Sign of the Times: Recruiters Need Jobs Too

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2009-03-02 Print this article Print

Recruiters for technology professionals can be a blessing and a curse.

When times are good and your skill sets are in demand, recruiters can be on you like ants at a summer picnic. They are a collective, somewhat exploitative group (in the sense that they make coin off your talents and really want to talk to you when they have an opportunity in hand) and yet they can open you up to the kinds of exclusive opportunities and relationships that can help your career. When used to its full potential, working with recruiters can be a key way to help you advance in your career, organize your priorities and put more money in your wallet in the form of salary and bonuses.

Technology has always been prone to fluctuations in the economy. And while it's not surprising that recruiters are suffering major job losses in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, it means there are a lot of fractured and lost relationships with the companies and startups where you would want to be working now or in the future.

Many recruiters themselves are poised for career change, since overall job demand continues to slow. As the New York Times tells, recruiters at a recent networking event in the Bay Area were really struggling to find opportunities.

Consider Google, a company that in 10 years had never laid off employees because of economic conditions. In its first round of recession-related job cuts last month, it fired 100 recruiters ... And as contractors, many recruiters who find themselves jobless cannot collect unemployment.

Recruiters have never been the elite denizens of Silicon Valley. That is a distinction reserved for the rock stars of Silicon Valley, the engineers, serial entrepreneurs, product designers or marketers or the venture capitalists who finance start-ups.

But recruiters have long played a vital role as foot soldiers in the Valley's famous talent wars for those rock stars. When the emerging Web 2.0 companies like Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn competed with each other and with more established players like Google and Yahoo for top-flight talent, recruiters were in high demand. Wages rose accordingly and many good recruiters could easily command an hourly rate of $100, which for a full-time contract translates to about $200,000 a year. (Many recruiters now say they would be lucky to find work that pays $30 to $50 an hour.)

Ouch. That hurts. |

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