How to Test for the Qualities of an Excellent Accounts Receivable Employee

June 26, 2019
In our last blog, we reviewed the qualities that make an excellent Accounts Receivable employee. In this post, we will share tips on how to gauge the qualities of the best Accounts Receivable employee candidates, in order to hire the right person for the job.

What Qualities Should You Look for in an Accounts Receivable Employee Interview?

As a refresher, some of the most important skills in your AR department include:
  • Excellent accounting skills
  • Superior attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • Willingness to learn
  • Technology skills

A Clear Job Description

Regardless of how frequently you hire for AR professionals, a thorough review and update of the job description is an essential starting point. Your processes and needs may have changed since you last filled the same position. Did you update your computer system or software package? Did another employee take on tasks that now don’t need to be taken care of by the new accounts receivable candidate? Ensure that the job description includes all updated technical skills required, as well as any non-technical skills, salary range, peripheral requirements and a description of your organizational culture.

Use a Skills Test

A tailored skills test that includes basic tasks which Accounts Receivable employees will need to complete in your office is a great way to weed out the best candidates for the job. Testing for skills, in some cases, can even occur before you start looking through resumes and referrals. Some of the best staffing search firms include online pre-employment skills tests that test candidates using job simulations. Not using a staffing firm? Even many online job posting sites now offer the option to include custom questions in the application process. Getting answers specific to your needs helps narrow the candidate pool. If you can add online skills testing prior to bringing in candidates for interviews, this can reduce your time commitment in the hiring process. Once you bring someone in for an interview, you can even do additional skills testing on site. Set up a skills test specific to your organization’s needs. Have the account receivable department’s candidates take this test either at the beginning or at the end of your in-house interview. Skills tests are typically a much more accurate way of gauging the true skill level of the applicant. In accounting, small errors can add up to serious problems. Even if someone claims to have four years of experience, how much does that experience matter if they cannot balance a simple example account? Some companies that use skills tests claim they reduce recruiter time by up to 75%, depending on the position. As with any business, time equals money, and the time your employees and recruiters spend sorting through unqualified candidates is money out of your pocket.

Phone or Video Interview

Another strategy that saves your HR team and hiring managers time in selecting a candidate is to perform phone or video interviews before bringing a candidate in for an in-person interview. These types of interviews allow you to gauge punctuality, communication skills and cultural fit and more.  They also save time if the candidate is late or a no-show or doesn’t, since the interruption of your hiring team’s day is minimal if they never had to leave their desk.

Asking the Right Interview Questions

It is essential to focus on the most important questions for the role in your Accounts Receivable employee interview process, whether they are on the skills test, over the phone or included in your application. What types of questions should you ask?
  • Basic Questions About Financial Skills: Multiple choice questions reviewing basic accounting skills are a great idea.
  • Open-Ended Questions About Financial Skills: You can also ask open-ended questions to see what process an employee would use to complete a task. For example, how would the applicant design and set up an internal control system for processing client invoices? Open questions give you a glimpse into the experience and knowledge of the candidate and let them showcase their expertise.
  • Questions About Problem-Solving Skills: Questions that are thought-provoking will really stretch the candidate and let you see how prepared they are. While many answers can be “right answers,” you want to look for a candidate who would not give unrealistic suggestions, delegate it to someone else or who can’t solve the problem.
  • Research-Based Questions: Accountants and Accounts Receivable employees regularly need to do research to come up with an accurate answer to a question. Put those skills to the test by asking what a candidate would use to complete a basic report, like a financial health report for a board meeting.
  • Communication Skill Questions: Finally, you should make sure that your candidates can communicate effectively. Ask them to prepare a brief (100-150 word) mock summary for a financial report based on sample cash flow statements, income statements and/or balance sheets that are provided. What do they come up with?

Partner with Alacrity Collections, a Professional Collections Agency

While you are searching for a new accounts receivable employee, don’t let those overdue accounts receivable pile up. Alacrity Collections can help increase your cash flow while you are looking for that perfect addition to your team. We are proud to be a leader in debt collections. Alacrity’s team achieves great results that are over twice the national average and treat all of our customers with dignity and respect. We work tirelessly to protect your brand and improve your net returns. To learn more about our services and get in touch, please call us at 1-800-752-9663 or set up a phone appointment directly on our representative’s calendar via this link: www.calendly.com/hheemann.  

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