* To Rise “Above the Crowd” You Must “Make a Difference”

rise above

While we very purposefully named our monthly newsletter “Above the Crowd”, for some of our readers it has been a somewhat confusing title for a newsletter about staffing.  I get asked all the time, “How did you come up with that name?”

For me the answer is simple –  “Above the Crowd” is just one more way for us to talk about “making a difference” which  has been a watchword for our company, the PACE Staffing Network, since its founding over 35 years ago.  Being different by finding people for our clients who “make a difference”, and by helping our clients differentiate their businesses from their competitors, is, for us, the one and only way to truly rise “above the crowd”.

The  “make a difference” mantra has been part of who I am since a very young age.  My father was a farmer.  He grew, packaged and sold potatoes in the beautiful Skagit Valley – an area of the country that  at the time was not known for its potatoes.  My father had to create a way to differentiate, not only for his potatoes but Skagit Valley potatoes. I  remember many family dinners where my brothers, sisters and I heard our father talk about things he was  doing to make his “Skagit Valley” potatoes  “unique” – smaller, redder, shinier than potatoes grown elsewhere.   His product was potatoes – what could be more ordinary?  His goal was to create a new market for a “different potato” that would make a difference to his customers.

And his stories about the value of “difference” sank in.  Even as a teenager when I saw most of my friends “turning left”, I immediately wanted to find out more about “turning right.”  If coats with fur collars were “in”… fur collars were “out” for me.

I brought that impulse to my business.  Go where others aren’t, do what others “won’t” –  are founding principles of how we did, and still do, business.  And these principles have served us well.  In today’s highly competitive business environment, finding new ways to differentiate your business from others is one of the most challenging aspects for any company.  Marketing gurus who know how to alter “customer perception” are some of the busiest and highest paid professionals in the marketplace.

But the challenge can’t just be about perception, as underneath the perception of difference, are all the things that actually create the differences that matter most to customers.  In the staffing industry,  for example, finding a way to get “above the  crowd” is not just about doing things differently, its about making sure those differences do something important for our customers.  Any staffing company can  find and deliver people to their customers, but it’s how fast those people can get delivered to the client and how qualified they are to contribute to our customer’s success, that, at the end of the day, matters.

The same is true for job candidates.  Those of us in the hiring business know just how much of the hiring process is about perception.  Job seekers who find a way to get past the multiple layers of screening, interviews, and assessments to stand “above the crowd” are the ones who get the employment offers.  The employees who rise “above the crowd” to actually make a difference to their employers, are the employees who remain “above the crowd.”

So how do all of us – companies and job candidates – make sure we’re making a difference?

I think the answer revolves around three possibilities.   As a company, your products or services must deliver something that is either better, faster, or easier than your competitive counterparts to put you “above the crowd”.   For our employer clients, PACE must deliver better employees, faster, and with less hassle than other staffing companies, or run the risk of being replaced.  Our story of how we do just that creates the perception of difference, but the actual delivery of FASTER, BETTER and EASIER is the difference that matters.

The same is true for job candidates.  Master the stories about how you have helped former employers do things  faster,  easier, or better, and you are well on your way to creating the perceptions necessary to get  hired.   The faster, better, easier contributions you have actually made to your former employers are the things that will keep you “Above the Crowd”

The lesson? Every customer, every job, provides us with a chance to make a difference.  Every employer, every customer, is looking for a faster, better or easier solution to problems they face on a daily basis.   Deliver that solution – one job, one client at a time – and you will put yourself in that elite group who is always, “Above the Crowd.”

Jeanne Knutzen


This article was written by Jeanne Knutzen, President and Founder of the PACE Staffing Network.  PSN offers a network of general and specialized recruiters and a full menu of recruiting support services.    

If you need help finding or hiring the right employees, contact us at infodesk@pacestaffing.com or call 425-637-3312 for a confidential conversation about your current or upcoming hiring needs.

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