Craig’s list is a MONSTER, dot com. Manage Your Own Hiring!
It’s not just about quality, or just about quantity; it’s both. After working in Operations Management for six years, with over 90 people on staff, you start to realize that running a small business takes more than just a few good people on your team. You find yourself wondering where the rest of them are. If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried everything; incentives, benefits, flexible schedules, anything that might attract and retain the talent in your industry. There’s an overwhelming feeling that comes over you when you start to realize your job is to run the business, but you’re starting to feel like your job is to give the business away to get good people.
Well, although there are many different stories and articles about how to retain your top performers without giving away the shop, that’s not the approach we’ll take here. How you compensate your employees is a discussion you should have with them, they know what they want better than I do. I turn to what I believe is the “Achilles Heel” of any small business with high demands, and high turnover; the search. When the company’s bottom line is shared with your boss’s bottom line, or even, your own bottom line; the prices of job posting websites can scare you. To post an ad on Monster.com® can cost upwards of $300.00. That’s not to say that the quality isn’t there, it is. What I’m getting at is, working in an industry with as high a turnover rate as debt collections could cost me someone’s salary in job postings, if I used Monster.com® for all my staffing needs.
Queue up our trusted resource, Craigslist.org®. If you’re involved in the hiring process at a business that doesn’t frequently use the more expensive job searching tools, then this little email address here might give you nightmares; email@example.com. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using Craigslist® as a tool for posting jobs. It’s affordable, the same people on Monster® are usually on Craigslist® too, and almost every company in the industry is using it. Now, even though the title may suggest it, this post isn’t about bashing Craigslist®, Monster®, and other employment opportunity sites. This is about finding top performers who will add value to your business and stick around for the long haul.
The Debt Collection Industry is a lot of things, but one thing it isn’t anymore, is easy. Demands from clients are infinite in quantity and require time, skill, and patience. In an industry that used to be about meeting the daily goal, today, it’s about clearing 70% of the 300 emails we received last night. It’s about reconciliations, account reviews, report development, and if you’re lucky; collections. The demand for skilled administrative individuals is high, and the need for good collectors is even higher. Collection businesses today need self-starters and motivated people who will stay focused on collections, when the rest of the staff is busy handling the 7 client audits this month. Businesses today NEED compliant collectors, administrative staff who know the business, IT Professionals, and all of them skilled in their craft yet willing to learn all about the business.
In an industry with such high demands, it amazes me that there isn’t more consistency; consistency from one client to the next, one firm to the next, or even one month to the next. The bar has been set very high, and the business isn’t about the management and the owners anymore, it’s about the staff.
Managing a group of collectors is no easy task; punctuality and attendance might not even be in the dictionary for them. Come the end of a great collection month, however, and the attendance issues a collector may bring, seem to disappear. There’s a lot to be said about a debt collector. It’s a tough job. You are required to sit at a small desk, in a cubicle farm, inside an office that probably doesn’t have any windows; all while calling absolute strangers all day long and talking to them about one of the most personal aspects of a person’s life; their debts. You’re an enemy before they even know your name. But the great collectors, the ones who turn debtors into customers again, the ones who get “Thank You” cards and flowers, the ones who hit goal month after month and have a passion for the business, those are the people you want on your team.
Being a collector has never been an easy job, but it’s only getting harder. With client demands changing by the minute, new scripts and disclosures being printed every week; being a collector brings the stress and fear of failure to the level of a heart surgeon. If you make a mistake, the call is recorded. If it gets reviewed by; your Team Supervisor, Collection Manager, Attorney, Owner, or the client. Well, if you’re lucky you’ll get off with a serious warning, but most of the time they’ll have to let you go. The mistake could be as simple as saying “our company” instead of a script that required “our agency”. Times are tough for debt collectors and professionals in this industry. Jumping from ship to ship is not as easy as it used to be. There’s a new computer system, a new set of policies, a new phone system with call recording software, new rules, new people, and new clients with different guidelines; it behooves a collector to stay where they fit in.
So, you might ask yourself; how do I find experienced, skilled, knowledgeable and compliant people for my business month after month? Craigslist®? Monster®? Nope. After years of experience in what used to be a “Scoreboard Business”, I set out to develop a tool that will allow companies and candidates alike, a method in which they can pin point their needs and find opportunities where they will not only succeed, but thrive as well. In times like these, with unemployment rates where they are, it’s strange that in an industry like Debt Collection, there’s always a “wanted” sign on the door. Finding good collectors, alone, makes for some of the most difficult aspects of managing a business in the industry. The institutional clients may not be as worried about your collection numbers these days, but whether you like it or not, if you don’t have good collectors, it won’t be the clients you’re worried about, it’ll be paying the bills.
So, how do you find the top performers who can handle the requirements your business has, and also stick around for the long haul? Well, after struggling for so many years trying to employ the right people and retain the top performers, I came to realize that the problem wasn’t me or my business, or you and yours. It’s the tools at our disposal. There just isn’t something out there that focused on the specific needs of my business, which allowed me the luxury of hand picking individuals who were a good fit for my operation. Then was born the idea for Connection2Collections.com, a professional social networking site specific to the debt collection industry that allows individuals to create profiles showcasing their past work experience in the industry, skills they’ve picked up along the way, as well as areas they believe they have become experts in when it comes to industry systems. Not only that, but there is a compliance testing feature called “iComply”, that allows users to take compliance tests using questions focused on Federal Legislation that regulates our industry.
Candidates and companies across the country can use the site to connect with one another, endorse their colleagues and employees, and verify their previous employment. Best of all, the site uses an algorithm based on connections, endorsements, verified employment and compliance test performance to give each user an overall score known as their “2Score”. This allows hiring managers and collection managers the ability to search for individuals who hold specific skill sets and experience using our search tool, the “Collector Connector”. It affords companies the ability to pinpoint their needs and find candidates who can fill positions on their staff. It also allows users the ability to look for jobs posted by companies on our site, all around the country.
The site is free for all industry professionals who want to create a profile and network with colleagues, showcase their skills and experience, and hunt for jobs. Companies will be able to select from two different memberships, a base membership that allows the company to connect with candidates and current and former employees, as well as post one job posting on their profile page which will be searchable by all users on our site. We also have a full membership that includes full access to the “Collector Connector” tool, a custom search feature that allows a company to search for individuals who meet specific criteria to meet the company’s needs. All the same access and functionality of the base membership, but with the ability to utilize the “do it yourself headhunting tool”, the CollectorConnector, as well as post and sponsor up to three job postings a month.
With an industry that requires excellence, can you afford to review over 200 resume submissions from Craigslist®, or pay for a $300+ ad on Monster® everytime you need a new collector or staff member? We offer the tools that will give you access to the best in the industry, and the ability to vet them yourself before bringing them in for an interview. It’s our mission to give you the ability to build a team that will perform, and best of all, someone who will stick around.
So if you can find the time today, stop on by the site and create a profile, see what we’ve put together just for our industry. We hope you enjoy it, and we hope to build a long lasting relationship with you all. We know the industry, and we want to help each and every one of you succeed.