How the staffing industry can move forward together with the power of AI

How the staffing industry can move forward together with the power of AI

While 2024 has brought challenges to the staffing industry, it has also brought tremendous innovation with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). From increased efficiency to improved visibility, AI is already having a big impact on staffing firms, and it’s still only the beginning. 

At Engage Boston 2024, few topics were discussed as much as AI and the enthusiasm for this transformative technology could be felt across the 1,000 staffing industry attendees who joined the event in Boston. 

To kick off the event, Art Papas delivered an opening keynote where he looked back at how far the industry has come, how staffing firms are navigating a challenging market by leveraging AI, and the improvements early adopters are already seeing. 

Read on for a recap of his keynote, or check out the video to see his full address:

A look back at 25 years of Bullhorn 

Engage Boston 2024 was not only an opportunity for our staffing community to connect in person but also a celebration of 25 years of Bullhorn.

Art Papas, CEO and Founder of Bullhorn, kicked off his opening keynote by shining a spotlight on the customers who have been with us since the beginning. 

Over the past 25 years, Bullhorn has empowered staffing firms to put the world to work, including working with 164 million candidates annually to fill 23.1 million job orders across 55.3 million submissions.

How the staffing industry can move forward together with the power of AI

Throughout the past 25 years, we’ve relentlessly pursued new ways to leverage data from across the recruitment process to help drive your business forward, regardless of market conditions. And as firms are navigating one of the most challenging markets since the Great Recession, harnessing data to identify actionable insights has never been more important.

The power of AI

Our GRID 2024 Industry Trends Report revealed that winning new clients is the top priority for staffing firms this year: 59% of firms reported that they’re focused on client relationships, either winning new clients or strengthening existing relationships. 

But old playbooks for finding and winning new clients won’t cut it in today’s market. It’s been 15 years since cold calling was the go-to method of securing job orders. Today’s newer staffing professionals haven’t developed the same sales skillset as their veteran colleagues, and the old playbooks don’t work anymore… So what’s the answer? AI holds a lot of promise. 

While AI might seem like a new player in the staffing technology space, high performers are already incorporating it into their tech stack. “It’s still early, and we’re still figuring out what AI can do…But what we’re finding is that half of the folks we surveyed are actually experimenting with AI, and a third of them are expecting to see real results from it,” Art shared.

How the staffing industry can move forward together with the power of AI

The lifeblood of any strong AI strategy is data. As Art put it, “You need specific data. You need a lot of it. It needs to be an enormous data set, and it needs to be actionable data.” Art introduced what Bullhorn calls the S.E.A. of data – Specific, Enormous, and Actionable – which will fuel staffing firms’ AI efforts. 

But what does this actually look like? 

  • Specific: For AI to have an impact on the staffing industry, the data involved needs to be as specific to staffing as possible.  Bullhorn can provide staffing-specific data to ensure our AI solutions are tailor-made for the industry.
  • Enormous: No single staffing firm has enough data to fully train an AI model, but with Bullhorn’s large, industry-specific data set, we can bridge the gap left by traditional AI models to better serve the staffing industry.
  • Actionable: Similar to tools like Waze, which provides driving directions and traffic alerts, the most effective AI tools provide actionable insights and outputs to help users dial in on the most important actions and information. Rather than providing outputs or suggested actions based on non-staffing outcomes, our AI model will base its outputs on successful outcomes—placements—to help every recruiter perform like the most successful recruiters.

With the S.E.A. of data aggregated and used to train the AI model, staffing firms are able to reap the benefits of having everything in one platform, from front-office records to pay and bill data, and can glean insights to help run their business.

Staffing firms are already putting AI and the power of the platform into practice and seeing incredible gains. Those leveraging AI are seeing a 24% increase in speed to submittal, a 53% increase in redeployment, and 36% more placements per recruiter than those not using AI. In an industry where speed is everything and getting more value from existing candidates and employees is key, those improvements can make all the difference.

Art concluded his keynote address with his outlook on the future of staffing technology and AI, noting that this “S.E.A. of data” will make machine learning and AI truly useful and powerful for everyone working in the staffing industry. 


Check out more Engage highlights and resources on our Engage Boston Content Hub.

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