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How to Host a Great Interview Podcast 

Hosting a podcast is super rewarding, but it can also be hard work. 

Whether you’re talking directly to the audience yourself or interviewing industry experts, your listeners’ experience should always come first. Most of our clients’ podcasts (and ours) are in an interview format, which relies on the host to hold an engaging and informative conversation. 

In this blog we’re going to share our five steps to hosting a great interview. 

Step 1 – Prepare yourself 

Before you even start thinking about hitting ‘record’, you need to find the right people to interview. Consider whether your guests will add value to your audience, whether they’re going to be engaging on tape and if they support the goals of your podcast. Once you’ve found the right fit, taking the time to research their background will set you up for success before you reach out. 

It’s also worth taking the time to research what your prospective guests do. Even if you ask them to explain things for your audience, it’s often obvious if you don’t have a clue, and you want to come across as confident and reliable to your listeners. Having that understanding will also allow you to ask more insightful questions that delve deep into their specific expertise. 

Step 2 – Pitch the Podcast

To get them on board, you should pitch the mission of your podcast and explain what you hope you’ll each get out of it. Are you offering them experience and exposure, or the opportunity to network with some of your previous guests? Perhaps they would benefit from being on the radar of your audience. 

Let them know what you’d like to talk to them about. Preparing at least a few rough questions will also help you to strike up a conversation and build a rapport with your guests. Have they just published a really interesting article that’s relevant to your niche? Are they an industry leader in a specific skill that you’d like to share with listeners? Outlining why you think they’re a good fit makes them more likely to agree with you.

Step 3 – Prepare the guest

Once somebody has agreed to come on the podcast, it’s helpful to have a quick introductory call with them. This allows you to gauge how chatty they are, whether or not you have a good dynamic and how much prompting they’re likely to need. This also gives you the opportunity to get to know each other a little better off the record, which is a good way to put them at ease before the big day. 

It’s also helpful to chat to them about any structure you’ve prepared for the episode and find out if there’s anything they want to share with the audience. Have they just published a book that they want to talk about? Are they launching their own newsletter that they’d like your audience to subscribe to? If you’re both on the same page about what’s going to be said, you’re far more likely to have a smooth and enjoyable conversation where they’re not trying to shoehorn in their own promotion. 

Step 4 – Always start with a clear introduction

When it comes to recording, we find it’s best to count the guest in while you’re already recording, and edit out any smalltalk at the beginning of the recording. We also recommend using a clear introduction format. This can be as long or as short as you want, but here’s a rough example: 

“Hello and welcome to episode 1 of the Example podcast! 

I’m your host, Jane Doe, and I’m joined today by my Lovely Guest, who is the Job Title at Company Name Here. 

In this episode we get into all kinds of fun topics like X, Y and Z, including this Secret Snippet that’s a highlight of the show. 

Lovely Guest, welcome to the podcast! 

(let them respond here)

It’s great to have you! So, let’s jump in. Our first question is…”

Doing this will give your guest time to mentally prepare, as well as building a sense of security by introducing them using facts about their professional life. It also gives the podcast a nice structure, which people will come to recognise as a hallmark of your show. 

Step 5 – Guide the conversation 

Steering the interview is a skill that takes time and patience to develop. Some guests will have more than enough to say, while others won’t be very forthcoming at all. It’s up to you to figure out how to get the best from each guest. If a guest isn’t going into much detail, asking some follow-up questions will help you get all the important details. 

It’s also a good idea to learn how to listen. Active listening, while great in conversations, can come across as talking over your guest when it’s recorded. Even just noises like ‘yeah’ or ‘m-hm’ will disrupt the guest’s flow and spoil the experience for your listeners. Good listening means staying silent and giving your guests the space to share their knowledge. 

Still have questions? To find out more about hosting your podcast, download our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Recruitment Podcast eBook, or get in touch on

Soph Reads Stuff – Platform: The Art and Science of Personal Branding 

Hello and welcome to our first ever book review! 

I’m Soph, Search Stack’s resident copywriter, and I read things. Since starting here I’ve been working on building my personal brand, so the big boss bought me a copy of Cynthia Johnson’s Platform to read over the Christmas break. Without giving too much away, I’m going to tell you why I loved it and why you will too. 

Personal branding often feels like the realm of influencers and innovative geniuses, but this book makes it feel accessible to anyone. Platform is an in-depth, anecdotal guide to building your brand online, which takes you from the basics of curating your online presence to building an engaged community through effective networking. Packed with entertaining case studies, engaging copy (like a section called “A Three-Way With A Robot”) and witty anecdotes, this book is helpful and hilarious. 

Platform follows Johnson’s journey, from her origins as The Social Media Girl to her status as a respected authority on personal branding. One of the pervasive themes of the book is learning to control your perception, whether that’s by exclusively sharing work-related content on your social media channels or scrubbing those unfortunate tweets you posted in 2008 from the internet. Johnson’s case for taking control of your personal brand stems from the fact that everybody has one, whether it’s been intentionally created or not. Being in charge of which information and images get shared allows you to curate your presence in a positive way, and opens you up to new opportunities. 

The idea of authenticity isn’t unique to personal branding, but Johnson articulates it in a thought-provoking way. Her introduction has a ‘will the real experts please stand up?’ feel, which illustrates why responsibility is important while building a brand. She talks about being offered opportunities that weren’t relevant to her expertise, purely because of her sizable following. Through this experience, Johnson highlights the impact of picking the right platform, whether that’s the social media channels that you post on or the brands that you choose to promote on them. Everything you create should align with your personal values and branding, as well as genuine expertise. 

The use of personal anecdotes as case studies gives Platform a personal and engaging feel. Johnson weaves in psychological theories such as the prisoner’s dilemma to deepen your understanding of why certain strategies work, all supported through her own experiences. Her stories weave humanity and personality into the text, making it an avidly consumable book that somehow gets you to root for the LA Dodgers and think a little better of Elon Musk. 

Platform is a perfect blend of knowledge of humour that communicates Johnson’s own brand, giving it a form of credibility that is unique to its subject area. Not only does the book provide useful how-tos and handy strategies, it consistently demonstrates the benefits of using them. It’s an ideal starting point for anyone interested in building their personal brand. 

One draw-back is that Platform was published in 2019, so social media platforms have already moved on from some of the algorithms that Johnson wrote about. Despite that, the overarching themes are still as relevant today as they were four years ago. Our social media platforms still act as third parties to our interactions, and connecting with real people remains the best way to grow your networks. Publishing texts based on social media is always going to limit their applicability in some ways, but Johnson’s work has enough timeless advice that it remains a valuable resource in this rapidly changing space. 

Platform is a helpful reminder to combat our impostor syndrome and publicise our success. As Johnson says, “We can’t assume that our work is so good that it will stand out in the crowd and be discovered by people who may not understand what we do.” Sharing your experiences will build your reputation online and open new opportunities to do what you love, which is ultimately the goal of a personal brand. 

Johnson’s perspective is one of success, which some could read as privilege. She does, however, consistently acknowledge the huge amount of work that went into her own personal brand, and isn’t shy about telling the readers how much effort would have to go into emulating it. My only conclusion is that Platform is a well-crafted, thoughtful and useful text. 

Cynthia Johnson’s engaging prose and illustrative anecdotes make for a great read. Platform is one of those brilliant books where reading it doesn’t feel like work, because each piece of information is deftly woven into a wider narrative that you can genuinely buy into. It’s a great pick for anyone who is interested in personal branding, and even those who aren’t. As Johnson says, “Having a personal brand is inescapable.” 

Rating: 💜💜💜💜💜


This is a great book. It’s an easy read that’s full of fun anecdotes, lots of useful information and cool case studies. If you want to know more about personal branding, Platform is the book for you. 

Want to chat about books? Find me on LinkedIn –> Sophie Colclough 🥰