Emphasize Cost Cutting Experience

Many companies have increased the emphasis on cost cutting with the economy declining.  Lower sales makes it much more difficult to remain profitable.  For some companies, cutting expenses is necessary to stay in business.

The emphasis on cost savings will drive the decision making of hiring managers.  A few years ago, a key priority might have been increasing volumes, adding new products or adding more staff.  Today, the same hiring managers are focused on shrinking the organization to maintain profitability.  You need to adjust your job search approach accordingly.

You need to show your experience adjusting to a declining business.  For many job seekers, this is uncharted territory.  They have written their resume and prepared to interview with great examples of growth.  As impressive as these accomplishments may be, they may not be the best for landing a job today.  Focus on showing your experience adapting and overcoming challenging situations. 

To prepare to discuss your cost cutting experience, prepare answers to the questions below.  Although you may not be asked any of these questions specifically, preparing answers to the questions will make it easier to address your cost cutting experience. 

  • How have you reacted to declining volumes?
  • Tell me about a time when you knew you were going to miss your budget.
  • Tell me about a time when you encountered forecasts that were significant wrong.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to the loss of a key customer.
  • If you had to cut expenses immediately, what would you do?
  • Tell me about a time when you automated a process without a significant capital expenditure.
  • Tell me about a time when you eliminated a process or step in a process that was unnecessary. 

You can expect that many companies will look for employees that can step in and make an impact immediately.  In a recession, a company can’t afford to hire and train someone that won’t be productive for months or years.  The company will expect the new hire to generate income or cost savings to more than pay for their salary. If you can show your ability to pay for your salary and increase bottom line profits, you will have a greater chance of getting hired.