You've already heard the most common recommendations: questions that are really designed to show the hiring manager what a great candidate you are. And you should definitely include them. But there's another great way to build rapport with your interviewer: change the focus from your skills and goals to the company's needs and wants.
These 4 questions not only open up discussions of how hiring you can help solve the employer's problems, they also give you a much clearer picture of what it's really like to work there.
1. What are the company's biggest worries for the present and future?
You have (ideally) already researched their industry, competitors, etc. Now ask for their view from the inside, something you can never get from Google. You'll also learn what your prospects are for career growth.
2. What is the most challenging aspect of working here?
If you're lucky, you might get an honest opinion about budget constraints, management weaknesses or customer demands. Even if your interviewer stays politically correct, you'll likely learn something that will help you succeed there, or at least decide whether you even want to try.
3. What do you enjoy most about working here?
Again, you're asking for the interviewer's own motivations in staying with the company. Then, think about whether you share those priorities and would feel equally satisfied if you were on their staff.
4. How did you arrive at your current position?
You're inviting the interviewer to share a personal story, which in turn makes an emotional connection between you. It will also show you a path to success that you might want to follow yourself.
Marketing gurus say that the surest way to sell a product is to show how it removes the customer's "pain points." When marketing yourself to potential employers, questions like these can help you do the same.