Collections specialists are charged with the task of recovering debt on behalf of creditors. Collections personnel not only must be skilled negotiators, but also have the tenacity to perform what can often be a difficult task. The average industry salary is $31,000 and workers generally have at least a high school education. Most collecting work is done over the phone, so applicants who have previous experience in a call center are generally favored. Training, however, is usually done on the job, over the course of a one to three month period.
Even though their interactions with debtors are typically over the phone and not face-to-face, bill and account collectors utilize the same type of skillset that sales representatives do. They need to have the ability to listen to the debtor's concerns and then factor those into negotiations with the creditor. Applicants who are not familiar with negotiation techniques or debt collection laws, can be trained in that area. Job prospects tend to be stable in this profession, particularly during slow economic periods. Turnover is a constant issue in the collections industry, therefore employers who can achieve even small incremental reductions in turnover will enjoy significant competitive advantages.
Criteria Corp's customers in the collections industry have had great success using skills and personality tests to reduce turnover and increase productivity. Personality tests such as the Sales Achievement Predictor (SalesAP) and the Employee Personality Profile (EPP) assist employers in screening for people whose personality profiles have a high statistical correlation to success in collections. The Criteria Basic Skills Test (CBST) has also been validated as an effective tool for predicting both retention and productivity in the collections industry, providing an efficient way to ensure that new hires have the communication skills, attention to detail, and "trainability" (i.e. ability to pick up the necessary skills and knowledge for the job in a relatively short period of time) needed for success in collections.
See an example of how an employer in the collections industry used Criteria Corp's tests to predict performance for collections agents.
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Rank in HireSelect:
26 out of 1,100
Median wage in U.S.:
$35,540/year or $17.09/hr
Expected growth rate 2012-2022:
Number employed (2014): 346,960
Education level of Bill and Account Collectors: