Acting as a bridge between business and customer, the collection agent is responsible for all money matters related to the recovery process. In this article, we will be sharing some of the questions with answers that you might be asked in your interview as a Collection Agent. Here are the Top 25 Collection Agent Interview Questions and Answers.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
I have been interested in this role because of the collection process strategies and procedures that are the essence of this role. In this role, I would be working closely with several teams including sales and legal.
2. What Are The Roles Of A Collection Agent?
In collaboration with different departments including legal, account, and sale, the collection agent develops debt collection strategies and plans as per the process adhered to FDCPA. To contact the debtors, the agent will be in touch with the debtors and negotiate the recovery. To gather data, public databases will be used to track down defaulters and perform background checks and loan documents attached.
3. What Are The Qualities That A Collection Agent Needs To Be Successful?
The collection agent should possess good oral and written communication skills as the job of a debt collector will involve contacting the debtor either by letter or telephone to obtain a settlement of bad debts. Collection agents need to be able to work well under pressure and should be able to relate to people from a wide variety of backgrounds. They should also be polite, tactful, honest, and firm in dealing with people and should have good computer and organizational skills as well.
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?
In my previous role, one of the biggest challenges was faulty written agreements between the parties. A lot of times there is a contract that is null and void from the beginning and lending parties suffer. To deal with this issue, I made sure that all written agreements are as per the law of the state and all questions all answered in the documents to avoid further inconveniences. I always consult the legal team when drafting agreements with parties to make sure that there is no loophole.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Collection Agent?
I start my day with regular quick meetings with my team to update them on current happenings and communicate the strategies and goals to achieve. Once I get to my desk, I log on to my collection system and start working. I make a list of follow-ups and other accounts that I need to start with. The day goes on at the same pace till it’s time to go home.
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience?
I have worked in different capacities in this field. In my experience, I started as a fresh graduate in the collection department in a local bank where I would advise customers on strategies for debt payment. I also notified the customers on a credit account and damage claims in their case. I also arranged debt repayment by establishing schedules based on the customer’s financial situation.
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Are Required For This Role?
To succeed in this field, a collection agent should be a problem solver. A creative one! As they communicate with the customers, they should be able to provide recommendations and break up payments into a plan so the debtor can easily pay. Sometimes the reasons provided by the customer require empathy like death or divorce or job loss. As an agent, they should be able to balance empathy with debt collection.
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge You Foresee In This Job?
The biggest challenge in this field is to identify financially vulnerable customers. It is very hard to differentiate between the customers who had missed payments due to crises like the recently COVID pandemic that led to job losses in a huge population. Recently, it has become an uncertain economic environment for a collection agent to perform the duty.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated At Work?
It is a stressful job where targets need to be met every day. I make sure that I don’t burn out in this process to perform in this industry. To manage stress, I make sure that I am physically fit and keeping myself healthy to manage the day-to-day tasks in this stressful industry. I mostly spend mine after office hours on some leisure activity like playing a physical sport or spending time with my loved ones.
10. Describe A Time You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned?
At the start of my career in this field, I interacted with 2 clients who shared their reasons for the delay in paying their debt. In my head, I was trying to negotiate a payment plan for them but they were pretty professional in halting me throughout. I kept giving them more time to sort their financial situation in empathy. It kept happening for months but my report was shared with my supervisor. He was furious about the delay and told me about the damage it is doing to the company’s finances. I learned that having empathy is okay but my job in debt collection has some rules too. I should be concerned about the company’s finances more! Ever since I have made sure that I don’t get personally involved in my job and should complete my duty.
11. Why Do You Feel You Are Qualified For This Role?
I have experience in debt collection in the banking sector which is the requirement of the job as mentioned in the advertisement. I have experience of almost 3 years of in the banking sector and I have performed well in this career. I have great communication and negotiation skills that do not make me afraid in making phone calls and follow-ups with debtors.
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement
In my previous role, a few pending debt cases were handed over to me. I traced delinquent customers to new addresses by inquiring at post offices, telephone companies, credit bureaus, and by questioning neighbors. I was able to close several deals in my target and was also given the title of the best employee of the month for 2 sessions consecutively.
13. What Is The Debt Recovery Procedure?
- Contact the customer and remind them about their payment politely
- Contact with an overdue payment reminder
- If the customer still fails to pay the payment as per the terms of the payment, send them a final notice
- Even after sending a final notice if still there is no response from the customer, try to make direct contact and ask for payment again
- After failing all options, if the customer still resents payment then send a formal letter of demand.
14. What Are Debt Collection Protection Laws?
- Debt collection agents are not allowed to harass debtors. Activities that constitute harassment vary from place to place but would typically include calling too frequently or at unusual hours.
- Revealing the debtor’s situation to other people (employers etc.). Debt collection agents are supposed to take all reasonable steps to ensure that their actions do not alert other people to the debtors’ situation. This would include speaking to your boss at work or someone that lives in your home.
- Using abusive language. Debt collection agents have to deal with you professionally. Petty insults and bad language are not tolerated.
15. What Are The Types Of Debt Collection Agencies?
There are two types of agencies that work for this matter.
• First-party agencies – often they are direct agents like paid employees or subsidiaries of the creditor (an individual or company)
• Third-party agencies – these are outside agencies contracted by a creditor company or individual to pursue the debtor and collect the amounts owed; the service is done for a fee.
16. What Are The Types Of Debtors?
• Prompt payer. This debtor pays bills on time, is a good risk, and represents the majority of credit account holders.
• Slow payer. This debtor resorts to stalls, broken promises, and tends to procrastinate.
• Careless debtor. This debtor is not concerned with details, is often negligent, and usually disregards payment notices.
• Recalcitrant debtor. This debtor takes the position that the debtor is in control. This debtor will pay debts at his convenience, on his terms. This kind of person will challenge the creditor on every front but ultimately will meet the obligation.
17. What Are The Examples Of Exempt Assets And Income For Debt Recovery?
Exemptions are actions and protections mandated by laws that protect certain types of income and assets. Some examples of exemptions include unemployment benefits, most types of pensions, retirement plan assets or payments, child support payments, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veterans benefits, temporary assistance for needy families, certain types of community property assets, disability income, and fixed dollar amounts as mandated by state and federal laws.
18. What’s The Protocol When A Judgment Debtor Files A Claim Of Exemption?
The creditor must schedule the court hearing to occur within days or a few weeks at most. If the creditor does not appear at the court hearing, they lose and the debtor’s claim is automatically granted. If the debtor does not show up, you win. If the judgment debtor claims an exemption with the sheriff, the creditor will get a notice in the mail. To challenge this, the creditor must mail back to the judgment debtor (certified mail, return receipt requested) a declaration objecting to the debtor’s claim of exemption and a “notice of hearing” regarding objection to the exemption claim. The creditor must also send notice of the hearing to the court. The court hearing usually must be held within two weeks of the creditor receiving the exemption claim. The creditor must act quickly to attempt to win.
19. As Per Fair Collection Practice Act, What Are Third Parties You Can Deal With?
Third parties include
- The client or consumer
- The client’s attorney
- Client’s reporting agency
- The Creditor
- The Creditor’s attorney
- The debt collector’s attorney
20. In Your Experience, What Are The Common Excuses Made By Customers To Get Away From Debt Collection, And How Do You Deal With It?
I have dealt with a variety of bad debt customers in my experience and the responses vary as well. There are a few common responses when I am trying to deal with customers who are trying to get away from debt collection. They include:
- They are too busy – In this case, politely ask the customer to settle the payment without delay before the case complicates as per law.
- The signatory has died- In this case, we cannot do much unless and until there is legal paperwork that mentions a third party name if something goes wrong with the main.
- Cash flow issue- In this case, I can propose an installment plan by referring them to a debt counselor. If I sense that problem is temporary then some time can be granted but it should not exceed a longer period.
- Unavailability of Debtor- In this case, reach out on a personal number. If not then I can send a warning letter about the payment to their address.
- The cheque is sent via post-It In this case; politely ask them to send a copy of the cheque that clearly shows the cheque number, date, and name under which it is issued.
21. What Is A Letter Of Demand? How Can It Be Responded To?
This document is issued by the collector to the customer that mentions clearly that a lawsuit can be filed if the debtor does not pay in the given period.
In response, one can try to negotiate an agreement for payment with the creditor. The creditor cannot use the discussion in court even if the negotiation is failed. One can also disagree with the claims mentioned in the letter of demand and explain why it is denied and why it is not a liability to comply. Another way to respond in case one is not sure about the alleged matter is to contact the creditor and request clarification on the matter. Overall, the creditor can go to court at any point in time with the letter.
22. What Is The Role Of Debt Relief Specialists?
Debt relief specialists use their financial and technical skills together with their wide range of experience to help you out of your financial misery. After assessing your financial status and payment capabilities, they will offer a personalized plan that will show you the best way to eliminate credit card debt. If you decide on settlement and give them the go signal to intercede on your behalf, they will contact your creditors and negotiate with them, for a financial deal that will ensure you get to pay your debts at a reduced amount from the original and at lower and better interest rates.
23. How Do You Ensure That You Are Following Fair Debt Collection Practices Act In Your Work Routine?
This is the basic requirement of this job because it can create a problem for the organization I work in as well. I make sure that I and my team members comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act completely. At work, I make sure that while talking to a client; I have compassion and empathy in my tone and do not lose my patience during any call even follow-ups. I always contact the customer at appropriate times, especially during business hours and I also run background checks on all cases that are on my plate.
24. What Is Debt Collection Management Software? What Are The Key Features Of Such Software?
Debt collection software takes the place of collection agencies in managing payments from customers on past-due invoices. More than simply accounts receivable software, it can send payment reminders, offer payment terms to customers, and reduce the number of overdue invoices you have.
- Increasing the volume of debt management that each staff member can handle allows you to reduce staff numbers or handle more debt
- Recovering more debt by driving the debt recovery process harder and more accurately
- Improving cash flow through improved monitoring and enforcement of payment agreements
The key features are:
- Online payment platforms that can process debit or credit payments directly from clients so you get paid faster.
- negotiate payment plans for late-paying clients to help with debt management
- automate many of the accounting processes related to collecting payments, such as sending payment reminders or processing bulk cases
- Integration between debt collection software with other financial software used for accounts receivable management, such as QuickBooks, and ERP software like Xero and SAP.
- Generate collection reports
- Self-service for customers to access invoices and make payments
25. In Your Opinion, What Is The Biggest Advantage Of Using Debt Collection Management Software?
I have worked on a few different types of collection management software including Anytime Collect and SimplicityCollect and the biggest advantage I feel is that it helps in improving cash forecasting. With the detailed forecasts, I can tack expected and upcoming payments. It has been researched that this software also reduces bad debt by a minimum of 10%.
Be confident and smile as you give your interview. Don’t forget to dress professionally too! These 25 questions are surely going to help in acing the first round of interviews as a Collection Agent. Good luck!