The FOT Interview: Bullhorn CEO and Co-Founder Art Papas…

Kris Dunn Kris Dunn, Recruiting, Social Recruiting, Sourcing

Editor’s Note:  FOT Founder Kris Dunn sat down recently with Bullhorn CEO and Co-Founder Art Papas to talk about the recruiting game, the recent proliferation of tweets emulating from Bullhorn Reach, and what’s next in the recruiting game related to social.  Take a look:

1. Art – Bullhorn is a well-known name in the recruiting industry, and I’ve been noticing more
and more twitter posts/tweets going out from your social sharing platform called Bullhorn Reach. What’s going on with Bullhorn Reach and how’s it related to your core business?

It’s a foregone conclusion that social media is having a tremendous impact on recruitment, and we’re all witnessing a powerful platform shift. Job seekers are migrating from job boards to social media—first, to LinkedIn and, increasingly, to Facebook and Twitter. Soon the mix will include channels like Google+, in addition to other networks popular outside of the US.

Conversations with our customers at third-party staffing agencies have revealed that many see the social recruiting learning curve as dauntingly steep. And, to make things worse, the tools that exist to help recruiters make sense of social media are often less than sufficient. So, we created Bullhorn Reach as a separate product from our Bullhorn Recruitment CRM. While Bullhorn Reach is a separate product and one doesn’t need to be a Bullhorn customer to use it, the two work extremely well together. And, we’ve been really excited about how quickly Bullhorn Reach was adopted during our 4-month beta—over 10,000 users, hailing from companies like eBay, SAP, Aon Hewitt, Kelly Services and Robert Half International.


2. Of course, simply sharing jobs is cool but a bit of a commodity right now as dozens of providers seem like they’re rushing to provide that functionality to existing/legacy recruiting products. What’s the future of recruiting technologies and social? Where do we go from here? Why should recruiters care?

I definitely agree with your point about the commoditization of job sharing. Job sharing, first of 7-horn_in_butt-450x200
all, is easy to do and, secondly, should be free (which is exactly what we’re doing with Bullhorn Reach).

Recruitment technology is a bit late to the marketing automation game. And, if you look at the most effective marketers today, they’re leveraging content through social media to generate inbound traffic. The days of pounding the phones with cold calls are ending. Now, it’s about getting people to engage and have conversations that keep the relationship warm over time. To that end, recruitment technology needs to help recruiters build and nurture their relationships.

Where do we go from here? You hear a lot about “employer brand” and, in a similar vein, rumblings about “culture brand.” As a result, management is increasingly opening its eyes to the importance of “cultural fit.” And, I believe it’s that lack of cultural fit which explains why nearly 46 percent of new hires fail to stay with their new employers beyond year one. The intersection of culture branding and social media will allow recruiters to get away from conversations about skills and job descriptions, and instead focus on the things that matter most to finding a successful fit. Our job at Bullhorn is to create the technologies that help recruiters find those things and connect the best talent with great companies.

Recruiters should care because the skill set required to be successful at their jobs is shifting. Recruiting is moving from a sales-driven game to being much more marketing-focused. And, the war for talent is heating up. It’s starting in IT, but over the next ten years, I believe we’re going to see unprecedented talented shortages in all categories of skilled labor.


3. I’m an employer and want social graph data on candidates. What’s the future hold for me? How can I cut through all the BS and get what I need via the solutions that companies like Bullhorn are working on for the future?

Showing recruiters who someone knows is table stakes. Helping recruiters understand behavioral patterns of people in their social graphs is where we and other innovators will differentiate ourselves from the pack. To that end, Bullhorn has patent-pending technology (Reach Radar) that just does that. And, we’re just scratching the surface.

The fact is that all relationships are not created equal. Things like whom people interact with frequently, what types of new connections they’re forming, and how often they’re updating their information tell us a lot about who they are, how they behave, and where they are in their career search. That said, Google+ is a game-changer; it will allow technologists to further segment how a person behaves across specific audiences.


4. What about the candidate? Anybody out there thinking about innovative ways for candidates to explore the culture of a company via social technology? Should a candidate have that right? How can a company like Bullhorn justify spending money on technology that helps the candidate?

First off, the candidate is the ultimate client. Whether you’re a third-party or corporate recruiter, you ultimately care most about engaging candidates. At Bullhorn, we’ve invested in helping recruiters foster those relationships with our technology for 11 years now. So, in our minds, helping candidates isn’t too great of a departure from our core mission.

Companies like Glassdoor are attempting to give job seekers a view into corporate culture today. But, many candidates feel as though Glassdoor’s clients from corporate America curate this information.  Authenticity is key when it comes to culture, and we see a lot of opportunity here.


5. The only constant is change. I’ll call the big three of social Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter in the recruiting space. Which one will be irrelevant to the recruiting game in 5 years and what’s going to happen that will drive that?

LinkedIn suffers from an engagement problem that Twitter and Facebook don’t have. I know LinkedIn is working hard to find ways to keep people engaged with their platform. And, they certainly have plenty of dry powder from their recent IPO, so they should be able to acquire their way to engagement, if not build it themselves organically.

If someone solves for engagement among professional networks, it could be very damaging to LinkedIn. Companies like BranchOut and BeKnown are trying to create LinkedIn on Facebook. The question is: will they fare any better at engagement? It seems that some companies, like Viadio, have done a better job at this, so the answers are out there.

Art Pappas is the CEO and Co-Founder of Bullhorn.  Look for more interviews of industry leaders in the near future…