How to Recruit and Retain Effective Collections & Loss Mitigation Specialists
In any industry, finding talent is difficult. Surveys of HR teams show 72% say attracting talent is the biggest challenge facing their organizations. Deloitte says more than 82% of the finance and accounting industry also struggles with employee retention. Attrition creates a cyclic need for industry workers, so HR teams are on a hiring treadmill with no end in sight. Gartner says it’s the perfect storm of “a competitive talent landscape, an exhausted workforce, and pressure to control costs.”
Finding talent is even more challenging in the credit and collections field. Loss mitigation and collections recruiters are tasked with finding a unique set of personality traits to do this work well. Their efforts to find talent are critically important as credit card balances reached a record-setting high last year. U.S. consumers increased their borrowing by $28 billion in November 2022, according to CNN Business.
On the business side, companies struggle today in an environment where capital and talent are constrained. The federal government’s efforts to stave off a recession and curb inflation causes interest rate hikes that will surely force more companies into excessive debt. According to the latest numbers, the average debt carried even by a small business is high, at $195,000. These signs indicate an increasing need for skilled workers in the loss mitigation and collections fields.
This article shares tips for companies with loss mitigation and collections recruiters seeking talent to shore up their teams. We’ll cover five critical ways your company can attract more of these professionals—advice that, for most companies, couldn’t come at a better time.
A Collections Staffing Agency Shares 5 Ways to Hire Top Collections & Loss Mitigation Specialists
Loss mitigation and collections recruiters undeniably have a difficult job ahead of them in 2023. They must find the talent that is so desperately needed as past dues and delinquencies rise. Collections staffing agencies understand far too well when your loss mitigation team is stretched too thin it leads to burnout. Keeping skilled resources in the right seats at your organizations requires key shifts in how we approach finding talent. Five ways your loss mitigation and collections recruiters can improve their efforts to find talent include:
- Improving the effectiveness of our advertising.
- Offer flex time.
- Look for better customer service skills.
- Interview candidates in the office.
- Promote from within
#1 Write Descriptive Job Posts
A collections staffing agency understands the importance of the job post in a competitive candidate environment. A good job description is the first contact with candidates who are open to work. That job description plays a key role for loss mitigation and collections recruiters who often reach out proactively to passive candidates and invite them to apply. Writing effective job advertisements can help attract qualified candidates and increase the chances of filling a position.
So, what makes for a good job post these days? Our tips include:
- Clearly defining the job duties and requirements. Be specific but concise about what the collections specialist will do each day.
- Using action-oriented language. Avoid passive voice and long sentences. Be short, punchy, and lead with active verbs such as “lead,” “manage,” “negotiate,” “create,” and “produce.”
- Highlighting the company culture and benefits. Most job candidates care about a company’s culture and values, just as they do the benefits you offer new employees. These are the perks and bonuses of working in a collections role, but today, they matter to close to 80% of the people you might hire.
- Using inclusive language. The studies show that gender-coded language that assumes the applicant is male turns women off and deters them from responding to your ad. But the same inclusivity rule should apply to creating ads that imply younger people are more welcome to apply. For example, avoid “we welcome recent college graduates” unless you balance it with “and retirees.”
- Using an applicant tracking system (ATS)-friendly format. Most companies use ATS platforms, but they are particularly useful for the high volume hiring in a loss mitigation and collections staffing agency. So, create an ad with specific keywords that recruiters can search for within these platforms to find suitable resumes. Use a catchy title optimized for candidate search on a job board. Don’t use acronyms.
- Creating an appealing design. Believe it or not, the design of your ad makes a difference in who looks at it. Candidates are less likely to read big paragraphs with corporate jargon. Think short sentences and clear language. Use bullets and headlines to make the job ad easier to read. Break up the ad and use white space so it is more visually appealing.
- Proofread and edit your ad. One good suggestion is to have an outsider look at the posting. It’s easy to fall into industry-speak when you’re living in the collections world. Ask someone outside the field if they think your ad is as clear as it seems to your team.
All of these tips are used every day by collections staffing agencies to help their job ads stand out.
#2 Offer Flexible Work Schedules
Today, 71% of loss mitigation staffing agencies and collections in-house teams can work remotely. They’ve done this to attract more talent to their organization. At the same time, 69% say “they have concerns about employee self-management and productivity.” A concern that Fortune says is flat out wrong. The latest studies show:
- Remote workers or workers with at least some schedule flexibility report a 29% higher productivity level.
- 53% of remote workers say they have a greater ability to focus at home.
It’s not just the loss mitigation and collections industry worried about remote worker productivity, either. Citrix surveyed 900 global business leaders and found that one-half worry about the productivity of their remote workforce. (About that same number installed monitoring software on their employees’ computers.)
However, even before COVID, peer-reviewed research showed remote workers are considerably more important than those working in an office. Remote workers put in more hours and better work.
Organizations seeking to hire into their credit and collections teams must pay attention to these numbers, which include data that shows close to 60% of workers want a fully remote job and 39% say they’d settle for a hybrid in/out of the office model.
The numbers are in. If you want to recruit and retain effective collections specialists today, consider offering a flex-work option.
#3 Recruit for High-Value Customer Service Skills
The best collections specialists understand the adage, “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” Screening for customer service skills during an interview can help you determine if a candidate has the finesse to work with a business or consumer debtor in a way that doesn’t damage your reputation. You can screen for high-value customer service skills by:
- Asking behavioral interview questions that lead with, “Tell me about a time when you…”
- Asking about the candidate’s approach to customer service during difficult situations.
- Assessing the candidate’s written and verbal communication skills.
- Asking for an example of how they solved a challenging problem.
- Role playing under pressure to observe the candidate’s composure.
- Asking about their experience with customer service software tools.
- Observing their body language during the interview process.
A loss mitigation staffing agency also typically pays close attention to these three traits during any interview for a collections specialist.
Attention to Detail
Attention to detail matters in the loss mitigation field for several reasons:
- Compliance with the rules and regulations that govern our industry.
- Accurate record keeping for documenting customer interactions.
- Effective communication by phone is particularly important.
- Ability to prioritize tasks in a busy environment.
Collections require multitasking. While computer automation handles some of the mundane tasks we handle, a good collections specialist candidate must be able to multitask. Time management is part of this skill and it’s essential in an environment where many accounts need attention.
Collections are always a numbers game, so look for candidates who can speak to their level of efficiency in their job. The efficiency level should include completing tasks without errors and not just flying through them. You’re looking for exceptional collections candidates that can follow procedures while working smarter not harder.
#4 Invite Candidates to the Office
Inviting a collections job candidate to the office is still beneficial. An in-person interview gives you a different perspective on the candidate that a Zoom or phone call will not. You’ll see first-hand their team interactions and professionalism. The candidate will see the office culture and start to picture themselves in the job.
#5 Promote from Within
Give your employees a career track from day one. Promoting from within is a way to give employees a career path and an environment where your workers see the benefits of hard work and longevity. You might think it’s just the money causing people to quit. In fact, the top reason employees quit today is a lack of career growth.
Looking for Talent? Partner with the Nation’s Top Loss Mitigation & Collections Staffing Agency
Workway offers our clients in the banking and mortgage industries experienced loss mitigation and collections recruiters to help you fit the talent you need.
Collections & Loss Mitigation Jobs We Recruit For:
- Collections Specialist
- Loss Mitigation Specialist
- Bankruptcy Specialist
- Collections Call Center Advisor
- Collections Administrative Assistant
- Credit and Collections Manager
- Collections and Billing Associate
If you’re struggling to fill the seats on your bus, contact Workway to see how we can help.