Administration Employers

How to Hire a Great Receptionist in 5 Steps

Hello, how may I help you? They may be just six small words, but every customer knows that they can make a big difference. As the initial point of entry for many businesses, a receptionist or front desk person asks this important question to every client (or potential client) as well as colleague, which helps to set the workplace atmosphere and environment.

When hiring for front desk positions, you’ll have no problem attracting resumes. But, what makes the ideal receptionist? They should not only be personable and skilled, but also an excellent representative of your company or brand. This is easier said than done, but thankfully, we’ve compiled a five-step plan to help you narrow your candidate pool and make hiring the best receptionist a breeze. Just follow the steps below.


1. Describe Your Dream Candidate First

Before you begin interviewing, list all the qualities and criteria that you’d like your future receptionist to have. It may help to order or label them as “must have” or “nice to have.” Keep this guide handy as you sort through resumes and during interviews — you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can immediately eliminate candidates in this process.


2. Be Impressed by First Impressions

Most of the time, giving people a second chance is warranted. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for front desk workers. Because they are responsible for the first (or only) interaction that your client has with your business, it’s imperative that front desk employees make a positive first impression. The best way to test an employee’s people skills is to engage them first hand.

During your phone and in-person interviews, pay attention to how they greet you and interact with you. Are they personable? Are they patient? How do you feel in their presence? Pay attention to how they make you feel. Chances are your customers will feel the same way.


3. Really Test Their Technical Chops

Just because one claims he is a wiz with Microsoft Excel on his resume does not mean it is always the case. The only way to truly find out is to test their abilities in person. Administer a skills test to ensure that a candidate can confidently and successfully perform the technical aspects of the job. If possible, be present while they take the test.


4. Role-play Scenarios

Since communication is key in the workplace, your receptionist needs to be both a clear speaker and attentive listener. She should be able to convey the voice of the customer as well as company policy — all in a concise, polite, and efficient manner. How do you find someone who can do this effectively? Have them show you. Act out common situations in your workplace, ranging from client-facing interactions to staff scenarios to see how your receptionist handles herself in these situations.


5. Learn How to Say Thank You

Remember, your receptionist deals with your staff and clients all day, and if she is stressed or in a bad mood, it can easily impact your customers’ and the rest of your team’s moods, too. That’s why it is important that you recognize her contributions and show her appreciation when she deserves it. Find out what motivates your candidate to succeed and offer those incentives for a job well done.

Lastly, be sure to regularly evaluate your receptionist’s performance and establish an open feedback loop, so she feels empowered to offer feedback as well. If you’ve hired the right person, she will want to help your organization run smoother, improve life for the rest of the staff as well as the clients. In other words, the ideal receptionist will know exactly how to help you.