10 Podcast Interview Questions And Techniques To Leave Your Audience Wanting More

podcast Jul 09, 2020

Consider adopting an interview format.

Do you have a podcast or looking to start one? Podcasts continue to gain popularity as a genuine way to connect with an audience and share immense value. Recently, solo podcasts have been taking a backseat to the podcast interview questions format.


With popular interview podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience in the news, more and more podcasters are seeing the value in getting guests to share their knowledge and experience. Interview podcasts also work because:

  • They are more engaging for the podcaster and the audience.
  • Interviews can lead to longterm relationships and partnerships.
  • You don’t have to worry about creating content when you can leverage subject matter experts.

At the same time, not all podcasts interviews are worth a listener’s time. The right questions and techniques are crucial. Podcasters tend to ask cookie-cutter questions that fall flat with the audience. Consider these 10 questions to spark a meaningful conversation that will add value to your listeners.

1. What are the biggest mistakes or myths in your niche?

The guest would have had some success in their field. As a result, they would be passionate about the rookie mistakes they made and what they see others making.

2. What pissed you off this week?

This question sparks a new emotion that the guest would be more than happy to share. Be careful with the question if your guest tends to approach touchy subjects. However, it’s a great way to keep things exciting without pushing the boundaries too much. 

3. I [read/watched/listened] to your [book/video/podcast] and you said [quote].What about that is important to you?

You want to stand out when compared to other interviewers. By getting to know about your guest, you can ask direct questions about their work. The guest will be impressed and happy to go into details about their thought process.

4. What are you interested in or cooking up behind the scenes right now?

If possible, your guest will talk about topics or themes that interest them right now. That can segue into a different conversation, maintaining the interview’s flow. The guest will be happy to share a sneak peek of a future product or service if you have an audience that can bring them future sales.

5. What book would you gift to a teenage you?

You don’t know until you know, right? Despite your guest’s success, there are some regrets. The guest will know precisely what a younger version would need. That information is valuable to listeners who are eager to start or grow their profession, knowledge, or business in that niche. 

6. What advice would you give to someone starting in your field?

Similar to the last question, this question will prompt the guest to give quick, actionable tools to get started. Turn the answer into a soundbite that can be posted on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn.

7. What would you consider to be your biggest failure?

Get to know how failure affected them, why they failed, and what led up to the failure. Open-ended, emotional questions like these keep the conversation honest. 

8. What’s the biggest reason people fail in your niche/field?

The audience gets to know what not to do, straight from the horse’s mouth. This question ties in well with the previous question. The guest would have seen first hand what his peers or mentors did and will share them with your listeners.

9. What’s the one way your [content/program/course/work/practice] changed someone’s life that you didn’t expect?

No matter who you are, there’s always that one story you won’t forget. It’s the story when the guest was at his/her lowest point. Or the point where they were getting too cocky, and someone put them back on the right path. It’s a great way to find out their WHY.

10. Where can our listeners find your content?

Of course, your guest will appreciate that you’re allowing them to share their profile and content with your audience! It can translate to more sales and a strong relationship in the future.


Techniques to crush it as an interviewer

Nothing feels better than when your interviewee gives positive feedback after the interview. Some guests have been on several interviews before and expect the same flow. So when you hit them with something left field, it leaves an indelible impression on them and the audience. 


That’s easier said than done. The podcast interview questions above are a guide. However, there are some steps you can take to make sure you are professional, easygoing, thoughtful and make the most of your guest’s time.

1. Have a Goal

What are you trying to accomplish from the interview? Are you out to inform, inspire, or create shock value? Do you want to focus on the numbers, or do you want an in-depth, human approach? Your goal will help you decide on the length, style, and type of questions you’re going to ask.

2. Prepare

Nothing is worse than an interviewer who knows nothing about their guest. Joe Rogan is an excellent example of doing in-depth research on his guests. He can then lead the conversation through their beliefs. More importantly, he knows their hot buttons and can press them to get surprising takes. You’re not learning to get a rise out of your guests. The goal is to know about them, their content, projects, and goals so you can have a fulfilling conversation.

3. Avoid close-ended questions

Any question that can be answered with a simple Yes or No can create a flat interview. Leading questions also creates an inauthentic experience for listeners. Make sure to ask yourself the questions you’ve prepared. If you can answer them with a simple Yes or No, you should leave them out.

4. Look for adjacent topics never discussed.

In your research, you will find the topics the guest usually covers in their content. To make the interview interesting, look for similar themes to get their take. It sparks new ideas from the guest and can create a fiery interview!

5. Avoid distractions at all costs.

Make sure to give 100% attention to your guest. That means cutting off phones, computer apps and other distractions. Your audience can tell if you’re not into the interview. 

6. Borrow questions.

Not sure what to ask? Listen to some of your favorite podcasts. You can find great questions to ask your guests. See how you can craft those questions in a way that applies to the style and format of your podcast.

7. Aim for guests with direct access to your niche.

There are many subject matter experts in your niche that you can tap into. But if you aim to find a guest with lived experience, you can get an honest take from the center of the action. For example, someone who wrote a book on why a particular business failed would be a good guest. A great guest would be a past employee that was in the center of the scandal.

8. Craft your unique opening question.

Have a question that’s unique to your podcast to help you break the ice. For example, Tim Ferriss asks his guests about the item for $100 that changed their lives, or what advice they would put on a billboard. On the Knuckleheads podcast, they ask NBA players who were the first opponent to take them to the cleaners (paraphrasing here). Find your interesting question and make it your own.

9. Read the room.

Respect your guest’s time. It’s good to break the ice a bit, but don’t go into excessive small talk that takes you off-topic or off track. However, some guests love the banter, and it can get out of control. A good interviewer can bring it back to the present moment. Be aware of the flow and control it as best as possible. 

10. Listen more than you speak.

Some of the worst podcast interviews are where the interviewer speaks more than the interviewee. The reason you invited a guest is for both you and your audience to learn about them. Your goal is to ask the right questions, then step back.

What questions do you ask?

Interviewing is a skill. It takes time to get used to asking the right questions and controlling the flow of the conversation. It’s also important to set yourself apart from the hundreds of podcasts in your niche. The better you get at interviewing, the more opportunities await.


If you need more help with podcasting, subscribe to my list for more actionable tips and content. You will also learn more about Content Marketing and leveraging platforms like LinkedIn. What questions are you going to ask in your next interview?


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