Podcast guest Interview: the 10 pillars to do it Right

Interviews the right way

Written by Aimene

Aimene is a podcast producer helping businesses reach their customer’s ears.


August 10, 2021

We love podcasts, not only because of the practicality and ease of listening but they can also be a vast source of information like in a podcast interview for examples or an amazing entertainment medium that true crime shows and other genres provide. 

If you’re an avid listener, you probably have an idea about what a podcast interview means; a special appearance of a guest on the show, generally a professional on a particular field is questioned by the show host, led by a conversational vibe on the proposed topic of the podcast.

As a podcast producer and a fellow podcaster, I have organized and listened to various kinds of podcast sessions, witnessing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

From my experiences, I have gathered the best practices and preparation tips for setting up a good podcast interview that your guests will be delighted and eager to come back on your show.


#1 Outline your Podcast Interview

outline the format of your podcast and send a preserver form to your guest

Find your style: Starting by finding what works for you and finding your style and the types of questions you want to ask on your show, consistency is key when it comes to interviews, you need to have a format that feels genuine to your audience and represents who you are.

Personalize: After that you need to personalize it and come up with specific questions for each guest depending on the recent events or questions you know they might have an interesting view or a different opinion than what’s common out there.

Know your end point: Give your audience a sense of direction by pre-determining the topic and the different directions you’re taking the interview at the beginning of every episode, this will ensure you go deep rather than staying superficial and garnishing as much valuable information from your guest.

Stay on topic: Avoid getting too excited and branching off-topic. in case this happens, you are the one in control of the interview and you should use your power to put it back on track by calling it to their attention.


#2 Carefully Select Your Podcast Guest:

Ask your audience: Before featuring a guest on your show, double-check with your audience. After all, your audience are the ones that are going to be listening so make sure you include them in the process and therefor you make them exited about it. this can be easily done on social media with all the poll and survey features.

Pre interview your guests: Do a pre interview chat with the person you’re interviewing to make sure your guest is a prominent person in your niche and knowledgeable enough to offer valuable content to your listeners. 

Be genuinely interested: The quality of the interview depends on how much you admire the guest. Having a genuine interest in your guest fuels your curiosity, keeps you in high spirits throughout the interview and helps you interrogate them thoroughly and listeners can perceive your enthusiasm.


#3 Send a Pre-interview Form

pre interview form

Despite how confidently you believe you know your guest, sending your guest a pre-interview form beforehand lays the groundwork for a smooth show. it handles more details than you can imagine, here are some advantages to it:

  • Preparatory exercise: it is a preparatory exercise for your guests by giving them a glance at what type of questions to be expected in this show.
  • Checking the details: It involves checking minor and major details that make up the entire frame of the interview with your guest to guarantee that you are all on the same page.
  • Getting private feedback: Another advantage of giving out this form is the privilege of private feedback on your podcast, Unlike the commonly aired comments by public users, the guest is more willing to divulge their unpopular opinion. Such raw feedback will provide helpful tips for improving your show.


Here are some helpful ideas you might consider for a good survey form that you can personalize to your taste :

  • Details about how you record your show: the duration of it, and any other detail.
  • Info on your target audience as well as their expectations from your podcast.
  • Avoid name butchering: Ask your guest how to pronounce their names to avoid any awkwardness during the show.
  • Point out what you admire about them and the outstanding qualities they possess in their field that made you invite them to your show.
  • Ask for an interesting fact: This one eases tension with your guest as it may induce some humor.
  • Genuine interest: Why do they like to talk about the specific topic you are addressing?


We have an article specially dedicated to pre-interview questions. Get the full details, tips, and some questions to ask your guest in the pre-interview form here. 


#4 Do your Homework on your Guest:

Do homework on your interview guest

Doing a little research on your guest will go a long way to add more value to your show. You don’t have to do anything crazy like interviewing their relatives or looking into their hospital records. We’re talking about simple information you can find in google.

Find out the basics like your guest occupation, passions outside work, relationships, a past event that got wide appeal to audiences and the upcoming projects. 

Employ some restraint while researching, Because digging too far into other podcast interviews, news events, and blog posts could destroy the mystery and ruin the shock of finding out more about your guest due to knowing too much.

So make sure you give them space to expand and tell their story, but be prepared to dig deep and extract the golden nuggets.


#5 Use Icebreakers:

Icebreakers are a tool for dissolving tension among two or more parties that don’t know each others, Professional interviewers use them all the time to strike a conversation and become acquainted. 

Your goal is to ease your guest’s nerves and warms them up for the show, especially if you’re meeting them for the first time. Also a relaxed guest will engage with more character and give your listeners the show they desire.

Breaking the Ice With your Podcast guest:

Open up and tell them about a similar experience of yours and they will start opening up themselves

Be easy going and start the interview with a smile and direct eye contact will make you friendly and they might

Be comfortable on your own skin, people are mirrors of their counterpart, so if they see your comfort, they start to feel it themselves.

Icebreakers can also be in the form of questions:

Here are some of the questions you can start your interview with and break the ice with your guest:

  • What’s your secret talent?
  • Where is your happy place?
  • What was your dream as a child?
  • What’s the craziest prank you ever pulled off on someone?
  • What is the best trip you’ve ever taken?

We have an entire article that provide examples of good podcast icebreaker questions to familiarize yourself with the guest quickly. Go check it out. 


#6 Listen Attentively to Your Guest

The art of shutting up: The impulse of the human when doing any type of conversation is to fill the silence, but filling the silence is a form of inauthenticity as it’s generally filled with small talk. But sitting there and shutting up while letting the other express themselves and giving them the time to reveal their emotions is a brave act.

As obvious as it sounds, a lot of hosts don’t really listen to the interviewee. You could say that it’s a habit picked up from our everyday interaction with each others as nobody actually listens, we only wait for an opportunity to talk.

It is essential that you clean up your listening skills if you must conduct your show interviews like a pro. Pay close attention to how the guest behave and the details they provide then ask thoughtful follow-up questions whenever you feel something.


#7 Read your Guest’s Content:

Read a Book Written by your Guest


If you’re interviewing someone that deem to be an expert in any field, they must have done something in the past where they expressed their ideas, showcased their intellect, or contributed to the world.

Reading, experiencing or watching what they’ve done gives you insights into profound questions to ask your guest. It will keep your guest interested and well-engaged with the interview and actually make them feel like you understand and you’ve done your homework.

Many well achieved people are searching for the opportunity to spread the word of their newly released material, and it’s your Opportunity to get them on your show as they may not be available at any time.

With this in mind, you should expect a writer on your show to have the intention of promoting their book, a podcast host to promote their podcast and an artist to talk about their art so give them the platform to do that.


#8 Cutdown Distractions when Interviewing

Shutting off distractions is always a good thing regardless of the task at hand. Minor disturbances like beeps from a smartphone notification alert, motorist noises, pet sounds, and interruptions from people can sometimes jeopardize the integrity of a podcast interview recording.

Strategically position your recording at a safe time frame when all these different noises cannot interfere with the process of your recordings.

Lastly, do not forget to put your phone on flight mode and eat your meals hours before or wait until your recording session is over, many will not find you belching in between your speech pleasant.


#9 Set up a Recording Schedule

Set up a recording schedule for your interview

As difficult as sticking to schedules can be, it introduces some structure to your practice that is very beneficial. Put aside some time weekly or monthly for recording. Here are some advantages of designing a plan:

  • No overlap: You and your team become aware of specific dates booked for your recording schedule, preventing the unfortunate overlap of activities.
  • Consistency: You will be able to relay to your guests exactly when you are available for an interview to keep your interviews consistent and be more efficient by running your podcast with professionalism.
  • Better time management: A predetermined schedule for your podcast interview helps you work around the rest of your events bringing balance to your work.


#10 Implement Storytelling

People love stories and good stories catch the attention of the listeners. It’s not common but storytelling can be implemented in an interview, it’s a valuable asset that will make your interviews stand out and be more entertaining.

You can also choose guest depending on their ability to tell the stories and express themselves in a way that catches the audience. Talent like that is generally spotted while doing pre interview chat or going through interviews done with your guest in the past.

A good example of a podcast that implements storytelling is Finding founders check it out to see what I mean, you can learn more about this concept of storytelling by checking this article 


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