How to Hire a Credit and Collections Manager

By Robert Half February 20, 2020 at 9:25am

Recruiting top finance and accounting professionals is a challenge in today’s hot job market, where top candidates often field multiple offers. So, how do you find — and hire — the best possible person for your credit and collections manager role?

You’re looking for someone analytical, conscientious and discerning, with extensive experience in the field. At the same time, your ideal hire needs to be a people person, adept at managing a team, leading meetings and communicating effectively with clients.

A well-thought-out recruitment strategy can give you an edge over your competitors vying for the same talent. Here’s a look at what you can do to build such a strategy:

Develop a profile of a strong candidate

Your first step is to craft a list of the essential tasks your credit and collections manager will be expected to perform. That list likely will include:

  • Evaluating the creditworthiness of customers
  • Establishing and maintaining corporate credit policies and procedures
  • Setting credit limits
  • Assessing credit risks
  • Creating and analyzing credit reports
  • Working with external collections agencies
  • Managing the credit and collections team

Along with having experience performing the above tasks and navigating the associated responsibilities, the best candidates will possess the following soft skills:

  • Communication — working well with colleagues within the same office and across multiple departments
  • Leadership — getting the best out of collections clerks and other employees on the accounts receivable team
  • Organization — juggling multiple priorities and still hitting deadlines

A note of caution: Not every candidate will check all these boxes. By settling for nothing less than the perfect hire, you could be in for a stressful, drawn-out process. Keeping an open mind and considering talented applicants who are missing a nonessential skill or qualification can help make your search much shorter — but just as effective.

Craft a stellar job listing

The top job seekers in any field see several job postings each day — and quickly scroll past any that are ambiguous, sloppily constructed or just plain unappealing.

So, take the time to write a job listing that is both informative and inspiring. Some of what you did in the previous step will be helpful here. In jargon-free English, set out the following:

  • The job title
  • What skills and experience are required
  • Nice-to-have skills that may give a candidate a leg up
  • Who the position reports to
  • An engaging overview of your company

Beware of treating this last point as an afterthought, as organizational culture is a key consideration for many job candidates today. Prospective employees want to know what your company stands for, the kind of workplace you provide and the general vibe in the office. And they’re not merely curious — Robert Half research found that 35% of job seekers would turn down a position if they didn’t like the organizational culture.

Have an interview game plan

A strong candidate’s resume gives you a good sense of their technical skills and experience. While the interview offers a chance to dig deeper into these areas, it’s an even better opportunity to assess the soft skills a great credit and collections manager needs.

Pay close attention to each job seeker’s demeanor and behavior during the interview process. Does the candidate seem personable? Are they a strong communicator? Do they demonstrate key components of emotional intelligence?

To evaluate a candidate’s experience, ability to think on their feet and express themselves clearly, try open-ended questions like these:

  • What do you think the difference is between a good credit and collections manager and an outstanding one?
  • Can you tell us about a work-related conflict you had and how you resolved it?
  • Tell us about a time you made a poor decision at work.
  • What would your direct reports say about you?
  • What would you hope to accomplish in your first 30 days in this position?
  • Talk us through a sensitive situation you’ve had involving collections from an uncooperative customer.
  • Have you ever found it difficult to determine whether to extend credit to a client? If so, what steps did you take to come to a decision?
  • How do you handle demanding clients?
  • What are the most rewarding and most challenging aspects of managing a team?
  • What sort of work environment and office culture brings out the best in you?

Research salary ranges for credit and collections managers

With so much competition for accounting professionals, companies that don’t offer attractive salaries will miss out on top-tier candidates. The 2020 Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals pegs the midpoint starting salary for a credit manager at $73,250, with the most accomplished and experienced professionals earning compensation in the $116,500 range. These are national figures, and actual salaries vary by location. You can use resources like our Salary Calculator for your city and state.

There’s no doubt that salary is important, but job seekers also weigh benefits, perks and incentives. To increase your chances of attracting top candidates, underscore what makes your workplace competitive and appealing, from free coffee and staff discounts to flexible working hours and paid parental leave.

Reach out to a recruiter

Not everyone has the time for placing job posts, poring over resumes and scheduling interviews — but recruiters do. Specialized staffing agencies have the inside track on hiring and salary trends in finance and accounting sectors, as well as access to the best full-time and temporary professionals in your area.

Recruiters can also tap into networks of passive job seekers — professionals who are not actively looking for a new role but could be swayed by a hard-to-ignore opportunity.

Regardless of how you approach hiring a credit and collections manager for your business, do your best to keep the process short. Making your first-choice candidate a prompt and attractive offer doesn’t guarantee success, but it gives you the best possible chance.

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