Tips to Hire The Best Candidates, Even in a Tough Job Market

Jun 14, 2021

It might not seem like much until you sit down and actually quantify it, but hiring a job applicant who is not a good fit for your company can be a very costly mistake. Not just in the money that you spend on screening, training, and compensating the employee, but the money it takes to screen, hire, and train that employee’s replacement. On top of that are the intangible costs, like decreased customer service, lower recovery rates, and the impact that a bad employee has on a company’s morale. These are all reasons why it is so important to develop a screening process that identifies the candidates who are going to be the best fit for your company. And while that may seem like a luxury in today’s job market, compromise is never a word that should enter your vocabulary when considering an applicant for a job with your company, noted a panel of experts who participated in a webinar recently that was sponsored by Peak Revenue Learning.

Compromising, and hiring someone who might not be the best fit or the best candidate, is just going to increase your turnover rate, said Mike DeCarpio, a consultant who runs Prompt Pay Consulting, during the webinar. On top of that, you’re putting someone you might not totally trust on the phone to work accounts where someone might be likely to pay a debt. And the last thing you want to do is turn a paying consumer into a non-paying one.

“It’s not just about filling a seat,” said Xavier Nelson with Greenberg, Grant and Richards. “Ultimately, it is about compliance as well as it is about the company and the culture of your company and your existing staff. We want people to grow and succeed with us. I don’t want to see people going in and out of the door.”

To that end, it is important for collection agencies to build hiring and screening programs that identify the skills and character traits that they are looking for in order to maximize their chances of hiring the right candidates. The webinar featured experts from Wonderlic and People Decisions, which offer tools to help identify character traits and aptitude during the screening process. One thing that Rick Faulk from People Decisions has done in the past is lay out all the difficult components of being a collector during an interview, as a way of having candidates self-select themselves for the position or not. By showing them how challenging the job can be at times, the objective is to identify people who believe they have the skills necessary to succeed and aren’t just in the job for the money or because they don’t fully understand what it entails.

Another way to have individuals self-select during the screening process is by using knockout questions, such as whether the person has specific salary requirements, or meets minimum education requirements.

In adapting to the current labor market, while it’s important not to compromise on hiring standards, it is acceptable to hire someone on the spot if you feel like the person is a good fit and has met all the criteria for being hired.

One last point to consider is that a company with no turnover is not always a good thing, noted Jessica Haig from Wonderlic. “Keeping the wrong person in a role for a long time can be as damaging as hiring a new person who’s wrong, too,” she said. “Those people who are like narrowly getting by, or maybe just flying under the radar and not performing could be just as toxic as bringing in someone new, who’s toxic as well, so I think there is some degree of turnover that may be a little healthy as sad as that is.”