As a podcaster, you have to wear a lot of hats. But one of the most challenging can be acting as the interviewer when you have guests on your show. Not only can it be challenging to find interesting guests — once you have them booked, you still have to come up with interview questions to ask your podcast guests.
Here at Wavve, we’re all about making your life as a podcast host simpler. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best interview questions to ask podcast guests.
1. How did you end up in your role/industry/business?
This is a great question to use near the beginning of your interview. Some of your listeners may know little (or even nothing) about your guest, and this question opens the door for your podcast guest to essentially tell their origin story. It also provides valuable content for your audience who may be interested in the same field as your guest. It’s always helpful (and can even be inspirational) to know how someone successful got started in their career.
2. What’s your biggest challenge right now?
No matter what career or industry your guest is in, everyone has major mountains to climb and hurdles to jump. And this question isn’t limited to career challenges. Depending on the genre and topic of your podcast, your guest could discuss challenges in their personal life, their creative projects, their fitness endeavors, etc. Be sure to follow up this question by asking your guest how they plan to overcome this hurdle or challenge.
3. How do you keep learning?
This is a fun one for your guest and your audience. Everyone likes to share interesting resources that they use to stay up-to-date on their industry or interests. As for your audience, they likely have at least some similar interests with your guest — they are listening to your podcast, after all. This question could give them new books to read, blogs to visit, podcasts to listen to, apps to download, and various other resources to explore that will also broaden their knowledge. Also, be sure to mention to your listeners that you will capture and share links to all the things discussed or you will risk your listeners leaving your podcast in the middle of your show.
4. What keeps you awake at night?
If you want to open the door to some powerful conversations about passion, try this question. As an interviewer, your goal is to tap into what your guests really care about and get them to engage with you in an authentic and unique way. To get them out of their normal talking points that they have shared on every other podcast interview and appreciate your way of helping them talk about new insights and stories. By simply asking, “What are you passionate about?” your guest will most likely have a canned, average answer. Asking what keeps them up at night is a good way to lead your guest into discussing their passions via a more engaging route.
5. What was your biggest failure/worst moment in your career?
It’s easy to err on the side of upbeat, positive questions as an interviewer. But your audience will never gain all of the experience and value that your guest has to offer without one or two tougher questions. Failures and hard times are typically the moments when successful people learned the most in their journey. If you don’t ask about those hard times, you’ll do a disservice to both your listeners and your guest.
6. What is your favorite quote?
This might seem like a basic question, but you’d be surprised at the wide breadth of answers you’ll receive from different guests. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good quote? Depending on the guest, you may get quotes that are funny, inspirational, thought-provoking, motivational, personal, or completely unexpected. Who knows, some of your listeners may even find their new favorite quote by listening to your show.
7. If you weren’t in your own profession/field, what other career would you pursue?
While it’s helpful (and important) to include some typical interview questions, one of the best ways to craft a truly memorable interview with your podcast guest is by asking some questions that don’t fit the mold. Asking what other profession or career your guest would pursue is a more out-of-the-box question that is practically guaranteed to result in unique, interesting, and personal answers.
8. What motivates you to get up in the morning?
Consider this the sister question to, “What keeps you awake at night?” In the same way that the former question taps into the topic of passion without directly asking about passion, this question can draw out information about inspiration and driving forces in your guest’s life. Discussing what motivates your guest to get out of bed in the morning can give your listeners insight into the factors that drive successful people, as well as motivate listeners to go after their own passions.
9. What do you wish you had known when you were first starting out?
Like we mentioned earlier, it can be good to make your interview stand out by straying from traditional podcast interview questions (or, at the very least, tweaking more tried-and-true podcast questions). When interviewing guests who are experienced in their skillset or careers, it’s easy to forget that there are likely listeners who aspire to follow in their footsteps who want to hear some tips and tricks about that early stage. This question will allow those listeners to benefit from your interview.
10. Signature question.
One of the best ways to separate your podcast from the pack is by creating a signature question and posing it to every single guest you have on your show. A signature question is a great way to wrap up your interviews. Ending every single interview on that note provides your podcast with a comforting sense of continuity and could even become an element that your podcast is known for. One great example of this is Tim Ferriss, who likes to ask, “If you could put anything on a billboard, what would you have it say?”
Do you have some tips on interview questions to ask podcast guests? Share this article on social media, add your question, and tag us so we can shout you out.
10.5 Make a note during the interview of great moments
Why? Because you will want to track those down in the edit, clip them out and use those to highlight how great an interviewer you are, how interesting your guests are, and why listeners must go listen to and subscribe to your podcast now. And how best to highlight those clips than with Wavve to quickly and easily create custom-branded, animated videos to share on social media. Try Wavve for free today.
I’m the CEO of Wavve. I love encouraging creators and entrepreneurs to share their stories and lead with purpose.