Recruiters are slowing down--or even fully pausing--the rapid-fire hiring.

Several large tech firms have announced plans to scale down recruitment, applying the brakes after months of high demand for tech workers. On Sunday, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told employees that hiring would be treated like a "privilege," according to an email obtained by CNBC. And last week, Meta CFO David Wehner told employees that the company would reduce hiring targets for 2022 for nearly every department, according to a memo acquired by Insider. According to the tech industry layoff tracker Layoffs.fyi, at least 66 tech companies have had layoffs so far in 2022.

These hiring freezes and layoffs have multiple causes--fast growth leading to overzealous hiring in some instances, and stalled growth in others. However, they all signal hesitation about the current economic outlook, as businesses prepare for the possibility of a recession.

Although inflation has cooled ever so slightly, tech hiring freezes could be a bellwether for a change in the overall hiring pattern. This might not mean that small businesses will find it any easier to fill "low-skill" jobs that tend to have lower wages, but more midsize tech companies may actually have an unexpected opportunity to recruit talent who might have otherwise gone to larger firms. Of course, that all depends on how economic forces move over the next few months--and whether the Federal Reserve can stick a soft landing as it raises interest rates to ease inflation without triggering a recession.