Receptionist interview questions | reed.co.uk
Want to make a great impression at your next interview?
The ability to stay calm and to keep a clear head under pressure is just one of the qualities that makes a great receptionist. Luckily, these skills also come in handy in interviews, helping to show that you’ll be a great asset to the company.
We’ve already covered how to become a Receptionist, but here are five receptionist interview questions you may be asked – and our top tips on how to answer them:
Receptionist interview questions
What do you enjoy about working as a receptionist?
Receptionists are often the first point of contact for a company, and any potential employer will want to know that you’ll make a great first impression. With this question, the employer wants to understand how you interact with people and help people feel at ease. Something that applies to your colleagues as much as it does to any potential visitors or customers.
To help demonstrate this, focus your answer on how your soft skills help you to communicate with people and help them to relax and feel welcome. And why that is one of the parts of the role you most enjoy.
Right answer: ‘I have a friendly and outgoing personality and thrive off the energy of others. This is one of the aspects of working as a receptionist that I love, and you’ll always see me smiling. Another part of being a receptionist that I gain great pleasure from is helping people. I make it my mission for people to feel welcomed, relaxed and aware that I’m here to help them.’
Wrong answer: ‘Everything.’
How do you deal with a person who is being rude or aggressive?
In a public-facing job, there are going to be times when you’ll have to deal with people who feel aggrieved towards the company, for whatever reason. Showing that you can manage situations like this will demonstrate your communication and people management skills.
Base your answer on a past experience. Use the STAR method to explain what the problem was, what you did to resolve the situation and what the outcome was.
Right answer: ‘The majority of people I come into contact with are pleasant, but you do occasionally come across someone who is upset or angry. For example, I once took a call from a lady whose delivery was delayed. She was agitated and talking about how badly she was being treated. I asked her to calmly explain the problem and give me the name(s) of the person who she had dealt with previously. I explained I would look into the situation and call her back in two hours with an update. The lady calmed down and felt assured knowing someone was looking into the matter for her.’
Wrong answer: ‘Does hanging up on them count?‘
Are you available to work evenings?
Service industry jobs sometimes require people to work outside of normal office hours. Legitimate reasons for this could be because the company works on a shift pattern or has international offices or clients, and employees need to be available at different hours.
The need to work evenings should be mentioned in the job description, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when you’re asked about it. Your reply needs to be honest; if you can’t do it, say so – but follow up with that you’re willing to come to an arrangement that works for both parties.
Right answer: ‘Commitments mean I’m available during the hours of nine to six, and sometimes at weekends. If there are early morning shifts available, from time to time, I may be able to cover these.
Wrong answer: ‘Yes. Unless it interferes with my social life.’
How do you manage your time?
Your duties as a receptionist will be varied. You could be greeting people, answering calls, booking in meetings, handling the mail, or any number of other tasks. You have to be organised to keep on top of them all. Saying you’re organised isn’t enough, the employer wants to see evidence that you are and understand how your organisational skills will benefit the business.
Preparing your answer ahead of the interview allows you to put together a clear answer, explaining how you use techniques to help you to manage priorities and deadlines.
Right answer: ‘It’s very important that I keep on top of my workload so I can be as productive as I can. Each morning I spend a few minutes going over my emails and planning tasks into my diary and note down on my to-do list priorities for the day. If I’m not sure of a deadline for a task, I follow up with the person who assigned me the task to find out. ‘
Wrong answer: ‘I try not to worry too much about deadlines…’
What duties were you responsible for in your previous job?
The employer isn’t asking you to relay off the duties you listed on your CV. Instead, they want to know how previous jobs have prepared you for this role.
This is your time to sell your suitability for the job and persuade them that you’re the person they need to hire. Before you start preparing your answer, look over the job specification to see what duties you’ll be doing – this helps you to tailor your response.
If you don’t have previous experience as a receptionist, explain how experience gained through other jobs, volunteering positions or duties at college or university will help.
Right answer: ‘I was responsible for greeting visitors, answering and transferring calls using a multi-line call system, booking in meetings for senior management, distributing the mail and copying files.’
Wrong answer: ‘You know, the things that a receptionist does? Those.’
More advice on interview questions
Aside from the options above, there are a wide range of other interview questions we can help you prepare for. Individual questions we’ve covered include:
We’ve also got advice on how to answer different types of interview questions.
So whether you’re looking for tips on answering career goal, competency or character questions, want to find out some of the latest emerging interview questions, or you just want to prepare for the most common questions that could come up, we’ve got you covered.
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