Yes that's exactly right, for my kind of profile it is extremely annoying, because it slows me down very badly.
Actually I have developed a way to uncover potential political issues during an interview.
Of course questions to understand if you are going to be a luxury hire or an essential piece of the process must be asked before to proceed with the following questions:
* For example I like asking question related to the culture: "How do you maintain creativity within the organisation?"
This question gives you a lot of information about how you are going to be able to share your ideas, but also how your ideas are going to be received.
* I also like asking questions about relationship: "What do you think about me displaying some design documentation on an A3 paper in the developers' pod or the kitchen?"
Again, this question should uncover insights, at this stage you should hear stories between department or even the atmosphere in the office.
* Finally I always try to test manager's reaction by proposing an "out of the box" idea: "If we have no time for a formal usability testing, would you be keen to see me going to the local cafe during 4 hours and do a quick usability test with customers in exchange of a latte?".
Asked to a UX Lead or a manager the answer is going to be different but it shows already reactions about your way to tackle issues.
* Another interesting point: if it is mentioned that a previous designer has been retrenched, understand why, be delicate on that one.
There are many other questions that can be asked but these ones are in my script aiming to understand the political climate for an organisation.
It doesn't give you everything but enough to perceive the situation in the office.
I believe that these questions are related to the following topic: "Informational Interview Questions"