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Recently I was told by a potential interviewer for a job that we would be having a "high-level conversation" soon.

I assumed at the time that she just meant a conversation with a higher-up, e.g., her boss, but suddenly am not so sure.

So I'm curious. Have you heard that term before, and what does it mean?

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Do you really mean "interviewee", i.e. "person I will interview"? Unless I'm missing something, "interviewer" would make more sense. –  Marthaª Mar 8 '11 at 18:28
    
I think it could mean either, depending on the interviewer: it could be a conversation at a higher level of the company's hierarchy, or about more advanced or more specific subjects. –  Cerberus Mar 8 '11 at 19:17

2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

A high-level conversation is one where you discuss generalities instead of focusing on details.

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That makes sense, she did say shortly after that we'd be discussing my interests... which I suspect will be considered in a very general sort of manner. –  Hydrangea Mar 9 '11 at 1:35
    
Please could you provide some more explanation or a reference to back up your answer? I'm having a really hard time believing this is correct, except maybe only in an ironic sense. –  Jimi Oke Mar 9 '11 at 1:51
    
@Jimi Oke: This interpretation is how I and the people I speak to use it. At a high level you can see the big picture, at a low level you can see the details. It's basically a metaphor. I don't have any authoritative references but these two links use it in this way (in the context of systems design): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_and_low_level urbanixconsulting.com/glossary.php –  Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Mar 9 '11 at 3:21
    
@Jimi Oke Software development is the same. A high level language (.NET, Java) you don't have to deal with the details of memory management, hardware interfaces, or much else. Lower level (C/C++ down to Assembly) languages you are concerned with all the details. I assumed this was pretty much standard English when heard elsewhere on different subjects. Low level = details, high level = bigger picture. –  Brett Allen Mar 9 '11 at 16:38
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Mr. Shiny and New and @Aequitarum Custos: Thanks for enlightening me! –  Jimi Oke Mar 10 '11 at 5:35

"High level" here normally refers to the status of the participants. When you read in the paper that "The US and Germany are holding high-level talks," the meaning is that these involve persons on both sides at the upper levels of government, up to and including the president, prime minister, etc.

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About political contexts I’d agree, but for a job interview, especially for any kind of technical job, I think that Mr. Shiny and New’s interpretation is much more likely. –  PLL Mar 9 '11 at 1:36
    
+1 This is what I always interpreted it to mean as well and The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary says the same thing. We'll never know what the interviewer meant, though. Based on the other answer, using high-level to mean discussing generalities seems to be fairly common too:) –  Tragicomic Mar 9 '11 at 7:50
    
By the way, I've never, not once, heard "high-level" used in the sense described by Mr Shiny. –  The Raven Mar 9 '11 at 14:29
    
@TheRaven it is "high-level" in the "50,000 ft (or km) view" sense. –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Jul 6 '12 at 20:46

protected by RegDwigнt Jul 6 '12 at 23:47

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