What have past employees done to succeed in this position?
When it is your turn to ask questions at the end of the interview, you will want to make sure you are asking questions that will set you up for success when you eventually begin your new position.
Do not waste the interviewer’s time with mundane questions that a simple Google search will help you with. Instead, ask detailed, well-rehearsed questions that will yield useful answers. Take diligent notes, and refer back to them as you begin your role.
It is in your nature to want to be successful. Asking how the previous employee was successful will guide you to a starting place.
Tread lightly, however. The person that came before you could have been let go, or could have left the company in a bad spot. You don’t want to bring up any negative tension, so ensure that you phrase your question in the most positive way possible.
Your Success vs The Previous Employee
Knowing how the organization measures achievements will help you understand what the expectations will be and whether you have the skill set to meet them.
Do not undermine your past accomplishments just because your route to success does not match up with the one embraced by the company.
You also do not want to be too narrowly defined by what other people have done. Because you are a different person, you may approach things a little differently.
The Eventual Answer
You may hear a description that highlights the positive and negative attributes of your predecessor.
That could be a good indicator of the company's culture. Typically, what one person has done to be successful is what the organization tends to do to be successful.
Also, the past employee was probably measured on the same assessment scale that you will be measured by. A good follow-up question could be how levels of success are weighed, or even how people are evaluated.
All of this will give you an excellent starting point when you are hired. You will know where you stand, but more importantly, you will know how to be successful.