After posting all transactions from an accounting period, the trial balance is checked to verify that the total of all accounts with debit balances equals the total of all accounts with credit balances. The trial balance lists every open general ledger account by account number and provides separate debit and credit columns for entering account balances. An accurate Trial Balance means that debits and credits are in balance.
If you have experience with out of balance books, this is a good time to demonstrate that knowledge. Be honest about the process you used to correct it, and ensure that you don't reveal any sensitive information. Generally, when you're talking about the financials of a previous company, you don' need to provide the company's name. Remember, everyone is a potential investor of your previous company, so you don't want to information leaked and the company stock falling because of a comment you made in the interview.
"When I was working for my previous company, I found that the trial balance was not balanced. One of the data entry financial analysts input a debit instead of a credit, and it completely threw off the books. We searched the journal entries and found the error and made a correction that balanced the books."
"As I'm fresh out of school, I haven't run into this issue yet but when I was in school, I did have to create journal entries. Before I mastered that skill, I put together an inaccurate trial balance and had to investigate where I made the mistake. It helped me learn and master not only journal entries but the trial balance process itself."
"I'v have run into this various times. Generally when you hire new graduates to input the data for journal entries you will have at least one of them put a journal entry in wrong. I have found this is a perfect teaching moment for them to learn what not to do in the future. I comb through the journal entries and find the error and find the log in that input it and we have a training session. This is not to shame them or make them feel bad its to educate them. We sit down and go over the process I went through to find the error and I let them fix it and then have them run the trail balance to ensure it ties out. Its a great learning experience for all and gives them a confidence boost when they learn the entire process start to finish."