A great podcast host never has a dull moment, especially if they interview guests regularly.
Whether you’re talking to celebrities, renowned authors, experts in your niche, or family and friends, you’ll have the chance to discover many interesting details.
When you host an interview-style podcast, you’ll have to ensure you ask the right podcast interview questions. Interview-based podcasts are nothing without engaging inquiries.
But how are you supposed to formulate the perfect questions? This article will explore some of the best podcast questions every host should ask. We’ll also explain how to craft questions of your own and ask them for optimal effect.
9 Great Podcast Interview Questions
Have you ever listened to podcasts with interviews and felt bored or unmotivated to keep listening? Of course, as a host, you shouldn’t create this kind of experience for your audience.
You can conduct a good interview by entering it with the right podcast interview questions. Ideally, these inquiries will interest your guests and inspire your audience. They’ll offer valuable information and facilitate an entertaining conversation at the same time.
Feeling lost as to what questions to ask? Below, you can explore nine great podcast interview questions.
1. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in life?
This inquiry is one of the best podcast interview questions to ask. It’ll give your audience an idea as to how your guest got to their current position.
The answer to this question can serve as the perfect launching point for your guest to help your listeners focus on the things that matter.
2. How would your parents describe what you do for a living?
Our second suggestion is a rather interesting interview question. It helps kick off the conversation and lets the audience know who your guest is in simple terms.
Some of your listeners will know the struggle of relaying their profession to their parents all too well. Many people with non-traditional jobs don’t know how to explain their careers to their parents, and your guest’s response might make them seem more relatable.
3. What’s your biggest failure — and what did you learn from that experience?
Use this question to debunk the common myth that successful people are without flaws. Then, your guest can share stories of their shortcomings and how they rose above them to get to where they are today.
Note: Interview questions like these may incite ill feelings, so be careful how you phrase them. If people misunderstand the reason for asking a question, you may have an awkward show to get through. That’s why we recommend giving your guest your list of questions ahead of time.
4. What does your morning routine look like?
This inquiry is a great podcast interview question to give your audience insight into your guest’s day-to-day life.
For example, your guest may start their day with a yoga session, a good book, or a big breakfast spread. Their description will help your listeners gauge your guest’s interests and relate to them on a more personal level.
5. What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in your career?
All podcast interviews should incorporate this question at some point. How to start a Podcast, seems like a simple question if you have already don it, right? It’s interesting to hear the advice a successful person has to offer. Has learning to not sweat the little things helped your guest make it this far? Or has learning to be adaptable been their key to success? Your guest’s perspective will be invaluable to any listener.
6. What’s the best compliment someone has ever given you?
You may see some rosy cheeks after asking this question! But it’s an authentic, pure inquiry, and the answer will reveal what your guest values. Plus, you’ll give them a chance to brag about their stand-out qualities, from their humor to their work ethic.
7. What career path would you have picked if you weren’t in your current profession today?
Your listeners will love to hear about how your guest’s life would’ve looked if they made a couple of different choices along the way. Would they be in a career similar to their current one or an entirely different profession altogether?
8. Are there any humorous stories your family tells about you that come to mind?
The answer to this question will provide an interesting look into your guest’s personality. For example, was your investing expert guest a big prankster when he was a child? After some prying, you may be able to get the whimsical stories out of them and trace some thru-lines throughout their life.
Top Podcast Questions When Interviewing a Business
Do you plan to have a guest on your podcast that’s a company owner? Here are some of the best podcast interview questions for businesses:
1. If you had unlimited funds to grow your business, what would you do?
This hypothetical question is thought-provoking and can reveal the ambitious goals your guest has. Even if the provided goals aren’t entirely realistic, they’re still fun to hear about.
2. What are the tools and software your company uses every day and couldn’t live without?
Product management systems. Communication channels. Website builders. Virtual calendars. These tools are what keeps a company afloat. Learn about the one tool or software (or several) that keeps your guest’s company churning.
And who knows? Your guest’s answer may help hopeful listeners learn how to get started in that particular industry.
3. What’s your favorite productivity hack for entrepreneurs?
While you can ask questions related to the specific company, you can also experiment with broader questions.
This third inquiry is a great interview question, as it serves as advice that any aspiring entrepreneurs can apply to their daily routines.
How to Create Great Podcast Questions
Arguably, the biggest challenge you’ll face as a podcast host is developing the perfect interview questions. Of course, great podcast interview questions will yield better answers than mediocre ones, so it’s essential to perfect your brainstorming process.
Here are some tips on creating the perfect questions:
- Do your research: You should always research your guest beforehand to gain some basic information. Your guest’s company website and even Wikipedia can be the best resources. Learning about their background, achievements, and industry will inspire fantastic question ideas.
- Determine your goals: What do you want to accomplish with your episode? Give your podcast audience a good laugh? Teach them life hacks? Whatever it is, keep your episode’s goals in mind as you formulate your interview questions.
- Create a signature question: Creating a signature can be a great idea for your whole show, not just one episode. For example, if you run a podcast that discusses investing, ask each guest, “What’s one investment you wish you almost made but didn’t and now regret?” Your listeners will eagerly anticipate the signature question each time you put out new podcast episodes.
How to Ask Good Podcast Questions
Think of a good podcast interview as an exciting match of ping pong. There’s a lot of back-and-forth and involvement from each party. It’s an engaging conversation between the host and guest and a chance to build rapport.
As the host, make sure you listen and process everything your guest has to say. Don’t just spit out questions rapid-fire-style. Instead, offer some comments before moving onto the next question, and ensure you contribute to the conversation as thoughtfully as you can.
Your guest’s answers will guide you. You may think of follow-up questions naturally, so don’t be afraid to ask those. It’s okay to go off-script!
Just be sure not to dwell on one question for too long. When you feel the topic is about to expire, make a smooth transition to the next question.
Podcast Interview Questions to Avoid Asking
There are great questions, and there are not-so-great ones. Try to avoid asking the following:
- Basic questions: If you have a high-profile guest, they’ll likely have made appearances in many recent interviews. Study these interviews and avoid asking questions they get all the time. If you ask for generic information, your guests will likely provide answers your audience has already heard. And we’re willing to bet that your listeners will tune out.
- Inquiries that are phrased negatively: You don’t want to make your podcast guest feel uncomfortable by discussing past shortcomings negatively. Choose your wording carefully.
- Questions based on common myths: Everyone loves to gossip a little, but avoid asking your guests about tabloid rumors with no factual evidence to back them up. They likely won’t want to talk about untrue or exaggerated details.
You should never enter podcast interviews without some preparation. In this portion of the article, we’ll discuss the different ways to prepare for your upcoming interview.
You shouldn’t begin your show without chatting with your guest a bit first. Make an effort to have a conversation with your guest without the audience present. Talking to your guest beforehand will help break the ice and make you both more comfortable.
Outlining the Episode
It’s wise to outline your podcast episode before you go on air. Some elements to include in your outline are:
- The show’s introduction
- Your guest’s introduction
- Segues from question to question
- A message from your sponsor
- A final call-to-action
You can organize this outline however you see fit, whether rough notes, bullet points, or more of a word-for-word script.
Don’t be afraid to speak off-script if the moment inspires you — just use your judgment to ensure the new ideas are relevant to the moment.
Should I Send The Podcast Interview Questions Beforehand?
It can be difficult for anyone — even a seasoned public figure — to listen to a question and provide a thoughtful answer on the spot.
Some podcast guests love the spontaneity of not knowing the interview questions beforehand. But others like to know what they’re getting themselves into beforehand. So they may request to see potential topics and prepare general answers. Still, others will prefer to see the exact questions beforehand, giving them a chance to dig deeper with their answers.
It’s all up to what your guest is comfortable with, so make sure to have this conversation far enough in advance.
Good Podcast Questions To End You Show With
An often-overlooked element of podcast hosting is the conclusion — how do you end an interview-style episode without cutting the show abruptly or leaving your audience hanging?
To conclude our article, we’ll provide you with four good interview questions to ask to bring your episode to its end.
1. What are you currently working on?
Give your guests a chance to talk about their current projects. They may be reviewing a script for a new movie, planning to go on tour, or hosting podcasts of their own (we love the inception here). Let your guest reveal current projects and hint at what’s to come.
Listeners will appreciate the insight, especially if they are (or have become) a fan of your guest because of your show.
2. What should I ask you that I didn’t know enough to ask?
Any good interviewer will ask a comprehensive list of insightful, unique questions. But you can’t possibly ask everything there is to ask.
Your guest might’ve had something they were itching to say the entire time but didn’t get an opportunity to — until now.
This inquiry is the king of open-ended questions, and who knows where it’ll lead to. But it does have an element of conclusiveness, allowing your guest to get their final thoughts and words of wisdom off their chest.
3. What book or movie are you really into right now?
Are you looking for a light-hearted way to draw the interview closer to the end? Your guest will love to share what media they’ve been consuming in their spare time, whether it relates to their profession or not. And, they may provide your audience with an awesome recommendation in the process.
4. Where can listeners find you online?
At the end of your episode, you should direct your audience to further interactions with your guest. Help your listeners connect with your guest, whether on their website, blog, or another place online. For example, you can shout out upcoming shows your audience can attend or your guest’s newsletter to sign up for.
Overall, crafting intriguing and productive questions is all about research, timing, and phrasing. It’s part of what goes into the art of making a great show, and therefore, it requires hard work and practice.
Remember that even the most successful podcast hosts can struggle to come up with questions for their guests. Look into what has already been asked to your guest and fall back on this list if you need support. If you’re not sure whether to ask a particular question, just ask your guest!