What questions to ask when hiring in the credit department

6 Dec

What are your standard, go-to questions when questioning a credit candidate?

Finding a great credit professional can be a challenge. They both must understand the business and financial aspect, but also be personable and work well with customers. Someone with an accounting background may be great with numbers, but may not be personable enough to handle the customer-facing side.

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?

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.

Another important thing to consider is how they sound when they answer the question. Do they sound like someone you would want to buy something from? Do they articulate and explain themselves well?

A great credit manager can be hard to find, but asking the right questions can help you narrow down your search and hopefully hire the right person.

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