By Dean Kaplan+
Creating a good job description for the debt collector position is more important now than ever, due to the current poor economy. Many job seekers are out there, more invoices are becoming delinquent, and collecting is tougher, not easier, as company cash flows slow or dry up. So what type of candidates should the company or collection agency look for? This article will discuss how to create a powerful collector job description and job descriptions in general.
The first step in creating any job description is performing a job analysis. The job analysis takes the job to be filled, and identifies its key components – what exactly are the duties and responsibilities needed to satisfactorily perform this job. For a collector position, the duties and responsibilities might include: analyzing accounts receivable collections data to identify current and potential future claims, researching all background and contact information for current and pending claims, contacting companies by telephone to discuss claims, developing payment plans, making decisions on future credit for non-paying or slow paying customers, inputting data into the company’s computer software system, publishing monthly summary reports for management about the status of claims, and making presentations of these reports to management on a monthly basis. There is also clerical work which must be completed for each closed claim, so tolerance of some busy work will be necessary.
Once the job analysis has been completed, a detailed job description must be written. This description needs to answer the what, why, where, and how of the job. The job title will be the first item identified in the job description. In this case, the job title will be Debt Collector. Identify what department the person will be a part of, perhaps the Accounts Receivable Collections Department, and the person the job will report to, in this case the Credit Manager. Details about the pay scale might be included in the job description also.
The next section will be the general description of the job. For example, the position of Debt Collector is responsible for all aspects of debt collection including in-house investigations and customer contacts.
Following the general description will be the specific duties and responsibilities of the position. This description should include actual tasks as well as hard and soft attributes that are required and any education or experience requirements. Here is an example of the specifics for a collector and how this description can be turned in to a help wanted listing.
The debt collector will identify existing and potential future claims by careful examination of accounts receivable data. Once a claim has been turned over to the collector, he or she will research and analyze overdue invoices, contracts, and contact information before any contact is made. When a phone call is made, the collector will discuss the outstanding invoice with the customer and create a written plan for payment that is acceptable to the customer and the company. This written plan will be e-mailed or faxed to the customer and the Credit Manager. All claim information will be input into the company computer software system for tracking purposes. The collector will perform all clerical tasks related to each claim including filing of hard copies. The collector will publish monthly summary claim reports which will be sent to management and the Credit Manager. The collector will present the summary data to management monthly or as needed.
Previous debt collections, internet and collection software experience necessary. Good communication and organizational skills a must. The candidate must enjoy working in a team environment. Some photocopying and filing is necessary. A Bachelor’s degree is desirable. Some training will be available.
The importance of developing a specific, detailed job description can not be emphasized enough. By doing the hard work of defining the job in detail, this provides the manager and the company with the exact parameters of the job, a benchmark, if you will. The newly hired employee will have a clear vision of what his or her responsibilities and duties are. Confusion will be minimized because the job is defined. Performance appraisals should be easier because hopefully the details of the tasks and responsibilities provide an opportunity for measurement. All of these should enhance efficiency and productivity within the Account Receivable Collections Department and the company.
The Kaplan Group is a boutique collection agency specializing in large (over $10,000) debt collections due from businesses. Founded in 1991, the company has a stellar reputation (A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau) and is recognized as one of the leading collection agencies for results on large and complex matters.