Tough Interview Questions: What Was The Toughest Budget Issue You’ve Dealt With?

What Was The Toughest Budget Issue You've Dealt With?

Now from an organizational perspective, you’ve got to understand that budgets, of course, are important. It’s kind of like you watch the pennies, you get to the dollars. You then get to the thousands and millions of dollars by dealing with cost issues. You know that.

However, what you don’t know is there’s a little trap in the question and the trap is “do you want to stay in the weeds and deal with budgets directly, or do you want to work with someone on a budget?”

That becomes apparent as you tell the story, as you talk about this budget issue. You have to know in advance whether or not they want someone who’s an “in the weeds kind of individual” who’s dealing with every dollar that’s coming through the budget or whether they want someone who’s “smart enough.” I’m going to phrase it this way because you can’t be an expert at everything– Who’s smart enough to work with a budget expert for the organization to identify areas of cost-saving.

Now if you want to, and, again this is also part of the choice that you make in answering this question, if you want to demonstrate that you are an in the weeds kind of person, you talk about all the steps that you took.

If you want to demonstrate that you’re collaborative and work with others to identify a change, then you talk about working with other people and the details of the story are less important than that one issue.

If you want to demonstrate that you’re no-nonsense, no BS kind of person who will attack everything yourself, then you talk about what you did. Otherwise, you talk about working with someone else to identify areas of concern. You talk about a committee that you put together of individuals . . . you know what I’m getting at.

Isn’t that a great answer? That’s because what you’re doing is acknowledging the effort that went into the job how you got recognized afterward, you delivered, and that you learned something from the experience.

Emotional intelligence is one of those things that firms like to see. They like to see that people aren’t going to cop an attitude, quit their jobs, tell them to go get someone else, stuff along those lines. They’re looking for maturity from you and working your way through a situation like this. They understand that it may be a struggle and that your perseverance and success is a great example of maturity.


Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020



Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff 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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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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