What are your standard, go-to questions when questioning a credit candidate?
Like so many key positions in a company, the role of Credit Professional can be a challenging one to fill.
People don’t always measure up to the picture their resume portrays. Someone who has extensive experience in accounting, for instance, may pass themselves off as a Credit Manager or at the least, able to step into that role. However, a good number cruncher does not a Credit Manager make. For this reason, asking the right questions is important.
Standard, basic questions like education and work history are found on the resume’ itself. So unless something is missing that you want to know, don’t waste your time with what you already have in front of you.
Be specific. We like questions like:
- Are you able to analyze cash flow and liquidity reports?
- Are you able to tell a customer, “No” without losing them entirely?
- Have you ever faced a tough credit decision that the sales team disagreed with?
- How would you discuss a credit hold situation with a valued customer?
- What will your month-end process be? Describe the timing of each step. Who in your department will be responsible for the specific tasks in each step?
- If a customer wants to go over your head to get around the limitations you’ve set, how will you manage that customer?
- What tasks do you know you will delegate to someone else and why?
These are just a few specific questions that can open a door to good insight.
Of course, the candidate with knowledge of your industry puts them ahead of the pack. For this reason, creating several credit and collection scenarios specific to your industry would be useful. Try a “How would you handle this [____],” kind of question. Insert a real life scenario you’ve encountered. Leave out the names of course, but set up the situation as it happened to you.
Listen carefully. Do they think like a credit manager? Have they had enough experience to handle those kinds of real world scenarios?
Personality is a big deal. Credit managers are often unpopular. They handle tricky situations and difficult circumstances that put them in the role of the ‘bad guy’ sometimes. If hurt feelings come easily, they’re probably not a good fit.
Hiring the right candidate is about finding that perfect combo of skills, experience, industry knowledge (or ability to quickly learn it) and personality.