What questions do you ask a potential employer when going to an interview?
These are some of the questions I usually go to first:
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the company right now?
What motivates you to get out of bed to come into work in the morning?
Would you join this company if you could do it all over again?
How many friends/family members have you recruited to work for this company?
Thinking back to people who have been in this position previously, what differentiated the ones who were good from the ones who were really great?
If the interviewer is an executive or senior manager: "What keeps you up at night when you think about making this business successful?"
For anyone: "How would you describe how decision-making gets done at this company?”
What are a few things that really drive results for the company?
What are the common attributes of your top performers?
If I get the job, how do I earn a “gold star” on my performance review?
Based on our talk today, do you see me a good fit for this position? <-- I know this seems a bit forward, but it's always worked for me - at this point the interviewer really can't help but be honest. If you don't have a shot in hell, asking this will usually give you a good indication (or the converse, if they like you - it's good to hear so you'll at least know that much moving toward "next steps.")
I think the importance of the question about previous experience with people in the role you're applying for can not be understated.
Since that line seems a bit convoluted, let me throw a personal anecdote at it.
My current employer seemed very keen about asking me if I could be on time every day, and work from 9 to 5. They were intent on making sure I would actually be in, every day, and not just choose "not to show up". The funny thing, is that this questions came up in awkward ways, again and again, during the initial interview.
It wasn't until I started probing a bit (and partly after I was hired) that I uncovered the full story; the previous designer was a freelancer that chose not to show up quite often, never had his work done by the deadline and then, all of a sudden, disappeared in a puff of smoke.
My point here, is that initially, it looked like they were a particularly anal bunch :] Now that I'm working here, they're quite lenient, and very easy to work with. It was just their bad experience with a previous person that made them ask specific questions.
It's good to know these things, since you can adjust your story during the interview to it. You can share some anecdotes about how you stayed back 'till midnight to fix that CSS bug in that one weird old browser. How you helped out your sales team by polishing that presentation for the Phillips campus.
This helps your employer feel safe, and it helps you look like an all-star awesome super win GOOOOOO designer, because you're that one designer that ticks off on "punctuality".
Again, most of this is completely anecdotal, but swap this one bad characteristic out with whatever other character traits the previous person had, and you can play your hand to that.
.edit: block of text hits designers for 9999, it's super effective!
- What is one stumbling block people hit within their first 60 days here and how can I avoid it?
That is my go-to question after anything specific that comes up in the interview. It tells you more about their process and highlights workflow quirks that may not normally be addressed and it gets them thinking about you in the role and how you can succeed in that role.
Josef Komenda addressed quite thoroughly this matter here.
That's a great list! Totally stealing it.
What's the worst thing about working here?
Hah, yes. If they've asked you "what's your biggest weakness?" then you should totally ask this.
I've actually done this when being interviewed for my current project, and the honest reply I got from my (then) boss is useful to this day.
What's your coffee policy? Is my second favorite.
I posted a similar question last night https://news.layervault.com/stories/23162-good-interview-questions-for-designers
(For a front end developer role, should have mentioned that!)