When preparing a client for an interview, I’m always looking for that X-factor… the thing that will set them apart from the crowd. This can show up in many ways.
I always start with a client’s strengths. Understanding, then exploring what naturally comes to them is a good place to prod for material.
I recently worked with someone (let’s call them Jessica) who had a curious writing sample attached to her application. The sample was an essay that addressed a discrete area of law.
This area had nothing to do with the services offered by the firm to which she applied. As a result, I glanced over the writing sample thinking it was going to be immaterial to the process.
How wrong was I.
When Jessica told me how she came up with the idea to write the essay, my eyes lit up…I found her X-factor! She explained that one of her professors commented in class that very little was written about the topic, and away she went. Her strengths of excellence, initiative and good judgment were all highlighted in that essay.
Jessica became excited to be able to cite that writing sample as representing her signature strengths. Her ability to recognize an opportunity to make a unique contribution, and then act on it really stood out. This was something that the interviewers could come to rely upon if they extended her an offer.
What’s your X-factor?