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The Credit Control Interview
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Interview Tips for Credit Controllers

Credit controllers are a rare breed. The very best candidates have confident personalities, commercial acumen, technical ability, great communication skills and a bit of solid work experience.

Our advice is specifically tailored for credit controllers, and is intended to stimulate the kind of thinking that will help you win at interview. Employers will be keen to learn about your professional qualifications or technical abilities. They will want to know what, exactly, the job of credit controller entails at your current employer (since it can vary considerably). And they will want to know about the types of customer or markets you have experience with, to see if there is compatibility.

We have split possible interview questions into one of two broad categories:

Technical skills and Professional Qualifications

Your Current Employer, Your Role and Your Customers

 

 

Technical skills and Professional Qualifications

The Institute of Credit Management (ICM) qualification is highly respected, and is recommended for all newcomers to credit control who are serious about developing a career in credit management.

Questions to consider:

What were your motivations for taking on these studies?
What are you learning, and how is this adding to your skills and ability as a credit controller?
Once you qualify, how do you see your career progressing?

It is worth stressing that there are many successful credit controllers, and even senior credit managers, who have never taken the ICM qualification. By experience, these people have developed many of the skills that are required for effective credit management.

However, this qualification may be important to the prospective employer, so please be prepared to talk about it. If you would be interested in studying again, be sure to tell them. If you feel that pursuing the qualification could lack relevance in view of your existing experience and skills, be prepared to elaborate.

Some technical skills, experiences and credit control techniques to talk about:

  • Credit procedures
  • Collection methods
  • Telephone techniques
  • Ledger management
  • Calculating the DSO / average debtor days
  • Cash flow forecasting
  • Analysing the aged debt
  • Complaints / query resolution techniques
  • Visiting customers, etc...
  • Reporting

This is not a comprehensive list. You will impress at interview if you can demonstrate your knowledge of any relevant skills or techniques, backed up by real life examples from your own work experience.

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Your Current Employer, Your Role and Your Customers

The range of responsibilities and daily tasks of a credit controller can vary widely between companies and between industries. You need to prepare well so that you can talk about your current employer, the nature of the business and the markets it serves. You also need to explain how the credit control function fits into the overall structure of the business. In this way, you will enable your prospective employer to draw any parallels, which it is hoped, will demonstrate that your experience is relevant.

Some questions to prepare for:

  • What industry sector is your current (or previous) employer in?
  • What kind of business is it? (B2B, B2C, Manufacturing, Service, Distribution, Media, etc…)
  • What is the annual company turnover?
  • What types of customer do you have? (by industry sector and business size)
  • How many accounts are there on the sales ledger?
  • How many invoices are raised on the sales ledger in an average month?
  • How is the ledger divided, and how many accounts are you responsible for?
  • How many accounts do you service in a typical week/month, and what is their value?
  • Is it high volume/low value, low volume/ high value, or somewhere in between?
  • Do you know what the Day Sales Outstanding (DSO) figure is?
  • Have you had any personal success in reducing the average debtor days?
  • Is the credit control approach proactive or reactive? What is done about very aged debt?
  • How is the credit control department structured? How do you interact with your colleagues?
  • What regular contact do you have with other departments e.g. sales?
  • What regular contact do you have with people outside the business?
  • What is your involvement in setting up new accounts on the system – and how is it done?
  • Do you have responsibility for credit checking, or for setting credit limits?
  • How do you deal with problematic customers? How do you manage queries or resolve disputes?
  • How do you check trade references?
  • What collection methods do you use? E.g. letters, emails, faxes, phone calls, visits, etc…
  • What computer systems have you had experience of using for credit control?
  • How is your performance assessed, and how do you compare to others in achieving your targets?
  • If you are paid performance related bonuses, how is it worked out, and how much do you earn?
  • What do you enjoy most about credit control, and what are your proudest achievements?

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