recruiting, recruiters, talent acquisition, hiring platform. hiring frenzy, pandemic, talent

The Challenges of Recruiting Recruiters

By Roy Maurer SHRM Online Manager/Editor, Talent Acquisition

The Challenges of Recruiting Recruiters. Employers have been in a hiring frenzy since the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic stabilized in 2021. The U.S. unemployment rate sits at 3.6 percent, the lowest rate since right before the pandemic began, while job openings are at record highs. Many employers are discovering that they are need recruiters now more than ever—especially those employers that laid off their hiring teams when the pandemic hit. “There is a higher need for recruiters right now,” said Angela Copeland, vice president of marketing at, a New York City-based hiring platform with a network of independent recruiters. “This is because as hiring has increased across the board, the need for more recruiters has increased to accommodate that growth.”

Job listings for recruiters tripled between January 2019 and January 2022, outpacing growth in the job market overall, according to data from LinkedIn. Recruiter demand was steady throughout 2019, fell sharply when the pandemic first hit in 2020 and then began to rise dramatically in 2021 as organizations rescaled their recruitment functions.

“So many recruiting teams downsized massively in 2020,” said Laura Mazzullo, founder and owner of East Side Staffing, a New York City-based recruiting firm for HR professionals. “Employers panicked and laid off their recruiters because they weren’t hiring, and when they realized they had to hire again, it’s led to a frenetic hiring boom. This current spike in demand for recruiters would not look so dramatic if so many companies had not cut their recruiting teams back in 2020.”

Many recruiters who lost their jobs or quit the industry have pivoted to other roles during the pandemic, which has contributed to the shortage.

The sharp demand for recruiting services has led to what industry veteran Jeremy Eskenazi, SHRM-SCP, managing principal at Riviera Advisors in Los Angeles, calls “the Golden Age of Talent Acquisition.”

“There isn’t one recruiter I know who isn’t being recruited or being asked to find other recruiters,” said Suzie Grieco, president of search firm SG2 Recruiting in the Washington, D.C., area. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen the demand as crazy as it is right now, and I’ve been in this industry for almost 20 years.”

Salaries for recruiters, especially in hard-pressed sectors like technology, finance and health care, have soared, according to an analysis conducted by and Revelio Labs.

“Recruiters know their worth in this market, and if you don’t pay that, they will find someone who will,” Mazzullo said. “Most of my clients are paying at least $50,000 more than what they thought they had to pay, sometimes $100,000 more.”

By Roy Maurer SHRM Online Manager/Editor

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