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Interviewing Podcast Guests: 15 Interview Tips and Tricks

Building a relationship with your podcast guests is a major part of being a podcast host. From mastering how to get podcast guests to learning all about interviewing podcast guests, your role as a host is based on your guests. When it comes to becoming a better podcast host, many of the tips and tricks are focused on how you work with guests. 

In this Mr. Thrive Media blog, we’ll dive into the nuances of interviewing podcast guests. With a mix of general interview tips and types of questions you should ask, read on to expand your podcast guest interview skills. 

10 Tips for Podcast Guest Interviews

When it comes to types of podcasts with guests, which is most of them, the heart of podcasting rests in guest relationships. How do you develop that relationship? How do you create a comfortable interview space? With these upcoming 10 tips for interviewing podcast guests, that’s how! 

10. Make Use of Follow Up Questions

Follow up questions are a good tip for moving any conversation in a warm, inviting direction. When your guest makes a statement that leaves room for more information, follow up questions give them a natural path forward.

9. Mind the Time

Minding the time is helpful for you, your guest, and your listeners. As you get rolled up in the conversation, keep an eye on the time. Ask your big questions in the middle of the episode, and save some light ending questions to wrap up the conversation.

8. Be an Active Listener

Being an active listener is something your guests and your listeners will appreciate. Your role as the podcast host is to provide a framework and give your guest a space to speak openly. Actively listening will help you know what questions to ask more of, and how to respond. 

7. Be Sure to Do Your Research

Doing your research on your guests and the industry they’re in will make it easier to achieve the other steps on this list. When you have an idea of your guest’s background, and you’re able to chat about their industry, the conversation will flow much more easily.

6. Approach the Situation with Curiosity

Approaching a situation with curiosity keeps you from coming in with preconceived notions. When you’re interviewing podcast guests the last thing you want is to assume something. That puts a very closed-off structure on the conversation. Be curious about your guests, and let their thoughts and wisdom guide the conversation.

5. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Asking open-ended questions will help you remain curious and let your guest lead the episode. Open-ended questions are important for every type of interview. They give the interviewee room to fully answer the question in whatever way makes sense to them.

4. Create the Right Atmosphere

Creating the right atmosphere relies heavily on the tone you bring to your podcast. Be inviting with your words, and let people know that it’s a safe space. This will bring out the best in all your podcast guests. 

3. Be Mindful Of Your Interview Structure

Being mindful of your interview structure will help you find a good episode rhythm. It’ll take a few episodes before it feels completely natural, but starting with a good structure will help. An introduction, followed by the heart of the episode, and a wrap-up of light-hearted questions, will suit interviews well. 

2. Encourage Storytelling

One of the best ways to set your guests at ease is to get them to tell you a story. When you’re planning your questions for each guest, think about questions that will lead to anecdotes. These will give them room to share in an organic way, to create a personal conversation and connection.

1. Stay Neutral

Remaining neutral in a podcast interview is a guiding principle of being a good host. It’s important to note that staying neutral doesn’t mean you don’t share your opinion or engage actively in the conversation. Staying neutral simply means that you remain open-minded in the conversation, and let your guest take the wheel. 

5 Best Types of Questions for Interviewing Podcast Guests

Interviewing podcast guests is something you’ll develop a comfort with as time goes on. After your introductory podcast episode, you’ll meet more and more guests. The tips outlined in this blog will help you build a rapport. Another good place to start is with these five types of questions. Basing your interview plan on these will help you frame a comfortable interview.

5. Introductory Questions

Introductory questions are most suited for, yep, you guessed it, the beginning of each episode. You’ll have a bio planned for your guest, so your introductory questions will focus on the topic of the episode. The key to choosing them is the ask questions that tell your listeners what they can expect to learn about in this episode.

4. Expertise Questions

Expertise questions often pair well with introductory questions, but they can fit any part of the episode. These questions go after the history of your guests and how they’ve learned about their industry and the topic in question. These questions give background for your listener, and they give your guest the opportunity to share more about who they are. 

3. Personal Journey Questions

Personal journey questions are a major player in the emotional aspect of each podcast episode. One of the main reasons people listen to the podcasts they choose is because of emotional connection. Asking your guest personal questions listeners will relate to brings listeners into the active conversation.

2. Storytelling Questions

Storytelling questions are among the best ways to set up a comfortable conversation with your guest. Whatever the topic may be, there is always room for questions that leave room for more information from your guest. These questions make the experience more natural and comfortable for yourself, your guest, and your listeners.

1. Opinion Questions

Asking opinion questions pulls from the benefits of other types of questions on this list. When you ask your guests for their opinions, you’re giving them the opportunity to share about themselves and opening the conversation for guests. Opinions inspire reactions and deep thought, which is precisely the goal of creating a podcast. 

Connecting with Podcast Guests

Connecting with podcast guests is one of the primary goals of every podcast host. Whether you’re working with public speakers in podcasting or your guests are brand new to this space, creating space for genuine connection is the objective. 

When we spoke about podcasts and National Wellness Month on the blog, we mentioned the wellness balance between hosts, guests, and listeners. Interviewing podcast guests with care gives you another avenue of connecting with podcast guests to promote a space of wellness in podcasting. 

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Interview Podcast Guests

Here at Mr. Thrive Media, we know the work that goes into creating a podcast concept and building it into a successful show. Becoming a host doesn’t happen overnight. It takes research and practice to learn how to host and work with guests. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will help you along with the research part of that work.

How Do You Interview a Podcast Guest?

Some key tips for interviewing podcast guests are:

  • Find guests who are interesting to you, and will be interesting to your listeners
  • Do background research on your guests, to make it a real conversation
  • Prepare specific questions in advance, so you’re ready for the conversation

Beyond these tips, the structure of a great podcast interview can be found in the tips and tricks of this blog. Building your interview structure and being comfortable with guests is the goal to aim for.

How Do You Research a Podcast Guest?

There are several ways you can research a podcast guest, including:

  • Checking out their website, this is the place to start for general information and background research
  • Combing through their social media, both personal and professional, to get to know them on a more personal level
  • Listening to other podcast episodes they’ve been on, to gather information and learn how they behave on a podcast

After you’ve done your initial research, you can always ask your guests some general questions. You could ask specific things that you’ll address on the podcast, but asking open-ended questions will also help you prepare for the interview. 

How Do You Structure a Podcast Interview?

The basic structure of a podcast interview is:

  • Your podcast hook, at the beginning of the episode, to get listeners interested in what they’re about to hear
  • A bit of music, to add to the auditory experience
  • Your host introduction, with a bit about yourself that relates to the topic of the episode
  • A sponsor message, if you have a sponsor for this episode
  • Your guest introduction, with some background information and a lead about this episode topic
  • Some easy opening questions, to frame the conversation and put your guest at ease
  • Your main questions, the heart of this podcast episode
  • Some easy closing questions, to wrap up on a light note
  • Your outro music and final wrap-up statement

This structure has room for everything you need to set a guest at ease. It also makes each episode easy for listeners to follow, wherever they’re listening from.

What are Five Elements of a Podcast?

Five crucial elements of a successful podcast are:

  • Patience
  • Authenticity
  • Focus
  • Structure 
  • Schedule

The patience you have with yourself and the episode makes it a comfortable listening experience. Authenticity is key, it shines through in everything you do. Focus helps you stick to a schedule and frame your conversation with guests in a way that draws listeners in. Structure and schedule go hand-in-hand, to make the framework of the podcast consistent and easy to work with. 

How Long Should a Podcast Interview Last?

A podcast interview should last between 15 and 30 minutes for a singular guest. If you have multiple guests, this can lengthen up to an hour in duration. Of course, your specific topic or niche of listeners may give space for a longer episode. Half an hour is a fairly standard interview length across the board. 

How to Interview Podcast Guests: Find a New View of Your Guests

Working on your skills with interviewing podcast guests will improve your podcast work on a large scale. You’ll be more comfortable with guests, you’ll find it becomes easier to get the best guests, and listeners will tune in more and more. Overall, diving into the podcast guest interview process will make you a better host in many ways. 

If you’re looking to boost your podcast through interview skills, and find new ways to grow as well, check out the reboot of Mr. Thrive’s free digital ecosystem audit. Through October 14, 2023, we’re offering this free service to evaluate your podcast business and provide advice and solutions to grow your business. Reach out to schedule your audit today! 

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