Over the weekend I shared on Twitter an Evernote document with ten questions I ask when looking for a new role. My current contract ends soon so at the moment I am talking to people and places about what I could do next. This usually means a shorter chat up front to get some background. I use these questions then.

There are no binary responses to these questions and no outright right or wrong (that might come later when you reflect though!). These are about building an understanding of the situation you would be going into.

One piece of advice: Be clear about how you see your practice, your role and ways of working to give you a foil to reflect the responses. We might laugh about all the patchwork UI UX service designer labels out there but understanding what you would be expected to do and how cuts through those distractions, gives you clarity.

These are the questions that help me. I have put the questions down to share wider. They might help you.

[role] = something like interaction designer
[practice] = what the [role] does (eg. interaction design)

  1. What is the role?
  2. What is the project? (Does the team know the problem they are trying to solve? Was is the scope, the time, the influences?)
  3. Does the team recognise the play/s there are using to go about that? (eg. If they say “agile”, what does that mean? And “the team does stand ups and works in two weeks sprints” isn’t enough detail.)
  4. What does the team (and the organisation) see [practice] as?
  5. How does the team (and the organisation) see the [role] helping with this work? (What are the activities they expect [role] to do — not a finite list, but indicative. eg. “As a user researcher will I only be doing user research or will I just be doing usability research?”)
  6. What is the make up of the team? (In roles, culture and experience. With roles like service designers, user researchers and business analysts what are the clear spaces and overlaps?)
  7. How experienced is the team in this sort of work? (eg. Are they going to need coaching to do user centred design and agile or is everyone well versed?)
  8. How does the organisation see [practice]?
  9. Will I be expected to contribute to the organisation’s approach to [practice]? (Not at all -> attend community meetings -> further.)
  10. If going through a third party/agency:
    1. How does the third party/agency see [practice]?
    2. What is the third party/agency’s approach to [role]?
    3. How much will I need to keep within that?
    4. Will I need to contribute/report?