Forecasting and managing a budget are integral parts of a managers’ job. Interviewers want to know how much experience you’ve had budgeting. They may ask very specific questions about your budgeting experiences, and your answers should include examples to demonstrate that you can do the job well.
Answer with an example of how you took into consideration the previous year’s budget when asked about how you forecast a budget. Include factors that were important to your forecasting, such as the current state of the local and national economies, the demand for your product, competitors and the state of your industry.
Provide an instance of when you saved the company money by controlling costs. You might say, “I streamlined the production process in my last position. This saved an hour’s work for employees every day as well as the cost of supplies we didn’t need to use. We were able to use that extra hour to prepare for the next day. We consistently remained slightly ahead of or on target with our production schedule.
Respond to the interviewer with an example of when your decisions had a financial impact on your company and how you dealt with it. If you underestimated the budget needed for supplies one quarter, relate how you dealt with and solved the problem. You might say you were able to reallocate resources from other areas of the budget with minimum impact to solve the problem, for example. Tell the interviewer what you learned from the experience and how you plan to avoid it in the future. Let the employer know if you have a specific budgeting method you use. This will help him see if your way of forecasting and managing a budget is a good fit with his company’s general culture and specific needs.
Explain your experience working with both short-term and long-term budgets if you are asked about it. Although your position may require only one or the other, the employer wants to know if you are capable of doing both. If you are asked about the size of the budgets you have managed, tell the truth. Do not overinflate the size of the budget you handled to make yourself look better to the employer.
Remain confident when you answer interview questions about your budgeting experience. Make eye contact with the employer, and give examples in each of your answers from volunteer or professional experience to demonstrate your abilities.