Interview Questions and Answers: Explaining technical issues

The fundamentals of explaining technical issues are based on principles of communication science:

  • A baseline level of information is created, usually a simple statement.
  • This information is developed, introducing concepts and terminology.
  • Examples are given of the processes, using non-technical language and avoiding any misinterpretations.
  • Hard copy information and online information is provided, including FAQs and reference information.

This is a relatively simple process, but there are endless ramifications, depending on your industry. The online process has greatly improved access and information quality for these materials, but the basic communications issues remain.

At an interview, you'll be asked, not necessarily in this order:

  • What information you present.
  • How you present your information.
  • Who your target audience is.
  • What level of technical detail you use.
  • How you translate technical concepts into consumer language.

You need to answer each in a structured way for best results. The STAR technique is the most effective approach. It helps to show a clear logical path for your answers.

Example

Question - 'How do you provide information to a meeting of employers about a new regulation for workplace safety?'

Answer - 'I present the new regulation in context with the familiar OHS regulations, with which they're already familiar. I then go through the new requirements, one at a time, giving examples and introducing terminology.

I then ask for questions and feedback, to check that they've understood the basic concepts, and listen to whatever problems they're having with the new regulation. Then I move on to the technical issues about when the law comes into effect, and what they're required to do.

Finally, I provide an information sheet with references to an online information source, which is updated regularly. I also give my contact information so they can get in touch if they have any problems.'

Analysis

  • This is a 'safety first' approach, good for new information and terminology.
  • The audience can participate effectively.
  • Feedback adds a quality control.
  • Extra information is provided for reference.
  • The information is given in controlled, easy stages.

The answer covers the process from introduction to provision of a complete set of resources for the audience.