Behavioral Interview Question: Describe a Time You Had to Present Complex Information in a Simplified Way

DECEMBER 12, 2011 | BY MICAH
Complex information simplified by teamwork.

Behavioral interview questions do not always have exciting answers. Sometimes you simply need to tell a story that shows you have some idea what the interviewer is talking about. The goal is to impress the employer, but when you draw upon specific experiences, sometimes there are no interesting experiences to share. How you presented complex information is often one of these stories.

How to Answer

The story itself is not necessarily the way employers will learn about your simplification skills. The way you describe the story is. Start by sharing the complex information – and try to make it sound complex. Then, start explaining how you simplified it or presented it, and make it sound simple.

Bad Answer

“I gave a presentation once to a bunch of business professionals on our products, and they all appeared to understand the content of what I was sharing.”

Good Answer

“My company put me in charge of detailing the version 1.65 interface improvements and changes to the ICSMBSE server to a group of visiting project managers with little experience dealing with IMTU databases. I provided packets with charts and graphs to complement my presentation, and focus mostly on the how the product would be a beneficial solution to their needs while breaking down how the components worked at their more basic level rather than the intricate changes in technology”

You start by focusing on what was difficult, and end with the basics of how you simplified and presented the information. This shows the interviewer that you understand when something is technical, and you have an idea of how to simplify information for non-technical audiences.

See also: 15 most common behavioural interview questions

Take Away Interview Tips

  • Start by explaining how it was complicated.
  • End by explaining how you simplified it and presented it.

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