What Does a Collections Representative Do?
With exposure to a variety of people, responsibilities, and experiences in a professional work environment, collections representatives play a crucial part in ensuring their company’s bottom line.
Working with customers is at the heart of the collections representative role. Whether it is to arrange for debt repayment, advise customers, or answer their questions, collections representatives should have the drive and ability to communicate well and work through obstacles to get results.
Besides having excellent interpersonal skills and strong negotiation abilities, collections representatives should also have strong knowledge of their company’s industry and the financial trends surrounding it.
Are you a job seeker?
of job openings
and apply online
National Average Salary
Collections representative salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for a Collections Representative is:
Collections Representative Job Descriptions
When it comes to recruiting a collections representative, having the right job description can make a big difference. Here are some real world job descriptions you can use as templates for your next opening.
Imagine doing a paid job or a service for someone, and that person never comes back to pay you. Collections representatives help to solve that problem. We are looking for someone who can help to ensure that all parties are treated fairly and that terms are being honored and met. Collections representatives must be able to locate delinquent account owners and follow up with them to create a repayment schedule appropriate for their financial situation. We are looking for someone who is comfortable using the phone, mail, or making appointments in order to locate the persons owing a debt. You must be able to read and write accurate reports and keep the information confidential. We are looking for someone who understands the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and who can act ethically and respectfully to clients.
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Record information about the financial status of customers and the status of collection efforts
- Locate and notify customers of delinquent accounts by mail, telephone, or personal visits to solicit payment
- Arrange for debt repayment or establish repayment schedules, based on customers’ financial situations
- Advise customers of necessary actions and strategies for debt repayment
- Answer customer questions regarding problems with their accounts
- Notify credit departments, order merchandise repossession or service disconnection, and turn over account records to attorneys when customers fail to respond to collection attempts
- Sort and file correspondence and perform miscellaneous clerical duties, such as answering correspondence and writing reports
- Contact insurance companies to check on the status of claims payments and write appeal letters for denial of claims
Education and experience
- This position requires a high school diploma or GED (an associate degree is preferred).
Required skills and qualifications
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Strong negotiation abilities
- Proficiency with database software and Microsoft Office Suite
- Proven ability to overcome obstacles and get results
- Ability to manage time with little supervision
- 2+ years experience working in an inbound/outbound call center environment
- Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite – including Word, Excel, Teams and Outlook
- Required to have a dedicated work area established that is separated from other living areas and provides information privacy
ABC Company is currently hiring collectors for our teams! Collector position will be responsible for managing 400+ accounts related to accounts payable and/or receivable.
- Maintains a professional and customer-friendly manner with each account
- Maintains knowledge and compliance with all applicable federal and state laws (e.g., FDCPA, UDAAP)
- Handles outbound and inbound calls professionally and knowledgeably, following the appropriate scripts, when necessary, occasionally fields inbound calls with the same professionalism
- Negotiates payment plans and settlements with our client’s customers based upon client-specific parameters
- Identifies disputes promptly and ensures proper resolution
- Participates in various problem-solving and decision-making activities, as required
- Demonstrates respect and regard for all clients, visitors, and fellow employees to ensure a professional, responsible, and courteous working environment
- Promotes effective working relationships with their team and other departments to help achieve department/company goals and objectives
- Maintains work areas and equipment in conditions as required by department standards; operates assigned equipment and performs all activities in a safe manner
- Desire a great company culture and team orientated
- Provide best-in-class customer service
- Moderate typing skills required (35 wpm) and basic math knowledge
- Ability to maintain a predictable and consistent full-time work schedule
- Bilingual/multilingual language skills desirable
- Two (2) or more years of general clerical experience a plus
- Collections, accounts payable and/or receivable experience preferred
- Compensation is commensurate with experience
- Successful completion of a thorough criminal background check
- High school diploma or equivalent required
The right candidates for this role have strong customer service with prior collections experience working in fast-paced and deadline driven positions. You are honest with strong attention to detail and enjoy a competitive environment.
- Take ownership of assigned portfolio of accounts
- Execute calls and emails to negotiate and collect commercial debt
- Follow company guidelines as described by Supervisor
- Communicate with clients and internal departments to update account status
- Follow-up with accounts regularly to build a solid partnership
- Minimum 2 years collections and customer service experience
- Prior success in a similar role
- Outgoing and positive personality eager to learn
- Excellent writing and verbal communication
- Ability to meet deadlines and handle pressure
- Strong MS Office and overall savvy with web applications and databases
ABC Company is looking for multiple Collection Representatives to join our local team.
The ideal candidate will be able to apply their communications skills (verbal and written) to provide excellent customer service in a client-focused and service-oriented environment. This position would suit a positive, innovative, and enthusiastic solution finder with the ability to influence others.
Your future duties and responsibilities
- Responsible for day-to-day collection activities including contacting past due customers to secure payments
- Provide excellent customer service
- Effectively handling irate customers
- Multi-tasking through diverse client-facing systems to document calls and transfer funds accordingly
- Understanding and retention of all necessary collection rules and regulations (which will be included in your new hire onboarding and training)
- Other activities as identified by the collections team. In addition to collections activities, the collector will be required to adhere to productivity and delinquency standards set by the management team.
Required qualifications to be successful in this role
- Must successfully pass a background check
- Must possess a high school diploma or GED
- Continuous self-development and improving job-related skills
- Intake and retain information
- Initiative to solve problems
- Ability to engage others in conversation
- Ability to actively listen and respond in a positive, empathetic manner
- Ability to handle irate customers
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- Professional Collections Specialist (PCS). This course is available through the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (ACA) and certifies that candidates have learned professional and ethical standards for collection practices. They will also learn negotiation tactics that will help them in their collections work. An exam is required and must be passed with a score of 85% or higher. This certification needs to be renewed every three years.
- Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA) Certification. This certification helps to ensure that candidates understand the regulations and implications of the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act and that they can act appropriately in their day-to-day work as collections representatives. This knowledge will minimize their risk of noncompliance. Candidates must pass the test with 75% or higher and can retake the test up to three times.
- Commercial Collections Specialist. This certification, available through the National Association of Credit Management, is a course designed for candidates with 0-3 years of experience in the field. It explores the cost of credit and situations in which companies are more likely to be taken advantage of. It covers documentation for lending to promote a good relationship with the customer. This course teaches candidates to judge if a company’s credit strategies comply with the law.
How to Hire a Collections Representative
Consider the following when hiring a collections representative:
- Recruiting: Do you have the internal resources and tools to source and recruit for this role successfully?
- Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid, or even junior-level skills suffice?
- Duration: Is this a one-time project, or an indefinite need?
- Management: Can you effectively direct the work effort?
- Urgency: Are there any deadlines associated with this need?
- Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?
Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, various great options exist for every scenario, no matter how unique. When hiring a collections representative, we recommend the following options:
1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)
The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.
This is the best route to take when:
- You need to fill the position quickly
- You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
- Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
- You are hiring an employee as a direct placement but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff.
- You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
2. Advertise your opening on a top job board
Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice.
We recommend using a job board when:
- Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
- You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort
- You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
- You are prepared to respond to all applicants
We recommend using CareerBuilder for collections representative openings:
CareerBuilder has been a trusted source for hiring since 1995. Reach 80+ million unique, diverse U.S. job seekers annually by posting your jobs through their talent acquisition channels. Through CareerBuilder, you can engage candidates and drive them into your sourcing pipeline. We recommend using CareerBuilder for hiring when you have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants.
3. Leverage your internal resources
You can utilize your own website, social media, and employees to assist in your search for top candidates.
A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Social media can also be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new opening. As far as exposure is concerned, this option can be as good as some job boards when you have a large enough following across various platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.
Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives.
We recommend these options when:
- Your brand has great name recognition
- You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
- You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
- You have an effective employee referral program in place
If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.
Sample Interview Questions
- Describe the role and responsibilities of a collections representative.
- What strategies would you use to locate clients and then follow up with them?
- How would you keep track of payment records for each account?
- What do you know about the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act?
- How would you keep track of payment records for each account you are working with?
- What qualities do good collections representatives have?
- How often would you follow up with your clients?
- How would you handle an aggressive client?
- Can you describe a time you successfully convinced a client to pay off a debt? What steps did you take?
- Describe a time you had to tell someone difficult news and how you handled it.
- What is your ideal workspace environment?
- What do you do if after trying everything you simply cannot reach the client who owes money?
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake. How did you handle it?
- Describe a time you received criticism from your supervisor. How did you respond to it?
- How do you motivate customers to pay?