Premium Associate Member Spotlight: Midwest Recruiters

This article appeared in the May/June 2023 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

Michigan manufacturers have faced off against a perfect storm of hiring challenges from a rapidly evolving workforce to a highly competitive market for talent. However, finding the right candidate for the right position really comes down to developing relationships.

That’s why Tony Dekker founded Midwest Recruiters in 2017 and made it his mission to build a recruiting firm that focuses on process and building relationships.

“When manufacturing companies have a vital position that becomes vacant, it potentially creates a void in their process,” says Dekker, President of Midwest Recruiters. “Some might give it the old college try, but in reality, it takes a lot of time, effort and persistence to get in touch with potential candidates. They don’t last long on the market and you only get one shot at making your best first impression with a potential employee.”

Manufacturers across the state face challenges with not only acquisition but retention as well. As more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, there’s a very real fear of a retirement tsunami happening in the next few years which makes planning for and hiring for key positions even more of a critical task.

Fortunately, companies can start planning for those retirements now, says Dekker. Hiring managers can focus on candidates that not only meet the technical requirements but who are also aligned culturally. By going through the right process in the first place, companies can look to their employee depth to fill gaps due to retirement.

“Employment is meant to be a mutually beneficial and hopefully long-term ‘marriage’ between an employer and employee,” he says.

Dekker says he encounters an “old school vs. new school” mentality in the marketplace as expectations for any potential candidate have evolved significantly. This is something that began happening before the COVID-19 pandemic and it has only accelerated since.

“Nowadays people want things such as being appreciated in addition to being provided competitive wages and benefits,” says Dekker. “They expect the full spectrum when it comes to compensation and culture.”

Finding alignment from the company to the candidate is key to long-term retention. This is true for the technical skills required and the culture.

“Taking the time to know the company and the exact profile of what they’re looking for is a critical step,” says Dekker. “We use that profile to target the right candidate and build those connections.”

While manufacturers continue to seek solutions to their talent problems, examining their own internal processes and focusing on finding the right candidate is definitely a good place to start.

Premium Associate MemberMidwest Recruiters is an MMA Premium Associate Member and has been an MMA member company since November 2022. Visit online: