Trends and Technologies Disrupting the Recruitment Industry

Mike Pauletich
| Mike Pauletich
AI Digital Transformation

The world of work is changing. This change is driven in large part by technology disruption. This technology disruption is causing new trends in the workforce. It’s also changing the meaning of work on both sides of the recruiting equation. Technology is disrupting the recruitment industry like never before in history.

What’s really interesting is the complexity, scale, and speed of disruption happening in today’s business environment. I really think that companies need to do more to make technology changes in order to become successful at hiring. This really makes me think of the saying, “the earth is shifting beneath our feet.” Read this article to learn how to stay centered as things change rapidly.


  1. The changing world of work
  2. The rise of staffing digital transformation
  3. Workforce priority changes
  4. Talent marketplace disruption
  5. Skills disruption and the talent pool mismatch
  6. End of traditional career paths
  7. Disruption of the standard career model
  8. Disruption through AI & automation
  9. Disruption toward purposeful work
  10. The new communication paradigm


disrupting the recruitment industry

The changing world of work is disrupting the recruitment industry

The workforce is changing. Work itself is changing. Some estimates I’ve seen forecast 60% global job disruption through AI. This isn’t a cause for panic though. Job disruption means, in this case, that AI is going to change the nature of work. It’s not going to replace the workforce.

But still, we haven’t experienced this scale of technology-related work disruption on such a broad level ever before. The changing world is being driven by technology. So, your staffing company needs to be driven by technology as well. That’s why I believe staffing digital transformation is the most important trend to focus on.

The rise of staffing digital transformation

I say “the rise of staffing digital transformation”, but the world’s largest staffing companies are already aware of this. Let me tell you a quick anecdote about surfing.

The longer you’ve been surfing the more attuned you become to the waves. You can start to see the right wave forming before and further out than other people in the water. In surfing, typically only one person rides a wave. If you can forecast the wave before everyone else, position your board, and begin paddling…it’s likely you’ll catch it before someone else does.

In the same way, your staffing company is a surfer sitting in the lineup with your competitors. There’s a wave of disruption headed our way and being the first to see it will make sure you’re the first to position yourself to ride it.

Workforce, work, and tech disruption are changing the dynamics of the market. To lead your staffing company through these times you need to understand what’s happening and what’s coming.

chris grimes staffing digital transformation mya systems

Workforce priority changes

According to a study by SHRM in 2019, the three things that job seekers valued most used to be company culture, career progression, and benefits. By 2025, the things that they’ll value most are flexible working situations, company culture, and company mission.

Why did career progression and benefits fall out of the picture? In such disruptive times, companies with the wrong values will be slow to adapt. Furthermore, the relationship between talent and employers has become transactional in nature. It’s a concept I like to call “the open talent marketplace.”

How the open talent marketplace is disrupting the recruitment industry

Essentially, it’s easier than ever to find work opportunities. There are more work opportunities than ever before. And due to tech disruption, new fields of work are constantly being created and old ones are undergoing a metamorphosis. Talent doesn’t care so much about career progression and benefits because they don’t expect to progress in a role at a single company.

Second, most companies don’t offer pension programs anymore. Technological disruption is a big reason for that. In the 1950s the average age of an S&P 500 company was over 60 years. In 2020, the average age is less than 20 years.

With the average lifecycle of a company getting smaller and smaller, the workforce is looking for a company with the right values guiding it. Without the right company values you’ll be missing the operating system you need to navigate the changing world of work.

Staffing companies can make this actionable by creating content and stories around your values. Showcase your innovation initiatives and display how you’re adopting/using technology to create competitive advantage. You’ll be surprised at the result because it’ll make you stand out to clients and candidates alike.

Skills disruption and the talent pool mismatch

Changes in job seeker priorities have happened. One trend that’s become widely popular is flexible working.  But long term, what’s the outlook for staffing companies in an environment defined by a high degree of flex work?

To understand that, we first have to look at flex work. Why has that become so important?

Technology has made the job market more accessible to everyone all over the world. Technology is disrupting the existing type of work that employers need their employees to be able to do. We have this situation where there are a lot of new skills that employers need to hire for and there are a lot of people that are acquiring these skills.

But the mismatch is that the people that are acquiring these skills are distributed all over the United States and all over the world.  Employers, if they want to hire people with critical skills quickly,  find they need to offer more flexible working situations.

That translates into hiring more remote workers in many cases. This means that staffing and recruiting companies need to be able to engage candidates from different time zones at scale to support the future of hiring. Our data is starting to support this as well.

There’s a concurrent trend in candidate behavior that’s important to note. More candidates are working from home, sure. But more candidates are willing to relocate for the right position. Our customer data shows that the majority of candidates are engaging with your recruiting process outside of working hours.

continuous candidate engagement disrupting the recruitment industry

The end of traditional career paths

Why was the company mission in the top three and why did career progression and benefits get shunted out of the top three? Well, let’s think about what’s happening in technology. Because technology is changing so quickly and because careers are changing so quickly, candidates don’t necessarily see a job market where they are going to get to progress in a certain role and follow the traditional corporate ladder.

The standard career model has been disrupted

If you listen to some of the stuff Josh Bersin has been speaking about in his keynotes, for example in HR tech last year, one of the things he said was that in the future that traditional step-by-step ladder career is actually not going to be the right move for workers.

In fact, it already isn’t!

We’re in a world where multiple forces are interacting on the market and rapidly changing and evolving it. Let’s take automation for example.

With automation handling many repeatable high volume tasks that we needed humans to do before, companies need a workforce that isn’t narrow on one skill or area but broad on many.

We need employees that are able to see a broader view and make decisions based on data. You don’t get that early enough in your career following a traditional career model.

What this means for your staffing company is that you’re going to need to get better at evaluating candidates on soft skill criteria. These are criteria that you need to deploy open conversations to evaluate. That means your recruiters need to find a way to spend more time with candidates 1 on 1.

How AI & automation are disrupting the recruitment industry

What Bersin said was in a world that is re-shaped by AI, a world of work reshaped by AI, the workers that are going to be really effective are going to be the ones that have had diagonal careers. They’ve gone all over multiple areas of a business and through multiple industries.

The world is going to be run by generalists with a high degree of creativity that can combine multiple concepts together. A lot of the Millennial workforce understands that and subsequent digital-first generations intuitively know that. That’s another reason why career progression has fallen off and out of the top three reasons for choosing an employer.

How AI is disrupting the recruitment industry

Creating increased demand for creative work is one of the biggest effects of AI and automation disruption. We’re entering a world of work that is more fluid than ever before. Staffing companies need to take an approach that makes the right use of recruiting AI, automation, and human capital to be successful in a constantly changing environment.

Disrupt towards purposeful work on both sides of the recruiting equation

Why did the company mission replace benefits? Well, if you look at some data, there’s some interesting data on candidates, and that is data that proves that candidates really care about aligning with work that is purposeful and meaningful.

What candidates find meaningful is a chance to make an impact on the company, make an impact on the community or make an impact on the world. And interestingly enough it’s automation in large part that’s creating opportunities for candidates to do more of this work.

So we have a hunger for more purpose on the candidate side and more opportunities for purposeful work at employers. Staffing companies stand in the middle and need to reflect both internally.

There’s a new communication paradigm

It requires you to be active in multiple time zones 24/7 to engage candidates. It has constantly changing roles & requirements. Evaluating candidates becomes more complex and soft skills-based.

It’s an environment where you have to balance creating scale and efficiency through automation with creating a highly personalized and human experience on both sides of recruiting.

Whether you do that through AI-based resume screening, recruitment chatbots, or conversational AI for recruiting is a decision that can make or break your ability to compete in the new paradigm.

The future is defined by complexity.

The world of work, candidate psychology, technology development, and changes in your competitive environment are all interconnected and disrupting the recruitment industry. Make sure the strategy you create and the technology solutions you implement are robust and agile enough to support your continued success.


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