Our Big Takeaways from Bullhorn EngageX 2021

Jay CutlerBullhorn, Staffing and Recruiting, Tech Stack

The Keynote from Bullhorn CEO, Art Papas

In Art’s keynote, we learned that platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and Workrise are attempting to disrupt the staffing industry by replacing the traditional model of employer of record and a heavy compliance focus with a digital-first experience. 

Both models will have challenges in the next decade where they fight to move into each other’s areas of expertise. The platforms will look to take on the very complex nature of staffing, and traditional staffing firms will invest heavily in technology to move into a platform experience to make it much more of a self-service model for both candidates and customers.

While this sounds a bit ominous, the good news is that the staffing industry currently has the advantage over platforms because firms have been navigating the complexity and compliance requirements for far longer.  

However, this doesn’t mean staffing firms can get complacent. If they don’t act now, many firms in the industry could find themselves being compared to blockbuster or tower records 15 years from now. 

The main force driving this change in the industry is that the candidate experience is quickly becoming the most important aspect of the staffing workflow. This means firms need to put a focus on it to differentiate themselves in this extremely competitive market. 

Digitize, Automate, then Connect

2 years ago, Bullhorn introduced the first step in their digital transformation pyramid of Digitization, Automation, and Transformation. 

Digitization means getting all of your systems connected so data can be pulled into one source of truth. This includes your core systems like an ATS, timekeeping, and back office, but it also includes peripheral systems like Marketplace Partners who have valuable data that needs to make it back into Bullhorn. 

By pulling all of your information into one place it allows you to set your staffing firm up for the next level, Automation.


Bullhorn’s recruitment automation platform, Herefish, is now recording 1.2 Million automations per day. That’s 1.2 Million actions or clicks per day that recruiters, account managers, or admins aren’t having to worry about. 

Automation helps drives your business in 3 main categories:

#1. Productivity for front line teams and for operations 

This means fewer clicks, reminders to keep recruiters on track,  and automating the sending of relevant content to clients and candidates.

#2. Data health 

This is the core value prop of automation and creates a clean database that paves the way for more complex use cases and AI to enter the picture.  A couple of examples of data health are automated messages to update candidate profiles or updating statuses based on activity. 

#3. Improving the candidate and client experience 

Small touchpoints matter, but with a large candidate pool, sometimes it’s not possible to add a personal touch with everyone. With automation, you can do things like birthday messages to create a closer relationship with candidates, or interview reminders to reduce no-call/no-shows which means less time calming down your client or scrambling to find a replacement. 

Bullhorn Connect

Digitization and automation provide the base for the last step, the transformation of a staffing firm into the digital age. 

Bullhorn Connect brings all of the aspects of the candidate experience into one self-service module or app where candidates can do everything from updating their profile with basic info and onboarding to connecting with their recruiter or picking up a shift. 

While it may be a one-stop-shop experience for the candidate, Connect brings in multiple systems from Bullhorn, Marketplace Partners, and even 3rd party systems like payroll. 

This experience is how staffing firms will compete and move into the space that the platform companies like Fiverr and Upwork currently own over the next 10 years. 

Bonus Takeaway

My final, but very important takeaway is that this digital transformation stack is not just available to the largest firms anymore. A small or medium-sized firm is able to implement these technologies and drastically increase their productivity and improve the candidate experience. 

If I missed anything or you’d like to have a more in-depth conversation about some of the technologies showcased at Engage, shoot me an email at jay@staffingengine.ai or chat with EngineBot in the bottom corner to schedule a call. 

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