Budget and Finance Management Interview Questions and Answers
Interview Question 1: Have you had to control a budget before?
[SITUATION] I have good experience of budget management. Whilst working at _____ I was responsible for controlling the budget for _______. [TASK] I had to ensure that we did not overspend and that at all times I knew our financial position. [ACTION] In order to this I created a forecast for the year which set out all known future spend as well as a level of contingency. This meant I knew the remaining budget that we could spend. I continually checked the budget level as before any more spend was approved. [RESULT] As a result of my planning and monitoring we came in under budget at the end of the year.
Interview Question 2: Why is it important to have a budget?
A budget is important because, if stuck to, it prevents your team or department overspending. [SITUATION] I have been responsible for creating budgets in my previous roles. [TASK] I have had to ensure that my teams did not overspend and that we delivered the expected level of service with the money we had. [ACTION] My usual approach is to ensure that I have a sound forecast for all spend throughout the year. I have done this by planning out all known spend and also including a contingency.
Interview Question 3: Have you had to work in an environment where the budget available has been reduced?
In my previous roles I have had to work to a tight budget as well as deal with reducing budgets. [SITUATION] In my role at _____ our budget for ____ was reduced by ____. [TASK] In order to respond to this ensure that we could continue to deliver our objectives I took responsibility for identifying cost saving options. [ACTION] I established our current costs using our budget and identified a number of savings by renegotiating with suppliers. [RESULT] This led to a saving and helped us to reduce our budget whilst still achieving our objective.
Answering Budget and Finance Management Interview Questions and Answers – Standouty’s STAR Methodology
All of our Budget and Finance Management Interview Questions and Answers are based on the STAR method. This is recognised across the industry as the BEST method for answering interview questions. If used well the panel will be unaware of its use but consider your answer to be well constructed, methodical and just plain AMAZING.
The STAR Technique involves constructing your answer in the following way:
Set the context of your answer. Tell the panel, where, when and why this situation came to be. For example, “Whilst working in my current role, we were holding an event in which 100 plus people were due to attend any minute. That’s when I was notified the caterers weren’t able to make it.”
What did you have to do. For example, “I had to organise alternative caterers and without the guests knowing. The failure of the event would have been a disaster for the company.”
What did you actually do. For example, “I spoke to the venue owner and we identified other caterers who may be able to help at short notice. I contacted all of them and identified one who could cater the event albeit one hour later than planned.”
How did the situation play out. For example, “Catering was provided in line with guest expectations. The evening, after this initial hiccup, went seamlessly. I was congratulated by the senior managers for sorting out what could have been a catastrophe.”
Constructing your answers in this way will ensure you fully address the question / scenario given and the criteria the panel are measuring you against.
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