Well, according to former Harvard president Charles W. Eliot, ‘There is no mystery about successful business intercourse . . . Exclusive attention to the person who is speaking to you is very important. Nothing else is so flattering as that.’

‘Dr. Eliot’s listening was not mere silence, but a form of activity. Sitting very erect on the end of his spine with hands joined in his lap, making no movement except that he revolved his thumbs around each other faster or slower, he faced his interlocutor and seemed to be hearing with his eyes as well as his ears. He listened with his mind and attentively considered what you had to say while you said it . . . At the end of an interview the person who had talked to him felt that he had had his say.’

The best and most memorable candidates come to an interview with an arsenal of well-developed questions. Those questions touch on their interest in our company’s growth strategy, our values and our measures of success. They really pique the interview panel’s interest because we see what matters most to the candidates as they have done their homework about the organization and the role.

Want to be sure your questions hit the mark? Here are some things to consider:

  • Do your homework. Check out the company’s website and social channels, then ask questions based on what you see. Example: I noticed your company just hired a new VP, Product? Why is your organization adding that role at this time? How are you hoping he/she impacts your company’s strategy or results?
  • Focus on what matters most to you. Example: Can you tell me more about how your company invests in innovation? What does professional development look like on your team?
  • Connect your question to a comment the interviewer made earlier in the interview. Example: You mentioned that your style is very collaborative. What does that look like in your customer interactions? Does the company culture support that style?

Most importantly, always bring many more questions than you think you’ll have time to ask. Don’t squander the time you have been given to talk with hiring managers.