Employee Spotlight: Jess, Collections Advisor
Jess joined Hilton-Baird Collection Services in October 2022. She had previously worked for an invoice finance arm of a bank. With this experience behind her she was keen to progress to a more varied role and take her career forward.
Where did you start your career and what was your path to Hilton-Baird?
So, I originally started working in a similar sector – I worked for a bank in the mid markets invoice discounting team. I really enjoyed the role and realised quite quickly into it that it was something that I was quite good at. My role was focussed on managing the risk.
I was approached by a recruiter who explained the collections advisor role at Hilton-Baird and, with my background, it appeared to be a good fit as my skills were very transferable. I did my own research and decided it looked like a great opportunity and haven’t looked back.
What do you enjoy about working for a DCA?
I like there’s more variety than my previous role. Working with the Hilton Baird team is really enjoyable. All the staff are lovely and the directors are professional, but they are also quite personable in their approach and I really like that, and the company as a whole.
I enjoy the role because it is quite diverse. You work with a wide range of people, internally and externally – different banks, funders, teams and areas that you interact with. I enjoy speaking to different people and being able to form relationships with debtors too.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of your role?
I think the most rewarding part is when you put in a lot of effort and work into an account and it finally gets completed and cleared off, whether that be the whole instruction or specific debtor accounts, because there’s often lots of time spent going back and forth and occasionally having to have some challenging conversations. So, when you do get it finalised and it’s successful for the client, it does feel very rewarding.
There are set processes and ways to go about doing the work, but sometimes we have to think outside the box when speaking to people to get a successful conclusion. So, you get the opportunity to really use your brain, which is something that I enjoy. You’re not just following a tick list, you do have to think for yourself which keeps it really interesting.
Would you say you prefer working alone or within a team?
I’d say it probably depends on my mood. I like both. I like working in a team because I like collaborating. I find it beneficial to get people’s ideas, feedback, see how they work and of course, it is more fun and enjoyable when you’ve got a good team around and people there to help and support you. But I do also enjoy working on my own. You know, when you can focus fully on a task and zone out everything else and just power through. So yeah, both I guess.
What does your hybrid working pattern look like?
I normally come into the Southampton office once a week and work at home the rest of the week. However, I do chat with the team every day so, although I don’t see everyone in the flesh daily, I am constantly like talking to people about work and the more sociable stuff too.
What would you say the best part of hybrid working is?
Probably being able to be work in your comfies! Not having to do the commute is a big bonus too. It’s a nice balance of having relaxed time at home but also then getting that time to go into the office and socialise, bounce ideas off each other, get out and do something different. I like that we don’t have to be in the office every day but also that you don’t have to at home every day – the best of both worlds really.
What would you say is a typical day for you?
My day starts with talking with the team – sometimes that involves chatting about how we are, our evenings, someone’s funny dog walk or flooded garden, which is always fun. I then do an hour to an hour and a half of admin in the morning, which entails emails, responding to people, actioning things that need to be done etc. We normally receive a message from our managers letting us know what different things need to be prioritised for reports and deadlines which I then use to help me plan out how my day will go. I’ll then download a report of the work that needs to be done, and I’ll filter it around based on what needs to be prioritised first, what can wait for a little bit longer. The majority of my day will then be spent going through the accounts that I have, sorting out remits and disputes and confirming the statuses and so on. And then around half four or five, I’ll go back to do admin. I get quite a lot of emails, so I’ll go through and try to action as many as I can before I finish for the day.
Is the social aspect of work important to you?
Yes, I think having friends that you work with is so important – being part of something is good for morale. I enjoy having people there that can boost me through the day, having someone that I feel comfortable talking to that I can go to when I need help or anything like that. I think it’s massively important and socialising with the team is a big way towards building those relationships.
We keep in touch via a team-wide Teams chat which everyone goes into and then obviously people have separate chats too which helps us all both professionally and personally.
Where do you see your career progressing? Do you have any career goals?
I would like to progress within the company. I initially wasn’t sure where I could go but I spoke to my managers and I think they’re very good at helping you realise what your strengths are and then questioning you to find out what it is that you actually enjoy doing. This really helped me to think about the future. I’d like to spend some time with two of the teams within the business; new billings and audit & survey as they’re both analytical which I enjoy and am good at. I love delving into numbers so hopefully in the future I will either take more responsibility by moving between or moving across altogether.
It’s really nice to feel that there is a path within the company and also that the managers are invested in listening and understanding your skill set.
What makes you strive to be the best that you can be in your role?
I mean, I enjoy the role, so that’s always going to make me want to work harder. And I am a perfectionist when it comes to this kind of stuff, so both of those together push me to work as hard as I can to make sure that I can have pride in my work. I don’t want to spend a lot of time doing something and have someone point out that it was done poorly or that it’s not very good. So, I everything that I do will always be done to the best of my ability.
What would you say to someone about why they should join the team?
Hilton Baird is such a lovely company to work for. It’s not a massive company, which means that people don’t feel like a just a number in a seat, you feel like a valued person in the company.
Although it is, professional, the team and the directors and the managers are so friendly and everyone just makes you feel really involved. And I also think it’s good to know that the managers will identify your strengths and they will use them. They make you realise what you’re good at and they utilise it, which I think is quite empowering to know they’re using your skills.
The day is structured, but also there are so many different tasks that pop up that not one day is the same. There’s so much opportunity to spice up your day.
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