How does a collection agency attract top-notch employees?

Company Culture

I am sure you have heard or maybe even said, “all agencies are the same”. The biggest challenge we have is showing people what really does make us different. Perhaps the most important differentiation for us is our people! How do you attract good people to the collection industry? Have you ever thought about the reputation of collection agencies? Positive press is hard to find. Do you think you’ll ever see 60 Minutes do a puff piece about a collection agency helping a creditor become whole after recovering the creditor’s money with a sensitive touch? While we can’t control press coverage, we CAN and DO control how clients’ accounts are worked and we have gone to great lengths to ensure your accounts are serviced by the best people in the industry.

Decades ago, we decided if we were going to be a top-tier provider, that we would need to do something radically different. We would need to find professional, career-oriented people to bolster our collection efforts. This would be no easy task! After all, have you ever met someone who entered college with the dream of becoming a collection professional? To improve our recruiting and hiring practices, we consulted with key corporate clients and deliberately changed the way we do business. The results can be seen to this day!

Professional Business Environment:

When you visit Receivables Control, you will see the staff in business professional attire. It’s not common in business anywhere to see suits and ties these days. Does professional attire matter? Our people tell us it helps them focus while at work every day. It’s our uniform; it reminds us that we are part of a team and that we work for a purpose, to serve our clients.

College Recruiting:

We are actively involved with local colleges and universities when it comes to internships, training, and recruiting. We seek recent graduates wanting an exciting business career. When young graduates visit our offices, they see a neat, clean, professional environment and people that are on a mission. They sit side by side with our staff and see firsthand the work that we do to help our clients. They do all this before they can make a decision to come aboard.


Dressing differently doesn’t change the culture of an organization by itself. Some agencies consider a complaint as a sign a collector is doing their job. We see the world differently! Complaints are negative for everyone. The collector’s stress level is increased, the chance of recovery is decreased, our client’s time is tied up dealing with a negative issue, and in worse case scenarios attorneys are involved.

We decided that causing complaints can be grounds for a collector’s dismissal and that our clients had much better uses of their time than dealing with frustrated, complaining debtors. Clients send us issues to solve. Understanding the root causes of debtors’ issues allows us to prescribe the best solutions in each scenario. A good collector must wear many hats: listener, seller, negotiator, friend, mentor, advisor, and problem solver to name just a few. Many of our clients look for new business opportunities with previously delinquent customers. Using a firm, but fair approach, goes a long way in creating urgency and collecting money without generating complaints.

Career Path:

A key component to developing people is showing them a path for success. Years ago, our advancement plan was based almost entirely on tenure. The longest tenured people had the best positions regardless of their individual performance. We designed a results-based structure that would allow us to measure people on a level playing field and at the same time, ensure that clients’ accounts are serviced by the best people.

  • Collectors within the same peer group receive an equal distribution of clients’ paper by number and value of accounts. They are also distributed based on whether the customer is in business or out of business at the time of placement.
  • Senior Account Advisors collect account balances greater than $10,000.
    Advanced Account Advisors collect balances greater than $5,000.
    Account Advisors collect balances $2,500 to $5,000.
    Associate Account Advisors collect balances up to $2,500.Promotions occur when a collector at any level is consistently out producing their peers and compensation is performance based (commission). The better the collector is, the more he/she earns and the faster they get an opportunity to collect larger accounts that provide an even greater earning potential.

Compensation / Benefits:

A retention program is the final piece to our strategy. In addition to offering excellent insurance benefits and HSA accounts, we believe strongly in helping employees build for the future. Our 401k plan is among the best in the business. In addition to matching employees’ contributions, Receivables Control makes an additional discretionary contribution to employees’ retirement accounts. We don’t stop there! Each month, we provide a bonus opportunity based on achieving high recoveries on our clients’ accounts. Tying compensation to achieving success for our clients is a defining part of our commission structure, benefit plans, and overall culture.

Collections is a “people” business and having the best collectors is crucial to driving the highest recoveries. We’re proud of our staff, they are second to none! The next time you hear that “all agencies” are the same, think about the Receivables Control strategy. It’s the most significant differentiation point there is in an industry known for high turnover. Our senior collection staff averages 20 years’ experience with Receivables Control. That’s confirmation our strategy works and in the long run, that is a win for our clients and our teammates!