Staffing

Interview Process

Traditional one-on-one interviews can be inconsistent indicators of performance as they rely on an individual’s interpretation of the candidate. The process can be further skewed by countless career sites offering sure fire ways to “ace” an interview. However, a great interview does not guarantee success in a position.

Using a panel interview will hopefully dilute personal bias and help you determine not only whether the applicant has the necessary skills but also the temperament and personality you desire. Including a representative from the largest department you service, a top performer from your workgroup, and a delegate from Human Resources will ensure a variety of observations are considered.

Review the resumes ahead of time and jot down any questions you have. Your opening questions should clarify any points of concern from the individual’s resume. However, it’s important that the interview process is consistent from applicant to applicant. To achieve a fair comparison between candidates, we recommend compiling a list of universal interview questions ahead of time.

A collector’s temperament and personality are important considerations. Remember you’re looking for someone who can work in a team, is competitive and goal-oriented, ethical, and persistent. Make an effort to craft your interview questions to solicit behavioral information as well as job knowledge. Your Human Resources department can help you design your questions and the internet is absolutely overflowing with sites offering a range of behavioral-based interview questions. Here are a few to give you some ideas:

  • What do you like/dislike about collections?
  • What are your weaknesses related to collecting?
  • Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a coworker/manager?  How did you handle the situation?  What, if anything, would you do differently?
  • What is your typical method of dealing with conflict or confrontation within a team?
  • Describe a situation in which you were able to persuade someone to see things your way.
  • Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).

For more behavioral based interview questions, please visit our members only section.

Role play and scenario-based questions can help you evaluate basic job knowledge. Offer the candidate various, real-life situations to see how they listen, interpret, and problem solve. Experienced collectors should have no problem answering the questions or participating in a role play scenario. For instance:

  • A debtor that has not paid in some time suddenly offers you a post-dated check for $3,500. What do you need to know?
  • A debtor claims the debt is included in a bankruptcy?  What information do you need?
  • The debt is being disputed by the debtor?  What should you ask?

For more role play scenarios, please visit our members only section.

All interview questions should be open ended, requiring an answer other than “Yes” or “No.”   Keeping the candidate talking gives you valuable insight into their communication skills and styles, and allows you to imagine how they might interact with customers, other departments and their coworkers.

It has also been found it is productive to have the candidate explain their previous job in detail. Have the candidate speak in their own words and try to explain a process you are not familiar with. It will be a good testament on how they will attempt to speak to the debtor when trying to explain a difficult process, such as tax assessment questions.


If your government has a interview question or role play scenario that it would like to share with other governments, please attach it to an e-mail and send it to info@govcollect.org. With your submission, please let us know:

  • What is the name of your organization?
  • What types of debts do you collect?
  • How many collectors does your organization employ?
  • What interview questions or role play scenarios do you use?
  • What do you think makes them successful?

We use the requested information to assist our users in determining the submission’s potential value to their organization. 

NOTE: Please be aware that your submission is posted on our site with the intention that all or part of the document will be copied and used by other agencies. Please do not submit any proprietary documents that cannot be shared amongst our users.