Receptionist Interview Questions

Businessman giving receptionist his credit card
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At many organizations, receptionists are the face of the company. Every new client, job applicants, employee, or third-party vendor will pass by or check in with a receptionist, so employers are eager to find someone who will be responsible, friendly, and calm. 

Receptionist Skills to Focus on During an Interview

Receptionists must have strong organizational and communication skills, including soft skills like customer service, multitasking, and the ability to make quick judgment calls.

Because of the ever-increasing technological advancements in the workplace, receptionists also must certain technical skills. You should have experience using phone systems and office machines like printers, copiers, scanners and fax machines (yes, still), in addition to computer applications like MS Office and industry-specific software. 

Receptionist Interview Questions

Review a list of frequently asked questions for receptionists.

1. What do you know about this company and our services?

Being familiar with your prospective employer shows respect and interest on your part. Do your homework before the interview.

2. What motivates you to do reception and administrative work?

This is likely a cultural or character-focused question. Make your answer tactful, but honest.

3. What do you do to keep up in a fast-paced work environment?

Your interviewer wants to be sure that you can keep up. How you do it is likely irrelevant, but you should have a clear and confident answer ready.

4. How do you keep your daily schedule organized?

Likewise, how you organize your day is not really the point, the point is to demonstrate that you are well-organized and will complete all your duties in a competent and timely manner.

5. What messaging system and calendar programs do you use?

Your interviewer may want to know whether you are familiar with your prospective employer’s system, but the point of the question may also be to assess your knowledge of your field. If you are familiar with several different programs and can intelligently explain your preferences, you will demonstrate a broad expertise and a strong understanding of your field. You may also be asked about other technical aspects of receptionist work, or your computer literacy in general.

6. What role does a receptionist play in a customer’s first impression of an organization?

Your interviewer needs to be sure that you understand the position you are applying for, but this question may also be cultural, touching on your philosophy of work.

7. How did you add value to your last company?

Go ahead and talk about intangible benefits - if everyone said you brightened the whole office atmosphere, say so. But if at all possible, come equipped with numbers as well. Did you save your employer money? Increase sales? If so, how much money was involved?

8. Tell me about a time you had to deal with an angry customer or guest, either on the phone or in person. How did you handle the situation?

This is one of several questions you may be asked involving how you handle stressful and difficult conditions. You could also be asked how you responded to criminal or unethical activity. Be honest. Don’t exaggerate and also don't sell yourself short.

9. Are you willing to work overtime?

If you are not willing to work overtime, say so. If you are willing to work overtime but only within certain limits, say that as well. Yes, there are companies where not working overtime will cost you the job, but making a commitment you cannot keep or sacrificing your welfare or that of your family for your job is not an acceptable option. You need a job that matches your availability.

10. Have you worked as a receptionist before?

11. How many employees worked in your last office?

12. How many people on average did you interact with on a daily basis at your last job?

13. Describe your previous duties as an administrative assistant, secretary, or receptionist.

14. Have you needed to handle sensitive or confidential tasks in the past? Were you comfortable handling these tasks?

15. How do you prioritize calls, clients, deliveries, and other issues that must be addressed immediately?

16. How do you keep your daily schedule organized?

17. Tell me about a time that you had to multitask at work.

18. How strong are you computer skills?

19. What contributions did you make by way of increased revenues, reduced costs, and saved time?

20. What is your typing speed, and what is your average error level?

21. Tell me about your customer service experience.

22. What type of security protocol did you follow at your last job?

23. What was the procedure for accepting deliveries? Personal packages?

24. Tell me about a time where you were pressured to share confidential or private information.

25. Tell me about a time that you went above and beyond at a previous job.

How to Make the Best Impression

A receptionist position may be considered entry level, but it can also be the first step up the corporate ladder. A prospective employer will be drawn to a confident, self-assured person. Often you will be the first person their clients or patients will meet when walking into the office for the first time.

Be sure your first impression is the best it can be. Here’s how to prepare for an interview.

Along with a standout resume, take the time to dress the part when you interview. If you get the job, you’re going to be the frontline person and it’s important to show the employer your professional image.

If you aren’t sure about what to wear to your interview, check out these tips on how to dress for an interview.

If both your resume and your professional attire are on point, and you are prepared to answer likely questions, you will be successful in obtaining the position you are interviewing for.