5 Top Skills to Look for in a Receptionist

5 Top Skills to Look for in a Receptionist

A receptionist is a key role for any business. It is the first person a client will speak to when calling or meet when coming into the office, and subsequently, the receptionist helps to create that all-important first impression. Although often it is a junior role, there are several important skills to look out for when hiring a receptionist, some of which we outline in this article below.

What Does a Receptionist Do?

The core duties of any reception role include:

  • Meeting and greeting visitors to the office
  • Answering phone calls in a timely fashion with a professional telephone manner
  • Overseeing meeting room bookings
  • Arranging catering for meetings and events
  • Providing refreshments for guests

However, the role can also include more administrative tasks such as:

  • Booking travel
  • Managing expenses
  • Diary management
  • Assisting the Office or Facilities Manager
  • Liaising with suppliers
  • Managing an email inbox or social media

View our receptionist job description template here for you to use.

Top Receptionist Skills to Look For

Depending on the requirements of your specific business and whether the receptionist is based alone, or as part of a front of house team, the job description can vary hugely from one company to the next. There are many important skills to look out for when hiring a good receptionist.

1. Well presented & well-spoken

A receptionist is a client facing role. It is the first person any visitor will meet when entering your office or speak to if they are calling in. Therefore, it is important that the receptionist appropriately reflects your business.

In a corporate environment, some receptionists wear a uniform, especially if there are a number who work together to ensure they look polished and aligned. In a more creative set-up, this may not be so important, but having someone who sounds professional when anyone calls in and is an active listener, is helpful. It is easy to see how a candidate presents themselves, whether you meet them via video call or face to face, and their telephone manner can also be quickly assessed by an initial call.

Most receptionists will come with some customer-facing experience, even if this is their first job as a receptionist. This doesn’t necessarily need to be from an office environment and could include retail or hospitality experience which would demonstrate they are used to providing customer service and are comfortable being client-facing.

2. Ability to multitask

A receptionist role can be a busy one, dealing with multiple people coming in and out of an office and all requiring attention. By being organised, a receptionist will be able to juggle the demands of their role more efficiently and ensure that the front of house operation runs smoothly.

There are several ways to assess this skill when interviewing a candidate but competency-based questioning can be a good tool to give you relevant examples of when the candidate has had to use their organisational skills in previous roles or situations. For example, the candidate should be able to provide you with a scenario of when they have had to handle multiple tasks, prioritising them to ensure they are completed in a timely fashion. A receptionist who has worked in a busy role previously should be able to give you plenty of examples - and references can also help to validate this.

3. Good attention to detail

When juggling varied responsibilities, good attention to detail will ensure nothing gets missed and the work is performed to a high standard. When you have returning guests, it can be a lovely touch if the receptionist remembers their names or how they like their tea or coffee - it is these extra details that make such a difference to providing first-class customer service.

In addition to this, with basic admin tasks such as managing expenses or booking travel, having good attention to detail will ensure processes are followed correctly and no one is booked on the wrong flight! Testing can be a quick and simple way to assess this skill, whether this is an error checking task or doing an example itinerary, it will show you how the candidate thinks and how accurate they might be in the role.

4. Team player

A receptionist often assists the business as a whole and has exposure to the most senior and junior staff members, so having a team player with a good attitude is important. It is not always easy to assess this skill but discussing previous reasons for leaving roles can tell you a lot about a person’s motivations and interpersonal skills.

Another important question to ask is about projects the candidate has taken part in previously where they had to work as part of a team, whether this is assisting others or working in a group to execute a task. Perhaps the receptionist has helped to arrange office events in their previous roles or, outside of the office, they are part of a sports team or complete voluntary work. All of this will help to build a picture of the type of candidate you are meeting and how they would work with others, not least their communication skills.

5. Friendly personality

Above all, a friendly and welcoming personality is going to be vital to the success of any receptionist role. With the focus of the role being the first point of contact, a smiley and welcoming personality sitting at the front desk is always going to be advantageous. You should be able to quickly gauge someone’s personality when you meet them, be it face to face or via video call, and this is a soft skill that will naturally shine through for some candidates, whereas others may have to work at it. With the reception area often a hive of activity, having a friendly person manning the desk will help to keep the culture in the office, a positive one.

Oriel Partners Can Help You to Find the Perfect Receptionist!

If you are looking for a super receptionist to join your business, we would love to help. Oriel Partners work on temporary, contract and permanent reception roles across all industry sectors and have a number of candidates already registered who are looking to find their next role.

Whether you are looking for a first jobber looking to start their London career or a seasoned receptionist with previous experience, we would love to help. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements today.

Posted on Nov 05, 2021

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