Dan Klein

Markruiting: A Better Path to Employee Recruitment and Retention

Over the past few months as I’ve spoken with local business owners and corporate decision makers, one common topic and challenge has surfaced: the need for more qualified candidates to fill roles in the workforce.

This doesn’t surprise me as it is a microcosm of a national trend that has emerged while the pandemic begins to subside and many businesses start to regain momentum in the marketplace.

Virtually everywhere you look are stories of businesses across all industries – especially manufacturing – that are desperately seeking to grow their employee base but are facing obstacles. If your company can relate to this, what can your organization do to hire the right people for every position and keep your business operating efficiently and productively? We have a solution (I like to call it “markruiting”) that has worked in the past and seems to be a relevant answer for today.

Let’s take a closer look at where things stand now and how markruiting could just be the pathway to get you where you want to be.

Catalysts for a workforce shortage.

It’s a big challenge. Demand for American goods is greatly increasing as we begin to move toward a post-pandemic marketplace and, even though U.S. manufacturing activity surged to its highest levels in over three decades, manufacturing companies are having trouble finding employees, from entry-level positions to specialists. Research findings warn that as many as 2.1 million manufacturing positions could still be open through 2030, an eye-opening proposition that could result in a $1 trillion detriment to the U.S. economy.  

But manufacturing is not the only industry affected. Restaurants have increased job openings to 9.3 million nationwide, but over 4 million culinary workers are not returning to their restaurants after layoffs and furloughs; therefore finding new candidates has been a challenge. In addition, there are over a million retail position openings, with little to no interest among qualified employee prospects. The travel and shipping industries have also been affected by pandemic effects and have been slow to recover with a worker shortage of nearly 50 percent. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “worker shortage is the biggest issue facing the U.S. economy this summer.”

Business experts and analysts have identified a few key reasons that may be causing the current labor shortage. According to their analysis, this includes a lack of qualified workers, Covid-related reluctance to return to the workplace, a need for more affordable childcare options, and enhanced unemployment benefits. While many employers have increased salary and benefit incentives, the numbers indicate these efforts have been largely to no avail.

Marc Bowers, a great business associate and friend who heads up St. Louis Makes, a non-profit peer group that serves emerging and mid-sized manufacturers, says he is seeing these same trends locally. “Most manufacturing companies in our area are in constant recruitment mode,” he says. “They are looking for new, innovative and effective methods of attracting and retaining qualified workers to meet the growing demand of local, national and international markets.”

Enter the markruiting concept as a possible strategy toward not just finding available workers, but finding highly qualified employees who are ready and willing to help companies meet growing demands and achieve their short- and long-term goals.

“There’s probably never been a more important time for manufacturing companies – and companies in all industries – to attract and retain qualified talent.”
  • Marc Bowers, Executive Director, St. Louis Makes

Markruiting: A new application of an original idea.

Nearly a decade ago, we introduced the idea of markruiting to our clients to help them stand out among their competitors and attract the talent they were seeking. Our clients loved the concept – and results. Simply put, markruiting is combining your marketing and recruiting efforts to create unique and powerful messaging that speaks directly to prospects wherever they are and offers them clear, concise reasons why your company may be the right fit for them.

Markruiting has many benefits, including:

  • Thinking beyond the “Want Ads” to produce meaningful messaging that resonates with prospects.
  • Strong headlines and copy that convey the attributes and benefits of your company at a quick glance.
  • Finding potential workers where they are and provoking a response and employment application.
  • Attracting attention and employees by combining marketing with recruiting to create content, advertising and social posts. This approach seamlessly complements your marketing and recruiting programs.
  • Targeted marketing with a sense of urgency that quickly gets to the point – and gets results. There’s no time to waste.

Is markruiting right for your company?

Marc agrees that the concept of markruiting is more relevant than ever. “There’s probably never been a more important time for manufacturing companies – and companies in all industries – to find and attract qualified talent,” he says. “This will not only have an effect on their own organizations but on our local and national economies both now and for years to come.”

If this concept sounds interesting to you, the Spoke team and I are always ready to discuss the possibilities and how you may apply this thinking to help solve your own hiring challenges. The right workers you need are out there. Here’s where your search can begin – and end – with positive results. It’s all about getting both you and your business where you want to be.

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Dan Klein


Is it Dan’s years of sales experience that makes him obsess about empowering our clients’ sales team with the right tool at the right time during the buyer’s journey? Is it his experience running marketing departments that compels him to find the tactics that have the highest possible return on investment? Is it his fascination with all-things-technological that drives our ability to deliver hyper-targeted (and super-effective) and perfectly timed messages? We may never know; we’re just glad he still has time to focus on our business, too.

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