking your recruiters to call candidates, Art Papas recently said at Engage, a yearly event hosted by Bullhorn – as engagement largely happens digitally. Most people tend to reject calls from numbers they don’t know. Focusing on how to get in contact with them digitally and them getting your number is more important, Papas said. Inbound is more important than outbound, according to the Bullhorn CEO.

“Computers are still awful matchmakers”

“Computers are still awful matchmakers”, Papas continued. “A recruiter needs to ascertain: ‘Is this candidate a good match? Does he or she understand the culture? Will the talent perform? Does he or she trust me?” Natural instinct tells people not trust people they don’t know – and you can’t win that trust without spending a lot of time with the candidate. You need to listen, ask how the job interview went – you really have to make an effort. These are questions recruiters need to think about: Is this person capable of having these types of conversations? Empathy is important. “Think of psychology students”, Papas said.

The end isn’t near

Is the end of recruitment really near? You can breathe a sigh of relief. If we ask Bullhorn Founder Art Papas, the answer is a resounding NO.

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Jasper Spanjaart

Jasper Spanjaart

Editor-in-Chief and Writer at ToTalent.eu
Editor-in-Chief and writer for European Total Talent Acquisition platform ToTalent.eu.
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