Interview questions

85 Best Podcast Interview Questions to Ask [2021]

Asking your guests engaging questions is pivotal to the success of your interviews and helps differentiate your content from other podcasts.

This guide breaks down how to come up with good questions so you can nail your interviews and keep listeners hooked.

Tips for asking great podcast interview questions

A little preparation goes a long way toward an engaging conversation. Follow these tips to get the most out of each interaction with a guest.

Have a goal and be curious

Knowing your goals for your episode can help you figure out the type of questions you should ask.

A little time spent on this step can go a long way toward keeping the conversation productive.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the primary goal of this episode?
  • How can my guest help my listeners solve a problem?
  • What is the one thing I want to accomplish or convey?

Do some research

It's up to you how much research you want to do on your guest beforehand.

If you have an audience of beginners or novices on your podcast topic, doing too much research can cause you to ask questions that are relevant to them.

If your podcast audience is full of experts on the topic, it might be necessary to do heavier research.

Social media can be a great tool to find the most recent and relevant information on your guest.

Remember the 5 Ws

If you aren't a natural question asker, you can always fall back on who, what, when, where, and why.

If you're interviewing a podcaster, it could look like this:

  • Who: "Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?"
  • What: "What do you do in the podcasting space?"
  • When: "How long did it take to grow your show to its current size?"
  • Why: "What motivated you to keep going?"

In this case, "where" isn't relevant. You can choose which of the five Ws fit your topic best.

Ask clarifying questions

Ask plenty of clarifying questions to get more information out of your guest and keep conversation natural.

Clarifying questions can be:

  • What do you mean by that?
  • Can you give an example?
  • How did that experience affect the trajectory of your life?

Stay flexible

A great interview requires some structure but also allows for spontaneity.

Depending on your guest's answer, you might need to ask follow-up questions or veer slightly off-topic before asking the next question.

Your outline can help you stay on the right track but shouldn't box you in.

Ask a signature question

Asking a signature question every podcast episode is a great way to set your content apart.

Here are some examples:

  • What are three book recommendations you have for my listeners?
  • What is the biggest misconception people have about your field of expertise?
  • What is your favorite self-care practice?

Things to avoid

A good interview follows many of the same rules as everyday conversation.

Try to be natural, curious, and unstilted while also avoiding:

  • personal questions at the beginning of the interview,
  • negative or insensitive phrasing, and
  • asking questions you know your guest gets asked frequently.

How to prepare for the interview

There's no requirement to send your guest a list of questions before the episode, but it's considerate to at least share the topics you plan to cover.

Preparation also depends on the kind of guest you have.

High-profile guests might want to see the questions beforehand, but most are okay simply hearing your general vision for the interview.

85 Best podcast interview questions

It's not always easy to think up unique questions on your own. Use this list to help you pinpoint the right questions for your interview.

Icebreakers

1. Where did you grow up, and did that affect who you became?

2. What is your morning routine?

3. What's your favorite funny story to tell people?

4. What's the best compliment you've received?

5. What is your favorite pastime and why?

6. What did you want to be when you were a kid, and why?

7. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

8. If you had to describe yourself as an animal, which would it be and why?

9. If money wasn't a factor, what would you do with your time?

10. What's your favorite movie, and what does it reveal about you?

11. What's your biggest pet peeve?

12. What's your biggest passion?

13. What's your most embarrassing memory?

14. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

15. What star sign are you?

16. What's your Myers Briggs type or number on the Enneagram?

17. What was the last thing you searched for on Google?

18. What would you do if you won the lottery?

Personal questions

19. What's one of your biggest challenges in life?

20. Why are you passionate about what you do?

21. Who is the most influential person in your life, and how did they impact you?

22. What do people misunderstand most about you?

23. What is your favorite thing about yourself and why?

24. Did you have siblings, and if so, how did they affect your life?

25. What were you like as a child?

26. How are you different than your old self last year?

27. How do you want to be remembered?

28. What character traits do you most respect in other people?

29. What would change about yourself if you could?

30. What is your biggest fear?

31. Where do you see yourself in five years?

32. What makes you passionate and gets you motivated?

33. What's something surprising you've learned about yourself?

34. What's the most valuable lesson you've learned in life?

35. What do you think is your biggest failure?

36. What are you proudest of in your life?

37. What was the most significant turning point in your life?

38. What is a unique thing about you?

39. What's something people would be surprised to know about you?

40. What things excite you?

41. Do you have any regrets?

42. How did you meet your significant other?

43. Do you have a life motto?

44. What is one thing you want to change about yourself in the next year?

45. What keeps you up at night?

46. What challenge in your life shaped you the most?

47. What's your favorite quote?

Expertise and career questions

48. When did you know you wanted to be a _______ ?

49. What's the best advice a mentor ever gave you about the industry?

50. What have you learned from being in this field that people should know?

51. What's the most difficult part of being a _______ ?

52. When are you most productive?

53. If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?

54. What are the most helpful resources that have helped you along the way?

55. Do you have advice for those interested in your field?

56. What do you wish you knew before starting your career?

57. What is a common myth about your job or industry?

58. What's your favorite thing about what you do?

59. Who do you talk to when you feel stuck?

60. What gives you motivation?

61. What networking methods have worked for you?

62. Who do you consider to be your biggest competitor?

63. How are you different than your competitors?

64. How do you define success in your field?

65. What are common things people struggle with in your field?

66. What is the most crucial trait someone needs to posses in your role?

67. What surprised you most when you first started?

68. What's your top strategy for success?

Podcasting-related questions

69. What made you want to podcast about your topic?

70. How long did it take you to grow your audience to its current size?

71. What are your best content marketing strategies?

72. What's your best tip for consistent content creation?

73. Do you have any monetization tips?

74. What's your most successful episode and why do you think did well?

75. How do you make your podcast stand out from others in its category?

76. What's your favorite recording software?

77. Do you have any gear recommendations?

Closing questions

78. What's one piece of advice you can share with my listeners?

79. Can you share your top three book recommendations for the audience?

80. What are the best podcasts related to your field?

81. Is there any question you wish I'd asked you?

82. What's the biggest takeaway you hope listeners learn?

83. What's next for you?

84. Where can listeners sign up for your course or purchase your product?

85. Where can listeners learn more about you?

Alban Brooke

Alban Brooke

Alban Brooke is the Head of Marketing at Buzzsprout and the co-host of Buzzcast. Have any questions about this guide? Reach out on Twitter.

FAQ

What are good podcast questions?

Good podcast questions deliver value to listeners and stem from genuine curiosity. Good questions are also open-ended to encourage the interviewee to give a full answer instead of a "yes" or "no" response.

How do you prepare for a podcast interview?

As the podcast host, it's up to you whether you prepare questions for the interview beforehand. In general, give your podcast guest a good idea of the questions you'll ask, even if you don't send them an exact list.

What are 10 good interview questions?

1. How do your closest friends describe you?

2. What's your best advice for someone getting into your field?

3. Can you share your top three book recommendations for the audience?

4. Where can my listeners find you online?

5. Who has been the most influential person in your life, and why?

6. When did you know you wanted to be a _______ ?

7. What is a common myth about your job or industry?

8. What's the most valuable lesson you've learned in life?

9. What advice would you give your younger self?

10. Is there any question you wish I'd asked you?