Why qualifications are the last thing I care about in interviews

Why qualifications are the last thing I care about in interviews


What a shocking statement – I hear you say, especially if it’s made by a qualified credit manager!!!

But – there is a reason for my statement, let me explain and hear me out.

Successful credit controllers require two sets of skills:

  • Technical skills like internal procedures, collection methods, query resolution, reporting and IT systems can be learnt and qualifications which are achieved following exams and
  • Soft credit control skills, which are more challenging to learn because they are more personal.

For this reason our interview process always starts with a phone conversation, before we meet a potential credit control candidate.  At ARM the way a person conducts a phone conversation is extremely important and the first impression over the phone is almost more important as the first impression in the face to face interview.

There is a German saying “Der Ton macht die Music” meaning, the tone makes the music and I believe this to be absolutely true during telephone conversations.   Being able to connect with someone when asking for payment can be a delicate undertaking and the tone makes all the difference.

People receiving communication regarding payment of a bill are very sensitive to how they are asked and are quick to dismiss a caller or email if they feel offended.

So which skills make credit controllers successful?

  • Organised but flexible
  • The ability to be objective
  • The ability to solve problems
  • The ability to listen and show empathy
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Good instinct & common sense
  • Strength and tenacity to not give up

In summary a credit control qualification will provide the technical skills and background but the soft-skills above come with experience and personality and not all of them can be easily learnt, to a certain extent they have to come from “within”.

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