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Collection Specialist interview questions and answers

During your hiring process, use these sample Collection Specialist interview questions to assess candidates’ skills.

Christina Pavlou
Christina Pavlou

An experienced recruiter and HR professional who has transferred her expertise to insightful content to support others in HR.

10 good collection specialist interview questions

  1. A debtor has missed six months of payments. When you call the individual, they bring up financial difficulties and get emotional. How do you handle this?
  2. What payback plan would you recommend for a long-term client whose payments are due to be collected in X months?
  3. If you called a client to update them on their payment status and they were aggressive or rude to you, how would you handle it?
  4. Can you think of a few common excuses that debtors make? How would you respond to each of them?
  5. What collection methods do you know? Which technique do you think would be more effective for our company/clients?
  6. How do you keep historical data for each account?
  7. How often do you follow up with delinquent account holders and what’s your approach when you get in touch?
  8. Mention three things a Collection Specialist should avoid saying when speaking to a debtor.
  9. How do you keep track of all payments?
  10. What software do you use to increase your productivity?

Here are 10 essential interview questions and sample answers to help identify the best candidates for this role.

1. A debtor has missed six months of payments. When you call the individual, they bring up financial difficulties and get emotional. How do you handle this?

This question assesses the candidate’s communication skills and emotional intelligence when dealing with sensitive situations.

Sample answer:

“I would approach the situation with empathy and professionalism. I’d listen to the debtor’s concerns and then discuss a reasonable payment plan that could help them get back on track.”

2. What payback plan would you recommend for a long-term client whose payments are due to be collected in X months?

This question evaluates the candidate’s problem-solving skills and understanding of payment plans.

Sample answer:

“For a long-term client, I would recommend a staggered payment plan that aligns with their financial capabilities, ensuring it’s mutually beneficial.”

3. If you called a client to update them on their payment status and they were aggressive or rude to you, how would you handle it?

This question gauges the candidate’s conflict resolution skills.

Sample answer:

“I would remain calm and professional, reiterating the importance of settling the account while offering solutions to do so.”

4. Can you think of a few common excuses that debtors make? How would you respond to each of them?

This question tests the candidate’s experience and ability to handle common objections.

Sample answer:

“Common excuses include ‘I forgot,’ ‘I’m waiting for a paycheck,’ and ‘I never received the bill.’ For each, I’d offer a tailored response that addresses the issue while steering towards payment.”

5. What collection methods do you know? Which technique do you think would be more effective for our company/clients?

This question assesses the candidate’s knowledge of collection methods and their adaptability to different business models.

Sample answer:

“Methods include direct contact, debt settlement, and legal action. Depending on your company’s client base and values, direct contact is often the most effective and least confrontational.”

6. How do you keep historical data for each account?

This question evaluates the candidate’s organizational skills and familiarity with data management.

Sample answer:

“I use specialized collection software to keep track of all interactions, payments, and plans for each account.”

7. How often do you follow up with delinquent account holders and what’s your approach when you get in touch?

This question assesses the candidate’s persistence and communication skills.

Sample answer:

“I follow up every two weeks. My approach is to be firm but fair, reminding them of their obligations and discussing any barriers to payment.”

8. Mention three things a Collection Specialist should avoid saying when speaking to a debtor.

This question tests the candidate’s knowledge of best practices in debt collection.

Sample answer:

“A Collection Specialist should avoid making threats, discussing the debt with unauthorized individuals, and providing incorrect information.”

9. How do you keep track of all payments?

This question evaluates the candidate’s organizational skills.

Sample answer:

“I use a combination of collection software and spreadsheets to meticulously track all payments and update account statuses.”

10. What software do you use to increase your productivity?

This question assesses the candidate’s technical skills.

Sample answer:

“I use software like CollectMax and Microsoft Excel to manage accounts and increase efficiency.”

What does a good collection specialist candidate look like?

A good Collection Specialist candidate will have strong communication skills, emotional intelligence, and a firm understanding of financial laws and regulations. They should be organized, persistent, and able to handle conflict diplomatically.

Red flags

Be cautious of candidates who lack empathy, have poor communication skills, or show a lack of understanding of relevant laws and regulations.



Collection Specialist Interview Questions

Collection Specialists keep track of accounts receivable. They make sure payments are made on time. They routinely contact clients about debts.

When hiring for this role, look for candidates who are familiar with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and basic billing procedures. A college degree is not required, so candidates with relevant work experience will stand out. Opt for potential hires who proactively identify overdue accounts and reduce debts.

The collection specialist position can be stressful because it involves negotiating with financially-strained account holders. Patient, firm people are ideal candidates for this position. During your interviews, pose hypothetical scenarios to test whether candidates can handle stress management challenges. Also, test if they can use their critical-thinking skills to resolve credit issues.

Let’s summarize some of the questions and add a few more divided into specific types.

Operational and Situational questions

  • A debtor has missed six months of payments. When you call the individual, they bring up financial difficulties and get emotional. How do you handle this?
  • What payback plan would you recommend for a long-term client whose payments are due to be collected in X months?
  • If you called a client to update them on their payment status and they were aggressive or rude to you, how would you handle it?
  • Can you think of a few common excuses that debtors make? How would you respond to each of them?

Role-specific questions

  • What collection methods do you know? Which technique do you think would be more effective for our company/clients?
  • How do you keep historical data for each account?
  • How often do you follow up with delinquent account holders and what’s your approach when you get in touch?
  • Mention three things a Collection Specialist should avoid saying when speaking to a debtor.
  • How do you keep track of all payments?
  • What software do you use to increase your productivity?

Behavioral questions

  • What do you find interesting about this job?
  • Describe a time you had to deal with a difficult client. How did you handle the situation?
  • Describe a time you persuaded a client to pay off a large debt. How did you handle it, from beginning to end?
  • Have you ever faced an ethical dilemma at work? If so, what was the situation and what did you do?
  • Have your negotiations with a creditor ever failed? If so, what would you do different?
  • How does empathy help you build trusting, long-term relationships? Give an example of a time when you were able to better understand and address a client’s needs.

Frequently asked questions

Ready to fine-tune this interview kit?
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