In this post We will answer the situational interview question ‘Tell me about a time when you saved a company money’
I’m not talking about turning off the lights and shutting off the heat, to be clear… I’m talking about legit cost savings that went un-noticed before that don’t sacrifice the quality or the work environment.
A sneak peek into the mind of the interviewer and WHY they ask this
What to say when you’re answering
And a concrete example of my own experience to get you thinking!
What is the point of this question? Why is it asked?
This question is designed to see if you’re thinking about cost savings when you can. If there’s an opportunity to save money somewhere, did you see it? And did you take advantage of it?
They want to know how you think, to see whether you’ll be thinking that way for them if you’re hired. Will you be looking for ways to save money where you can?
How you answer this?
You answer it by telling a story.
Use The SARI Formula which we’ll go through here. SARI Stands for Situation Action Result and Interesting Features.
You want to tell a memorable and interesting story that includes enough detail to paint a picture.
The story should be pretty concise, you want to keep it short and sweet, and paint the picture of the scenario first.
STEP 1: SITUATION
For example: We were replacing everyone’s desks with sit/stand desks, as that’s a new thing now a days. Sitting is the new smoking. So I was asked to order a certain type of desk from a specific company and slowly start upgrading everyone’s desks.
STEP 2: ACTION
What was your action, and what was your thought process behind this action? For example:
“I looked at the company’s pricing on these desks and thought to myself, hmm they charge quite a bit for shipping and assembling, I wonder if there’s another way to get this done for less money?
So I did some quick research and I found another company that sold the exact same desks, and would ship for free! And include assembly with an order of 4 or more desks. Since I was replacing 40 of them all together this was a no brainer”
STEP 3: RESULT
How did it work out? What was the end result?
My boss was super pleased with me finding this other company, and when I showed her that we’d be saving over $1000 in total on all shipping and assembly costs after the entire job was done, she was very impressed.
STEP 4: BONUS Interesting Features
Anything you learned, what did you take away from the experience, any nuggets of wisdom to share? Basically anything that makes the story more interesting to listen to. So when I mentioned ‘Sitting is the new smoking’ that was an interesting feature. Also another example might include something personal about yourself if you’re geared towards cost saving in your own life like: “My dad was always having me look for the sales, in fact when we shopped for groceries when I was little, I was always looking out for the sale price tags” So my mind is just wired that way to always look for the best possible price.
What is your thought process, and level of awareness when it comes to saving money or cutting costs?
How do you take action on saving money?
What was the end result.
Zero in on what you learned – keep it interesting – for example: I learned that I’m pretty good at researching and doing price comparisons, and it may not always be on the price itself that you save the money, (shipping and handling, extra hidden fees, an employee’s time are all ways that you can save, and there are even more than that).
There we have it:
How do you think about cost savings?
How many different ways can you think of to save costs, time or resources?
Thank you for reading! Nailing the interview questions is great! But There is a lot more to interviewing than just answering the questions.
In fact if all you do is answer the questions alone, you’ve already lost the interview.
There is a whole interview strategy at play and if you’d like to learn more you can get started with me by clicking the link below to grab my free guide:
You get free instant access and Ultimate Situational Interviewing Guide.
What you’ll get when you download the guide:
An in-depth look at The SARI Formula (and the psychology behind it)
A series of Concrete Examples for the top 10 most commonly asked situational questions
Fill in the blank templates for each question
& if you are still getting stuck (because preparing your own stories is tough) I’ve also included
25 Questions to come up with your own stories much quicker.
You’ll also get the beautifully designed workbook, designed specially for you to prepare for your next interview.
By the end of working through the guide you’ll be totally ready for any situational interview question that gets thrown your way!
Click below and grab it now.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week back here in my digital corner.
In Work & Life