The lead-up to an on air interview often feels frantic. Internal and external pressures, prep to do, lines to check… Yet however tight that deadline is, there are at least 5 questions you must ask before you agree to the interview:

1) Is the interview live or pre-recorded? 

An important question to ask, but treat both the same. Your energy levels shouldn’t be any different for a pre-record. Additionally assume the producer will forget to edit your interview before broadcast. (I can speak from personal experience that this happens all the time…)

2) Am I the only guest being interviewed? 

Your worst case scenario is to be ushered into a studio full of people ready to debate with you – and for you have no earthly clue who any of them are. Check at every stage of the production process about the nature of the interview. If other guests are expected, it is entirely legitimate to find out who they are. Then make a judgment call as to whether this is the sort of environment you want to be in.

3) How long is the interview expected to last? 

This gives you a sense of the on air experience you are about to have and a chance to plan accordingly. Don’t expect the producers to stick to what they tell you however, particularly if you are part of a live sequence.

4) What is the subject matter for the interview? 

This is crucial, and fairly obvious. However don’t confuse this with, “what will the questions be?” You’re unlikely to be told anyway, and even if you are, what you are promised is often very different to what you get. Good interview preparation is thorough but flexible, not a rigid script.

5) Who is the presenter? 

Always worth asking. Every presenter has a style, and it’s worth finding out as much as you can about the person who will be asking you the questions. Pop their name into youtube and do a bit of intelligence gathering on the person sitting across from you in the studio.

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