Instead of asking, “what’s your culture like?”
Ask, “I noticed on the job description, you describe your organization as being a ‘flat’ culture, what does that mean at your company?”
Instead of asking, “what made you want to join the company?”
Ask, “on your LinkedIn, I see you come from a financial services background, what made you want to make the switch?”
Instead of asking, “who are your main competitors?”
Ask, “I read the case study on your website about how your tech differs from ‘x competitor,’ what went into that decision to invest in those specific features?”
Point is, do your homework. Most of the questions people typically ask during interviews can easily be researched. Ask something you can’t find out on their website. Preface your question by mentioning a fact you learned, then dig deeper to gain more clarity. Actively listen to what the hiring manger is saying, show you’re listening by following up with a relevant or related question.