From Boom to Gloom: Tech Recruiters Struggle to Find Work

“Recruiters have a lot of transferable skills,” he said.

Lucille Lam, 38, has been a recruiter her entire career. But after her employer, the crypto security start-up Immunefi, slowed its recruiting efforts in the spring, she switched to work in human resources. Instead of managing job listings and sourcing recruits, she began setting up performance review systems and “accountability frameworks” for Immunefi’s employees.

“My job morphed heavily,” she said.

Ms. Lam said she appreciated the chance to learn new skills. “Now I understand how to do terminations,” she said. “In a market where nobody’s hiring, I’ll still have a valuable skill set.”

Matt Turnbull, a co-founder of Turnbull Agency, said at least 15 recruiters had asked him for work in recent months because their networks had dried up. Some offered to charge 10 percent to 30 percent below their normal rates — something he had never seen since starting his agency, which operates from Los Angeles and France, seven years ago.

“Many recruiters are desperate now,” he said.

Those who are still working have it harder than before. Job candidates often get stuck in holding patterns with companies that have frozen budgets. Others see their offers suddenly rescinded, leading to difficult conversations.

“I have to try to be as honest as possible without discouraging them,” Mr. Turnbull said. “That doesn’t make not being not wanted any easier.”

At Recruit Rise, Ms. Hamada restarted classes to train recruiters in late August. Steering her students away from start-ups funded by venture capital has shown promise, even if some of them have started with internships or part-time work instead of a full-time gig.