Most of us are raised to believe that a job interview is where a potential employer asks you a bunch of questions to see if you're right for the job, but did you know that the best candidates often spend as much time asking questions as answering them?
Once an interviewer has established that you have the skills to do a job, the next question on their mind is usually performance. It's one thing to have ability, but quite another to have work ethic and focus. By asking about their top performers you can show your interest in becoming one of them. By keeping the question open ended, such as "What is the most important quality you see in your top employees?", you can gain insight into what's most important to them and provide examples of how you've displayed said quality later in the interview.
Asking the right question isn't just about gathering information and doesn't replace the need for preparatory research. In fact, it's vital to have a basic understanding of the company's business in order to know what questions to ask. One example is the question, "How do you deal with [insert challenge here]?" Addressing a challenge facing the business not only shows you've done your homework, but it also indicates you're a problem solver and interested in being part of the solution.
Some questions depend on the interviewer. When being interviewed by someone from human resources it is probably best to keep questions general with focus on the overall company and position in question. With a hiring manager you're able to delve deeper into how they measure success and what they need most in an employee. The best opportunity for information gathering, however, comes when interviewing with a peer. Asking about their experiences with that company and manager not only provides valuable insight into the position, but shows respect for their opinion which can be very endearing.
Good questions don't take the place of being qualified and informed, but they are a great way to make yourself stand out from the crowd and determine if this specific opportunity is right for you.