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Collector Interview Questions

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  1. What are the responsibilities of collectors as you understand them? See answer
  2. What are collectors forbidden to do when contacting customers? See answer
  3. What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act? See answer
  4. What do you do if you simply cannot get in touch with a customer who owes money? See answer
  5. How do you motivate customers to pay? See answer
  6. What mistakes do businesses make when it comes to preventing debts and collecting on accounts? See answer
  7. What would your last/current employer say about your ability to interact with debtors?
  8. As a collector, you may have to negotiate with clients and set up payment plans to maximize the company’s returns on bad debt. Tell me about a time you negotiated and compromised with a customer or client.
  9. What would you do in a situation where a customer offered to make a bulk payment of a lower amount to clear out their entire debt balance?
  10. What processes do you use to keep track of when you reached out to a debtor, how you contacted them and the results of that interaction?
  11. What would you do if you called a customer to collect on a debt and they insisted that they paid off their balance during a previous call?
  12. Explain some of the situations where you would be able to waive a customer’s outstanding debt.
  13. Debtors can be emotional and upset when confronted about paying their balance. Are you comfortable dealing with frustrated and emotionally intense clients on the phone?
  14. Do you have experience meeting quotas for the number of accounts or total debt balance you collect each month?
  15. Explain the process of setting up a payment plan for a customer with previous history of delinquent debt.
  16. Do you have experience preparing written notices of debt collection?
  17. Do you have experience with the system of garnering wages?
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8 Collector Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

What are the responsibilities of collectors as you understand them?

A:

This question measures candidates’ awareness of general job responsibilities. It is one way to gauge how prepared someone is for the job.

What to look for in an answer:

  • A few top duties
  • Responsibilities listed in your job ad
  • Specifics versus generalities such as “communicate well”

Example:


“The general responsibilities of bill or debt collectors require them to pinpoint customer accounts that are delinquent on payment and to contact customers to discuss payment. Collectors should always follow company policy and maintain good records.”

Q:

What would your last/current employer say about you?

A:

This question aims to assess candidates’ self-awareness and perception skills. It also examines candidates’ abilities (or lack thereof) to maintain relationships with employers they have left or are about to leave. Candidates should speak well or at least neutrally about employers.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Mostly positive answers
  • One or two “weaknesses”
  • Comfortable body language

Example:


“My current employer would say that I’m pleasant and tenacious. I’m able to take accounts that have been deemed hopeless and recoup at least 50 percent payment in about six months. They would also say that I love challenges and need work with a bit more complexity.”

Q:

What are collectors forbidden to do when contacting customers?

A:

This question helps you weed out candidates who could get your business in legal trouble by engaging in shady or illegal practices. The question also helps you find candidates who are a good cultural fit for your company.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to respond quickly
  • Answers that touch on the prohibited practices that matter most to your company
  • Wide scope (more than two or three examples)

Example:


“Collectors should treat others fairly. That means they can’t give out wrong or misleading amounts of debt and can’t use foul language. They should never harass customers and need to call only between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. They shouldn’t call customers at their workplace unless that’s okay. They should not threaten to take customers’ property and assets unless that is actually part of the plan. Collectors should also accurately represent themselves and the company they work for.”

Q:

What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

A:

This question helps ensure that candidates know their stuff. Collectors must operate under legal principles, and knowledge of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act helps them do their job thoroughly and ethically.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Accurate answers
  • Smooth flow versus straining to remember
  • Respect for the law

Example:


“The FDCPA is a law that protects customers from shady and unethical behavior. I’ve been successful at recovering payments while cooperating fully with it. I always treat customers fairly and with respect, and the outcomes are usually good for the company.”

Q:

What do you do if you simply cannot get in touch with a customer who owes money?

A:

This question nudges into real-life territory by testing how well candidates understand FDCPA and how ethically they do act. It can also assess their persistence and penchant for negotiation or out-of-the-box thinking.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Honest practices
  • Balance of persistence versus knowing when to give up
  • Ability to handle frustration/stress

Example:


“I do everything I legally can to let a customer know when he or she owes money. What I do is follow company policy. In general terms, businesses typically send a bill once or twice with deadlines. The next step is a phone call. Then there might be another letter stating the action the company is going to take. If I suspect the customer simply isn’t at the address anymore, I try to verify that through public and online records.”

Q:

How do you motivate customers to pay?

A:

This question lends insight into candidates’ personalities. You find out about their abilities to communicate and connect, to think on their toes and to work independently. It also double-checks that candidates know to do nothing shady.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Ethical behaviors
  • Respect for customers
  • Understanding and persistence

Example:


“First, I explain to customers why it’s so important they pay. When I worked for a plumbing company, I emphasized how payments kept costs low for everyone and ensured that plumbers were paid fairly. I also tell them that I understand life gets in the way. I say that I don’t want anything to be overwhelming. I ask if they can go ahead and send $5, and maybe we’ll aim for $10 next month. From there, I’m often able to work out a formal plan.”

Q:

What mistakes do businesses make when it comes to preventing debts and collecting on accounts?

A:

This question gauges candidates’ critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. It also looks at their ability to communicate about a company’s weaknesses in a straightforward, non-attacking manner.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Realistic, relevant insight
  • Neutral language, not demeaning
  • An emphasis on prevention

Example:


“Some companies seem like they don’t focus enough on debt prevention. For example, maybe they need to develop better standards for approving loans or ask for a 50 percent down payment. As far as collection goes, it’s a good idea to stay in touch regularly with customers and to offer incentives for early payment. Give customers 5 percent off, and give them options for payment instead of restricting them to checks.”

Q:

As a collector, you may have to negotiate with clients and set up payment plans to maximize the company's returns on bad debt. Tell me about a time you negotiated and compromised with a customer or client.

A:

Because collectors aim to recover as much of their employer's financial liability as possible, they may find alternative methods to get back some or all of an outstanding balance from a customer. This includes payment plans, lowered interest rates and other methods for debtors who may otherwise ignore all communications. Interviewers can ask this question to find candidates who aim to get maximum returns while still being realistic about the money that they could get back from a debtor.

A good answer may have these qualities:

  • Patience and understanding
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Focus on results

Here is one possible response:

Example:

"At my last role, I often negotiated with clients about possible payment plans or incentives for paying off their balance. I had one client who made consistent payments but was struggling to keep up with the interest charges and fees, so we found a way to defer the interest to later payments, allowing her to keep debt payment within her budget."

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    Last updated: Apr 21, 2021