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5 Debt Collector Interview Questions and Answers

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Q:

How do you negotiate with debtors when setting up a settlement offer to collect an overdue debt?

A:

Negotiation skills are a must for all debt collectors. The ideal candidate discusses the debt with the debtor in a respectful and understanding manner. He or she must understand how to present potential payment plans and settlement offers to collect debts and secure confirmation of repayment from the debtor. The plans help consumers pay off overdue debts without the added stress. Your debt collector should possess exemplary customer service skills to collect debts.

  • Negotiation skills and high-quality customer service
  • Knowledge of acceptable settlement offers
  • Establishes a professional and respectful rapport with existing debtors

Example:

"I understand dire financial circumstances and have advanced negotiation skills. I am a problem solver and help debtors find a better repayment solution."

Q:

Do you have a proven track record for collecting overdue debts from debtors?

A:

You want a candidate who has a proven track record in collections who understands how to collect from debtors without causing more difficulties or issues. A debt collector must keep the debtor on the phone until a payment arrangement has been set up. Their work history shows high volume collections without scare tactics or methods that can damage your company's reputation. They are persistent without crossing legal or ethical lines and boundaries.

  • A proven track record in debt collection
  • Uses approved collection strategies and avoids scare tactics
  • Doesn't break the law

Example:

"Working closely with a debt collection manager, I collected high volume debts without the use of scare tactics and met/exceeded my daily quotas."

Q:

Are you familiar with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and do you follow it correctly?

A:

The FDCPA is followed by all debt collectors and agencies. An ideal candidate is familiar with federal law and understands how to collect debts fairly. He or she doesn't place your company at risk for a lawsuit. Pay attention to the candidate's demeanor when answering the question. He or she must remain professional and understand the seriousness of the federal law and how it applies to the job and everyday collection practices.

  • Knowledge of the FDCPA and its repercussions
  • Experience following the stipulations of the law
  • Candidate isn't a legal liability

Example:

"I am versed in and compliant with all federal debt collection laws. I collect debts fairly without manipulation, false information, or misrepresentation of the law."

Q:

Do you understand which debt situations require legal action and how to present the information to debtors?

A:

Debt collectors are restricted by law from misrepresenting facts to debtors. It is paramount that the candidate understands that they should never threaten legal action against a debtor unless your company has authorized the action. The debt collector must use legal means to collect the debt or negotiate a payment plan with the debtor. If he or she threatens the debtor, legal action for harassment is possible.

  • Experience collecting debts without threats
  • Knowledge of harassment laws and fair collecting practices
  • Follows protocol and proper debt collection procedures

Example:

"Working at a collection agency, I informed debtors of legal action with authorization from my manager. Legal action is a last resort for debt collections."

Q:

Between what hours are debt collectors allowed to contact debtors via phone calls?

A:

Knowledge of the appropriate calling hours lowers common risks to your company. The debt collector will know that they are restricted from calling debtors before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. within the time zone of the debtor. Equally, the candidate knows that debt collectors aren't allowed to call a debtor on their job or speak to other parties about the debt or the debtor's financial circumstances. Understanding these requirements helps your company avoid further liabilities.

  • Experience cold calling debtors to collect outstanding balances
  • Knows appropriate calling hours for debt collection
  • Avoids harassment claims from debtors

Example:

"As a debt collector, I know that phone calls are allowed between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. and calls beyond those hours equate to harassment."

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