Asking the right balanced questions in an interview

  • 05.14.2024
  • Blog Post

Asking the right balanced questions in an interview

Interviewing can be a difficult exercise, but one that can add real value to a podcast or YouTube video. The advantage of a podcast or videocast is that you can take your time, there’s no limit like with radio or TV. So guests (interviewees) have time to express themselves, sometimes 1 hour or more. 

We know a good interview is often an appropriate conversation, but the questions are fundamental and must be well balanced. So let’s turn our attention to the more psychological aspect of conducting a proper interview.

Let’s start with a few practical tips to put the interviewee at ease.
– Bear in mind that you’ll only get one chance to get the word of the person you’re interviewing.
– Put your guest at ease. Offer water if the interview is face-to-face. Look the interviewee into his eyes. It’s advisable to look at the interviewee as much as possible, and not so much at the notes (questions).

The psychological aspect is fundamental here:
– Don’t hesitate to leave silences after an initial answer to your question. It’s often at these moments that the interviewee will want to complete his or her thought and will be more forthcoming. If necessary, you can cut out this downtime during editing.
– Alternate between action and reflection in your questions. Here’s an example of an action question: “What did you do?”. A more reflective question is the famous “why” or from a more psychological point of view “What did you feel?”. For example, the interviewee might say in response to an action question: “I started crying when I won this contest”. Then, in response to a reflective question (“Why?”, “What did you feel?”), he or she might answer: “I guess I cried because I didn’t think I had it, and I still feel like an impostor”. We believe that moments of reflection give a moment of depth to an interview.
– Use active listening methods.

Finally, some ideas for questions to ask in a podcast or videocast:
– Describe this scene as if it were a movie.
– What did you say? [possible follow-up] How did they respond?
– How did you do it? Explain point by point
– Why did you do it?
– What did it do to you? or How did it feel?
– What was going through your mind at the time?
– What emotions did you feel? Note: a strong “reflection question”
– In which parts of your body did you feel these emotions?
– When did you feel sad, relieved or scared?

A tool like Publinetis can help you document interview questions.

May 14, 2024. By Xavier Gruffat, founder of