Back to Blog

Four Key Takeaways from Art Papas’ Keynote at Engage London 2019

by on

A lot has changed over the past 20 years and the recruitment industry is no exception. In fact, as Bullhorn CEO, Art Papas, described in his retrospective keynote at Engage London 2019, we’ve seen massive changes, unbelievable growth, technological advances, and a variety of predictions about the future. 

Whilst it is important to look back over the past couple of decades, consider the journey we’ve been on and the lessons we’ve learned, Art’s keynote did not focus entirely on the past. Instead, he encouraged recruitment professionals to look to the future, and consider what the future of recruitment will hold: “What advice would your future self give you if they could?”

As we consider the shape of the recruitment industry over the next 10 years, four key takeaways emerged:

1. With Regulation Comes Opportunity

“Don’t fear regulations!” Art urged. With the ongoing development of technologies like Alexa and Google Home, privacy will continue to be a huge priority. It will continue to get harder to compliantly reach out to someone you have no contact with to engage them as either a candidate or client. But, despite initial difficulties, compliancy will ensure that the playing field is level.  

Art explains that those who focus their energy toward resisting these changes, instead of being forward-thinking, are missing out on a competitive advantage. If you embrace regulation and be among the first to think of new solutions, you open yourselves up to new opportunities. Take GDPR for example, we had to come up with new ways to market to people. And those forward-thinking agencies that adapted their recruiting processes first were ahead of the curve.

2. Exploring New Technology is YOUR Job

Because technology is evolving so rapidly, you NEED the top levels of your business to be involved in the process of considering how to leverage digital transformation to ensure your recruitment business comes out on top.


“Regularly evaluating new technologies and innovating your business processes needs to become a core competency of your business – if it isn’t already,” explained Art. And this practice isn’t just the responsibility of the CTO, it’s the responsibility of the business owner, the CEO, the entire exec board.

3. Stop Telling People to Pick Up the Phone

Nowadays, engagement is happening digitally. It’s not happening the way it was 20 years ago. People prefer to text, engage with chatbots, and discuss new opportunities in a less time-consuming and more convenient way. Especially the new candidate pool of millennial talent.

Now, that’s not to say that the phone will lose significance – it will remain important. After all, these conversations are the way you build relationships. But the ways you engage these people are turning more and more digital. In fact, recruitment pros relying on picking up the phone and cold calling as part of their engagement are fighting something of a losing battle when we consider that – with so many robo-diallers spamming consumers – the media is proactively encouraging us to not pick up the phone to unknown callers.

Instead of insisting that your recruiters pick up the phone, encourage them to consider new ways to engage on digital platforms. How can we engage with our target candidates and clients on the platforms they’re currently residing on?

4. Computers Are Still Horrible Matchmakers

We will undoubtedly see more automation and AI technology enter the recruitment space over the next few decades, but this won’t spell the end for recruiters. Computers can make fast and efficient matches based on available information, but they can’t understand the subtle human nuances that recruiters can. For example, a computer isn’t able to understand or predict if someone wants to change industry or role.


Computers will keep evolving to automate the mundane so that recruitment professionals can become the matchmakers and consider the human elements; Will the candidate match the client’s expectations? Will they actually enjoy the role? Does the talent trust me? Etc. Ultimately, candidates still want to have those human conversations, so it is important for you to bring people into your business with high empathy to take on that role of matchmaker. 

Art drew his keynote to a close with a piece of advice of his own. He reminded the audience of the technology revolutions of the past 20 years; the move from cassettes to CDs, and the introduction of networking platforms, like LinkedIn. Had we known at the time what these new innovations would mean, how would our adoption of these have differed?


Stay tuned for even more Engage London recaps and event coverage. And make sure you’re part of the action next year by registering for Engage London 2020 today. You’ll be guaranteed the lowest rate possible!