Podcast, Interviews, Guide, Tips

Questions You Should Be Asking Your Podcast Guests

While you always hear that you need to prepare for having podcast guests and have questions ready, you may be wondering what kind of questions you should be asking. Crafting questions for your interview can be difficult since they should ultimately be unique to your guest. However, there are definitely some more universal questions and tips for the kinds of questions you should be asking. So, if you're struggling with what questions to ask your guest, keep on reading!

Example Questions:

Topical Questions:

Topical questions are questions directly relating to your podcast episode topic and your guest. These questions dig into the topic and begin as well as sustain the conversation.

  • "What's a common myth about [insert topic here] and can you debunk it?"
  • "What advice would you give to someone wanting to enter [insert profession here]?"
  • "Are there any resources that have really helped you on your journey?"

About the Interviewee Questions:

Aside from topical questions, it is also a good idea to ask more personal questions that allow the interviewee to talk a bit about themself. This is important for the promotional aspect of the interview as well as for engagement. These kinds of questions also tend to resonate with the audience more because they can potentially apply the things being said to their own lives and futures.

  • “What do you wish you had known when you started out?”
  • "What led you to this [insert project, profession, etc. here]?"
  • "What do you think your unique skill(s) is that has helped you become successful?"

Promotional Questions:

Promotional questions set it up so that the interviewee can discuss what they are trying to promote, whether that be a project, product, business, brand, themself, etc.

  • "How did this project begin?"
  • "What is your favorite memory related to this project?"

Seemingly Negative Questions:

Seemingly negative questions can prompt creative answers and a thoughtful discussion.

  • "Many people believe that [insert job here] is challenging to the point it becomes overwhelming and too much to handle. Why do you think people believe that?"
  • “What’s the most common reason for people failing or giving up?”

Out of the Box Questions:

Out of the box questions help keep the interview interesting, can make for some funny contributions that become shareable content, and help keep the interviewee on their toes. Unusual questions can be a refreshing part of the interview as well as helpful with keeping the interview a bit relaxed and fun amid the seriousness of other questions.

  • "What is your favorite word?"
  • "What are you not very good at?"
  • "If you could have one superpower, what would it be?"
  • "If you were a type of food, what type of food would you be?"

Tips for Crafting Questions:

  • Keep it positive. While a question with a slightly negative spin can prompt creative answers, you don't want to ask more than 1-2 seemingly negative questions.
  • Ask open-ended questions using words like "who," "what," "when," "where," "why," and "how." Avoid using words like "Are you," "Did you," and "Would you."
  • Focus on asking relevant and engaging questions.
  • Tap into what your guest is passionate about.
  • Ask questions that you genuinely want the answers to.
  • Always include a variety of questions to keep it interesting.
  • Be mindful of sensitive or emotional topics.
  • Let your topic and research guide your questions.
  • Think about what your audience wants to learn.
  • Remain unbiased.
  • Don't forget about follow-up questions! You shouldn't put everything into 1 question. Break long questions into smaller ones and use them as follow-up questions.

Creating questions for your podcast interview can certainly be a challenging task. Of course, crafting unique questions for your podcast guest is the ultimate goal. However, there's nothing wrong with incorporating some more universal questions into your interview. And even better, you can add a unique element to a common question to make it your own engaging question. Happy podcasting!

Check out our 10 Ways to Be a Great Podcast Interviewer and How to Record Podcast Interviews articles for more information about podcast interviews.

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About Michelle Ruoff

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania