The Struggle to Recruit Recruiters: Demand Surges in Tight Jobs Market

Wall Street Journal

Recruiting firms say it is harder than ever to hire for their own ranks.

By Patrick Thomas

December 10, 2021

As companies strain to fill openings, from the C-suite to the shop floor, postings for recruiter positions have exploded, more than doubling since the start of the year, according to recruiting-software company ICIMS.

“Everyone and their mother out there in corporate America wants recruiters.” – John Arbolino, managing director at Boothroyd & Co., which recruits recruiters in the finance industry

The average number of monthly U.S. job postings for recruiters fell at the start of the pandemic but has more than doubled since February 2020 to nearly 148,000 in September, according to job-search platform ZipRecruiter.

Salaries for tech-sector recruiters with hardly any recruiting experience now range from roughly $75,000 to $115,000 annually–higher than a year ago–depending on bonuses, location and the company, said Nora Hamada, who has spent more than a decade recruiting for tech roles.

Many recruiting firms say they feel squeezed by the shortage. Some describe struggling to meet client demand for new hires while understaffed, though others say they are successfully boosting their own head counts enough to turn the broader supply crunch into a growth opportunity.

Many of the skills needed for the role can be found across industries, and they are similar to what makes a good salesperson, according to Keith Wolf, managing director of recruiting firm Murray Resources: strong communication and organizational skills, persistence and just being talkative.

“I wish I had known about this career path sooner. Talking to people, learning their background–for me, I was excited about that part of recruiting.” – Cynthia Funk, who had originally wanted to be a teacher and pivoted to recruiting

Many employers are starting in-house recruiting teams. Outside recruiting firms that collect 20% to 30% in fees on new hires’ first-year salaries are often too expensive for the number of people that companies need to hire right now, said Jonathan Lydon, head of recruiting at Nuro Inc.