How to Interview Future Employers: Some Work Wellbeing Wisdom

Ute Schauberger
4 min readAug 1, 2023

My first month

This month has been my first as full time practice lead for service design at Opencast. Transitioning has been a great challenge. Lots to learn and find out, lots of friendly and supportive people, lots to get stuck into. Also lots that needs much more reflecting, doing, and experimenting before becoming something I learnt and want to share.

Some work wellbeing wisdom

Instead, I’ll write about more of a long-term learning: How to interview future employers.

We are expanding the team again and hiring service designers! You can find the job ads here on our website. It has been both joyful and challenging to get back to that. It’s not always easy to find the right people, and it’s also not easy to find the right role when you’re a service designer.

Job interviews are a two way street. Amongst the preparation and pressure, it is easy to forget that you are also interviewing your employer. Plus people with good questions make a great impression during a hiring process. As well as people who are clear on what they are looking for. This is something I struggled with when I first started out in design. And something I learnt to do much better over the years. Here is what I recommend:

  1. Make a list of all that is important to you at work. This can be difficult but also enlightening to list. It took me a long time to learn what I need and want from a workplace, what makes me thrive, and where I do my best work. It will almost certainly change! That’s okay, just make a start. Think about all your previous jobs, teams, projects. Or perhaps why you want to leave your current role.
  2. Give a score from 1 to 10 to each item on your list, weighing them by importance. Aim for a mix of scores even when it’s tempting to give everything a 10. Now look at your top six priorities and arrange them at the top of your list.
  3. Then score your current role against each of these criteria, from 1 to 10. Be honest. Lots of jobs have great potential. But what is the reality right now, and what does your day to day look like most of the time? Multiply the importance score by the role score. This shows you a weighted view of how well your role actually stacks up against your priorities.
  4. This is the most important step! Think about how to find out how a new company might compare to what’s important to you. What could you ask at interview? Who do you need to speak to? What can you find out online? Do your homework. And write out the questions you want to ask of your potential employer. You can even score this new role based on your findings and best guesses, and compare it to others or your current job.

Curious about my own list? And how I interviewed for it? This is what I wrote over one year ago before joining Opencast:

  • Collaboration, trust, teamwork: Collaboration and teamwork are really important to me. What is the team structure like at the moment and who will I be working with? How do you spend time together and apart at the moment?
  • Meaning, impact, and challenging work: What will I be working on? What does a typical day look like in your team? What challenges is your organisation trying to tackle? What was your last project that made an impact?
  • Good pay and future prospects: I checked the job ad, looked up people who worked there, how long they stayed, and who left.
  • Continuous learning and gaining experience: I checked the portfolio of work of the organisations, I looked into their clients, and I looked up my future colleagues.
  • Being respected, recognised and appreciated: How do you think my role would help you and the team? What are your needs and expectations of a service designer? Why do you think you need service design? What would be the biggest challenges for this role? How would you define success in this role?
  • Practicing design, being involved in strategy, and feeling enabled to do good quality work: What influence do service designers have on final outcomes and deliverables? What do the relationships with other disciplines look like? How is design involved in wider strategic conversations? And in practical day-to-day project work?

Originally published at https://uteschauberger.com.

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Ute Schauberger

Designer, Anthropologist, aspiring Gardener. Learns, reflects, and writes about understanding humans and designing services. www.uteschauberger.com