The purpose of this question is to find out how the position has evolved or if its been a dead-end for other employees.
- What have past employees done to succeed in this position?
The point of this question is to glean a better understanding of how the organization defines an "achievement" and if you have the skill set to deliver the results.
- What is the top priority for the person hired over the next three months?
This is all about focus and expectations. If you get the job, you can walk in on Day One knowing how to make the best impression. The hiring manager's answer will also give you some insight into whether the expectations are reasonable.
- What are the qualities of successful managers in this company?
This one has a double-edge: If you're interviewing for a managerial position, it's pretty obvious why you want to know the answer. However, if the position doesn't have any direct reports, it's imperative to find out what traits the organization values in its leaders. This will give you some insight on how to get promoted, before you even accept the job.
- If offered the position, can you give examples of how I would collaborate with my supervisor?
At first blush, this may seem like a sleeper. It's not. There's a distinct difference in an employee who is simply expected to take orders and an employee who is being groomed for something more. Competent people rarely thrive under a micro-manager. Asking this question will give you an idea of the employer's management style. And if the answer doesn't give you a clear idea of the philosophy, respectfully ask follow-up questions to delve a little deeper.