Is Recruiting dead?

In a recent post on a Reddit recruiting community, a user asked if recruiting is a dead-end career. This question, along with similar questions like whether recruiting has become a dead-end profession, has become very common as a result of the market. The reaction to the market has only been catalyzed by fear of AI taking over jobs. However, as someone who found a lot of success in recruiting and who used the skills acquired from recruiting to further my career in HCM, People Analytics, and HR technology spaces, I felt the need to respond to the question, “Is Recruiting dead”?

Recruiting Isn’t Dead: Understanding Market Cycles and the Evolution of Talent Acquisition

Recruiting is far from dead; it merely fluctuates between candidate-driven and employer-driven markets. When the demand for hiring is high, employers compete aggressively to meet their ambitious hiring goals. In such scenarios, candidates become extremely valuable due to the high demand and limited supply. Conversely, when hiring demand is low, the candidate supply exceeds demand.

The Pandemic’s Impact on Hiring Trends

During the pandemic, there was a significant hiring surge. Many companies underwent substantial transformations and seized market opportunities, particularly in the tech sector. However, as the market cools, we are witnessing a drastic market correction and hiring demand pressures, especially within the tech industry, which is now focusing on layoffs and profitability.

The Ripple Effect on Recruiting

The fluctuating demand directly impacts recruiting. To meet the high demand, like during the pandemic, recruiting agencies and internal talent acquisition teams increased their budgets. They hired numerous recruiters, many of whom were new to the profession. When the supply of recruiters was too low, they increased offshoring and technology augmentation (ERPs/ATS/RecTech/etc.)  When the market demand subsides, companies cut operational costs, including HR and recruiting departments, to boost profits. This scenario explains the recent wave of recruiter layoffs and the employment challenges.

Challenges Faced by New Recruiters

Many new recruiters, unfamiliar with these cycles, have struggled to adapt. Additionally, tech recruiters, now seeking roles in other industries, face difficulties due to their lack of domain knowledge. Contributing factors such as inflation, stagnant salaries, and changing markets further complicate the situation. However, successful veteran recruiters shift to these market changes and adjust to tap into different types of industries, hiring constructs (contracting/permanent hiring), add additional services to their portfolio, and streamline their processes to reduce overhead. Inversely related to this type of market, they move to focus more on client development or searching for new/better employment, whereas previously, their focus was strongly on candidate sourcing.

The Evolution of the Recruiting Career

The big point is that the talent acquisition profession is evolving. The cyclical nature of hiring and firing has emphasized the importance of workforce planning, retention, succession planning, and learning and development (L&D). Some of the top HR trends, such as employee performance, engagement, retention, and satisfaction, are directly related to hiring and have overlapping skills acquired through the recruiting profession. Many of these skills have often been acquired by TA professionals because of their work across HR shared services and overall growing role scopes as a result of the demand for hiring and the influx of utilization of HR technology. The result is that many talent acquisition professionals have experience in various people operations aspects, including compensation, benefits, onboarding, immigration, talent intelligence, workforce planning, people analytics, job analysis, and design. Talent acquisition professionals also have unique experience with performance management as we have lived in heavily metric-driven performance-based roles, a trend that is increasing across organizations.


Recruiting is undeniably alive, characterized by cycles of varying demand. Companies adjust their recruiting strategies based on financial motivations, leading to fluctuations in recruiter employment. Successful recruiters adapt to industry-specific cycles and evolving needs. Furthermore, talent acquisition is expanding to include comprehensive people operations, covering talent management, talent development, and workforce planning, making adaptability and continuous learning crucial for recruiters.