I found this question and I just thought it’d be a useful one to get you prepared for. Now, the title of the video is a shortened version of it. The question goes, “You know, you’re seven or eight years old, you’re in first grade, second grade at most. Explain to me what you do and why you’re good at it.”
I think this is a lovely question because it takes a lot of the BS out of the description. What you have to do is boil it down to the essence of what it is that you do. Because there are a lot of situations that can be “jargon rich,” where people say a lot of BS, and in point of fact, it can be condensed. It can be made much more clear.
It also gives the interviewer a sense of how you can explain concepts or seemingly complex concepts, and make them simple. So, here’s how you might answer. First of all, a one-sentence, tops two sentences, to describe what you do.
So, if I were answering it from my time in recruiting, I might say, I help companies hire people, by finding them for them. One sentence. Notice what I did? Now, that might invite follow-up questions but, the key thing is the one-sentence and then this one.
“Do you understand? I just want to make sure you do because if you don’t, I’ll go back and try and explain it differently.”
Then, from there, why you’re good at it. So, in the case of my time in recruiting, I might say something along the lines of, “I’m extremely well-organized. I’m a great communicator.” So, I can explain to people what the opportunity is, and explain to my client company, the firm that hires people, why this person would help them fill their job?” One sentence. It was a long one but it’s one sentence. Maybe it could be broken in two Then, you’d follow up by saying, “Do you understand?” Or, “Should I explain it a little differently?”
Again, you’re talking to a seven or eight-year-old in first grade, second grade tops. So, the idea is to be simple. Now, if you think that was a more complicated answer that needs to be, leave a message, let me know what it should have been. But, again, condense what you do you do into very simple sentences. And always follow up by saying, “Do you understand. I just want to make sure that you do because, if you don’t, I’ll explain it differently.”
What that does is demonstrate that you have a service orientation because you care about the listener, you’re not just babbling some nonsense that they want to understand. After all, you’re in first grade. You’re seven or eight years old.
From there, what you’re doing is making it clear that you want to make sure that they understand. And you’ve broken the concepts down, in my case, two sentences, one of which was a little long, but it had space for them to pause and for me to absorb whether or not they seem to understand.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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