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I've been offered every job I've interviewed for. Here are 5 questions I ask interviewers.

Tim Paradis   

I've been offered every job I've interviewed for. Here are 5 questions I ask interviewers.
  • Kendal Lindstrom started a career-change consultancy after struggling to change jobs.
  • She shared her strategy for acing job interviews, which includes having five key questions ready.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Kendal Lindstrom, 25, who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. She runs a career-change consulting firm named Doux and works in tech. She recently posted a TikTok about five questions she has ready for a job interview. Lindstrom says she believes asking at least some of these questions is why she's always landed a role she interviewed for. The following has been edited for brevity and clarity.

I started Doux because I never liked to be put in a box in terms of my career. Coming out of college, I thought, "I just want to be known as the girl in fashion." I was so wrong. But I didn't know how to pivot into a new industry. It took me two years of connecting, trying, and failing. I found the framework of what Doux is now by failing.

After working in fashion, I got myself into medical sales. I then switched to tech because that's where my passions lie. It took me two years to go from fashion to medical sales. But from the day I decided I wanted to be a tech consultant, it only took me three weeks to get my offer letter.

The difference was I knew how to write my résumé. I knew how to become the candidate that they needed.

My formula is to map your résumé to the career you're going to, not the career you've been in. To get to my current job, I created a résumé that was unstoppable.

Usually, I tell my clients to reach out to the hiring manager. In this case, the hiring manager got to me within minutes of me submitting my résumé. The interview process was extensive, but, like I always tell my clients, it's about follow-ups.

I followed up three times because they had great candidates. But I needed to stay in front, and I needed to be the person they chose.

I had the drive

It's funny when I look back and talk to the executives who hired me. They're like: "You had no business being in tech. You had nothing on your résumé that told us that you would do a good job in this. But the way you presented yourself, it was a no-brainer to hire you because we knew you would get it." So, it's often more how you're presenting yourself in a professional realm rather than what you're saying to answer the questions.

I had drive, and that's what they were looking for. They were looking for someone young to grow with the company. If they wanted someone young, they weren't going to get all the experience in the software that they needed. But I was eager to learn, and however many hours outside work that took, I was willing to do it. I really drove home that it doesn't stop at 5 p.m. My job stops when my job is done.

Each day after work, I spent 30 minutes reading a training book my company had given me. Then, I tried to apply the knowledge for 30 minutes. The next day, I would get time on my boss's calendar and say: "This is what I learned yesterday. Tell me how you have seen this applied in scenarios with a client."

It took me about a year to really digest everything. It was tough, but it came down to whether I was willing to ask questions when I needed help rather than having too much pride and not asking anyone.

I've done a lot of interviews for my age because I kept my options open no matter where I was in my career. I've never wanted to be stagnant. So I have done upwards of 10 or 11 interviews, and I've never been told no because my goal was to make an employer feel like I had their best interests at heart and I wanted to be part of their company, which meant I needed to sell myself as a solution. And it's more about the questions you ask than the answers you get.

I have pretty thick skin

When I worked in medical sales — or even with some of the comments on my TikTok — so much was about my image. I was like, "What does my blonde hair have to do with the knowledge that I have?" Not that it ever hurt my feelings because I have pretty thick skin. In any industry, there will be people who would want to discredit someone's abilities because of how they look. But at the end of the day, I can use my brain to where people are like, "We need to listen to you."

@kendallindstrom

it’s more about the questions you ask than the answers you get. people want to talk about themselves. #interviewquestions #jobinterview #resume #careerchange #womeninbusines

♬ original sound - DOUX | CAREER CHANGE MGMT

Some of the comments on my TikTok have been so far off the mark. At the time of my interviews for my current job, I didn't have a website, and my social media wasn't publicly available. So, I got the job because of the things I said and the questions I asked, and not because of my appearance.

These are my five key questions:

What's the company culture like?

The first thing I tell people to ask is about company culture. That's a big one. It's such a make-it-or-break-it for enjoying your job. I wanted my audience to know that asking about it is so important because if you're miserable in your job, you're only setting yourself up to fail.

What's the lowdown on my predecessor?

The second one is, "What did the person who held this role before me do that was appreciated but not required based on the job description?" I suggest this one because I want my audience to put themselves in the role already. It's an assumptive selling tactic. I always say go into the interview and sell yourself.

I asked that question one time — "What are you going to miss most about this person?" — and the interviewer said, "Oh, they got Starbucks all the time." And I was like, "Great, I guess we'll be getting Starbucks for the office all the time."

What do my colleagues require?

The third question was, "How can I best suit the needs of my direct counterparts?" That came from wanting to understand — in the most professional way — the team you're walking into. It helps me understand and identify how I would fit into the team.

I've seen teams before where they just don't get along. But you don't know that until you sit down on the first day. And at that point, it's already too late. You're either leaving, or you've got to deal with this until you can figure out another job.

How successful is the team?

No. 4 is what the current state of the department is in reference to the bottom line. That has to do with asking about sales, of course, but I'm also asking: "Am I walking into a failing department? Are you expecting me to turn things around? Are you expecting me to just take the blame for something that's already failing? Or are you guys seeing numbers you've never seen before and need more people?" And, if so, "What did you do to see those numbers?"

What does the company's future look like?

My fifth question is my favorite. It's, "What's the company's three-year, five-year, and 10-year plan?" I love this one because I've never walked into a job and thought, "I'm only going to be here for one year," or "I'm only doing this to collect a paycheck." I always say, "Think like the CEO." I never want to go into a job and strive to just be an associate. That's just where you start.

All you really need — or maybe have time for — is one of these questions. So many people on my TikTok said, "That is too many questions. You're so high maintenance." I was like, "Just use one of them, and they'll be blown away." Because you're starting a whole other conversation that doesn't have to do with their questions for you. These are just concepts that I hope people can take with them as they go — little nuggets — to nail these interviews.


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