In order to see what kind of benefit you could provide to the organization, many hiring managers ask, "What have you done to reduce your department's operational costs or to save time"
Being able to provide an answer to this question shows that you have made a legitimate contribution to a previous employer. Your answer should show that you are able to successfully identify problems areas and recommend improvements. If you have been able to cut costs at the last place you worked, then a potential employer will know that you have the capability to do the same at this new job. This can make you a very viable candidate to an interviewer.
Points to Emphasize
There are a few key points to highlight when you are giving your response to this type of question.
- Delve into the details of how you reduced costs or saved time
- Talk about what you learned from the process
- Talk about any skills you utilized
- Discuss the benefits that were reaped
Regardless of what position you are applying for, being able to provide a real example of how you benefitted the organization will make it clear to the employer that you have something valuable to offer to the company.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Answering this question successfully can be a huge asset, and conversely, answering it badly can lead to some issues.
- Try not to pause in your response
- Don't lie or take credit for someone else's idea
- Don't feel the need to come up with an example for both, just one will suffice
- Don't brag about how you could do the same for this company
Your idea to reduce costs does not have to be completely revolutionary. Even mentioning a time where you saved a company just a little bit of money is enough to impress most hiring managers.
Answering this question correctly can give you a huge leg-up above the other applicants, so give a response along the lines of:
When I first started working at my last job, I noticed there was a serious problem with payroll coming out on time. Deadlines were consistently missed, so after learning about the company's accounts receivable program, I asked my boss if I could train the payroll staff to be more actively involves, and he said, "Yes." After about two weeks of training, payroll became much more consistent and always came out on time.
This question is a great opportunity to show your worth to the organization you are applying for, so make sure to have a response prepared.