Are you looking for inspiration for podcast questions in 2021? We’ve got you!
One of the most difficult parts of hosting a video podcast is finding ways to make your remote interviews unique. After all, it seems like everyone has an interview-style podcast these days.
Your audience wants to hear something fresh from you and your host—which means you need to ask the hard-hitting and intriguing questions that will bring out the best in your guest.
In this post, we’ll give you 50 great podcast interview questions to help you hold amazing interviews for your listeners in 2021. Then, we’ll give some tips for what goes into a good interview question, plus what you should avoid asking. And of course, we’ll tackle the ever-present question: should you send interview questions ahead of time?
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
1. 50 Podcast Interview Question Ideas for 2021
2. How to Come Up with Better Questions
3. Questions to Avoid Asking
4. Should I Send Interview Questions Upfront?
5. Conclusion and CTA
50 Podcast Interview Question Ideas for 2021
Depending on your niche and the kind of guests you interview, the best podcast questions to ask may vary. Do you interview celebrities? Experts in your chosen topic? Authors? Friends and family?
Since podcast topics run the gambit from serious to hilarious, personal to professional, and academic to informal, some of these questions may be more appropriate for your particular show than others.
But the ultimate goal of a great podcast interview question is the same: what will get your guest to reveal something about who they are, how they think, or what they know that provides value to your audience?
With that in mind, check out the following list of potential interview questions divided into four categories: personal questions, whimsical and off-the-wall questions, questions related to their industry or expertise, and closers to finish up the interview with professionalism and flair.
- What do people misunderstand about you most?
- What’s your favorite childhood memory?
- How did you meet your spouse/significant other?
- What’s your biggest failure—and what did you learn from that experience?
- If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?
- What’s the best compliment you’ve ever gotten?
- What’s an “insult” you’ve received that you’re proud of?
- How would your parents describe what you do?
- What is a funny story your family tells about you that you’d like to share?
- What is your favorite holiday movie, and what does that say about you?
- What has been your favorite job you’ve held?
- What has been your least favorite job to date?
- If you could go back and give your 18-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
- Tell me about the three most influential people in your life and how they impacted you.
- What does your morning routine look like?
Whimsical and Off-the-Wall
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
- If you could have coffee with any historical figure, who would you choose?
- What was your favorite subject in school?
- What was your favorite trip you’ve ever taken?
- What star sign are you?
- What Enneagram type are you?
- Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
- If you won $10 million tomorrow, what would you spend it on?
- If you had to write a book tomorrow, what would you write about?
- What is your biggest pet peeve?
- What do you think the world will look like in five years?
- What do you think the world will look like in fifty years?
- If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- What would be the title of the book about you—if your worst enemy wrote it?
- What’s your favorite color, and what does that say about you?
- What’s one thing your business/successful venture did that you didn’t expect?
- What is a common myth about your job or field of expertise?
- What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing in your role/business/project right now and how are you tackling it?
- What is the most important lesson you’ve learned over your career?
- In your opinion, what is the most important personality trait/strength someone would need to work in your industry/be successful in your job?
- What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in your career?
- Who has been your most important professional mentor?
- What’s one lesson your job has taught you that you think everyone should learn at some point in their life?
- Did you always want to be a [insert profession here]?
- What’s one thing about your job/field of expertise that almost no one agrees with you about?
- What’s your favorite productivity hack for entrepreneurs?
- At what time of day do you get your best work done?
- What underrated tool(s) are indispensable for your job?
- If you could start a business tomorrow, what would that business be?
- What occupation (other than your own) would you like to try?
Great Closer Questions
- What are three books you’d recommend to my audience and why?
- What are three movies you’d recommend to my audience and why?
- What are three other podcasts you’d recommend to my audience and why?
- What’s one question you wish I’d asked you, and how would you have answered?
- Where can listeners find you online?
How to Come Up with Better Questions
Hopefully this list of podcast questions to ask has gotten your mind into gear. But odds are good that at least a few of your questions need to be a bit more specific to your niche and your interviewee in question.
After all, you’ll need to ask the right questions to allow your guest to open up and share what they really have to offer your audience. Asking the standard “tell me about yourself” and “what do you do?” will only get you so far, and your listeners could probably Google those answers for themselves.
So how do you come up with great questions for a high-quality remote podcast?
1. Do Your Research
Don’t make the mistake of showing up to the interview without knowing basic information about your guest; it’ll come off as unprofessional and rude. But beyond that, learning about your interviewee’s life and achievements will likely spark more question ideas.
Are you interviewing the CEO of a company? Research their industry as well. Knowing as much as you can about your guest and their area of expertise will help you think of unique and probing questions that your guest may not have been asked a hundred times already.
Social media can be a great research tool, too. Find your interviewee’s Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn feeds and see what they’re posting about. Also, you can tag them (with their permission) in a post to your own page asking your fans to send in questions for an upcoming interview.
2. Keep Your Goals in Mind
In the end, your podcast is supposed to be providing value to your audience. So what is the value you hope to give them from this interview?
Will your guest be teaching life hacks, revealing academic knowledge, or providing a much-needed laugh? Keep your end results in mind so that you can steer the conversation in the right direction.
3. Find a Signature Question
One fun way to tie all of your podcast episodes together is to come up with a question that you ask every guest (usually at the end of the episode). Think of something that relates to your podcast title or niche; for instance, if your podcast is in the productivity niche, make it a habit to ask each guest for their favorite productivity hack.
4. Stay Flexible
One aspect that makes podcasts so much more interesting than other forms of informational media is the interplay between interviewer and guest.
Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions if your instincts are telling you there’s more to be uncovered. You don’t need to stick to your script the whole time!
Also, be sure to actually listen to your guest’s responses rather than preparing to ask your next question. Build rapport with your guest, and cultivate an organic conversation that feels authentic to your listener.
Podcast Questions to Avoid Asking
While asking the best questions is paramount, it’s also important to know which types of questions to avoid. Keep the following in mind:
- Avoid questions that your guest is always asked. If they appear on many interview podcasts and shows, they’re probably asked the same thing over and over again. Even if you need to get basic or surface-level information out there for your audience, try to find a unique angle on the question.
- Don’t phrase questions negatively. Some of the example podcast questions listed above deal with negative topics—like failures or insults—but they are phrased in a lighthearted way. Give your guest room to take their answer in a hopeful or optimistic direction.
- Don’t ask personal questions first. Of course, no interview would be interesting without those deep questions—but warm up your guest by starting with a few less-invasive inquiries. Save the most probing questions for last, when you’ve built a rapport and an atmosphere of trust.
Should I Send Podcast Interview Questions Upfront?
While sending a list of interview questions is generally up to you, it’s considered polite to give your guest at least a heads-up of the topics you’ll want to cover. And some guests (especially the high-profile ones) even insist on seeing the podcast questions in advance.
Even if you don’t want to send the exact questions word for word, it can be helpful to the flow of your show if your guest has a bit of time to prepare their general answers.
While sounding unrehearsed is a great goal, in practice, unprepared interviewees can often stumble and ramble over their answers—causing you more work in the editing process.
A Great Interview Question Provides Value to Your Audience
For many remote interview podcasts, the episode is only as good as the questions (and, of course, the audio quality). Finding the right balance of informative and entertaining usually starts with the host’s ability to put their guests at ease, converse with them naturally, and spark intriguing, dynamic conversation.
When deciding which questions out of this list to use in your own show, consider: will it help your guest reveal something—about who they are, how they think, or what they know—that provides value to your audience?
If so, you’re probably on the right track!