4 steps to build an exceptional credit team
An effective credit control function is vital to the success of any business, so finding professionals who can excel in this role should be a high priority.
Victoria Stanton, consultant at Robert Walters, specialises in sourcing high calibre credit control professionals for our clients across a range of industries.
She shares her advice for finance managers looking to build or expand their credit control team below.
Identifying the skills that will help a credit team to succeed can be challenging, as can attracting and retaining top talent.
By developing a clear profile of the skills you need and taking a dynamic approach to sourcing and identifying candidates, credit managers can place themselves in the strongest possible position to build a first class team.
What’s your type?
The ability to succeed in credit control often hinges on whether or not the candidate is the right personality fit for the role and the organisation.
For hiring managers, this means that the first step when recruiting is to identify the personality type that will thrive in their environment. Consider the kind of clients you work with and the wider culture of the organisation.
Some businesses will look to build a relaxed atmosphere, while others adopt a more formal culture. Determine the kind of team culture that you want to build and what kind of personalities will help you to build it.
Find your motivation
The type of personality you want to look for in your credit control team will impact on how you want to motivate and manage them. As a target driven business, bonus or commission systems can be a powerful tool to drive performance.
Additionally, if you are looking to build a sense of collaboration and teamwork within your credit function, consider setting goals for the entire team as well as individual KPIs.
Cast a wide net
As mentioned above, success in credit control often owes more to personality and attitude than it does to direct experience within the industry.
While the specific personal qualities you are looking for may vary, the confidence, dedication and resilience which are common to all successful credit control professionals can often be found in other fields.
Consider professionals with a background in sales, customer service and other roles where being goal focused and developing strong stakeholder management skills are essential.
In some cases, a candidate with a background in retail may be a better fit for a credit position than finance or accountancy professional.
Think outside the box
Many traditional interview techniques aim to identify technical skills needed to succeed in a professional role. While these can still offer value, they may not give you the insights you need into the personality of candidates.
For more junior roles, such as professionals transferring from another industry into credit control, competency questions designed to identify their ability to adapt to adverse situations can offer valuable insights.
Dealing with challenging creditors requires credit professionals who can balance tact with self-confidence and determination – asking candidates for examples of when they effectively dealt with a challenging customer or client, regardless of the industry, can help identify these qualities.
For more senior professionals such as credit managers who have experience in the field, the most valuable insights can be gained by seeing how they took an innovative approach to improve their credit control function.
Examples such as developing new internal processes or achieving year-on-year increases in cash obtained from clients can highlight the most outstanding professionals.