Receptionist Skills: Stand out from the crowd

Receptionists are usually the first person a client or visitor meets when they enter an office. They are an ambassador for the company – the voice and face that sets the tone. So it is important that they are polite, professional and very well-presented. Receptionists need to be able to handle multiple tasks at the same time, without getting flustered

It is a key hire for a business and one that you don’t want to get wrong. And for candidates, it is a brilliant career opportunity to get their foot in the door and work their way up. A Receptionist has the chance to be noticed by the top people, the CEO, directors and the decision makers. In fact, it’s not unusual for an impressive Receptionist to end up working as a Director.

Receptionist job responsibilities:

  • Greeting visitors and clients
  • Taking coats, getting drinks
  • Arranging catering requirements
  • Answering and directing phones
  • Taking accurate messages
  • Organising couriers and taxis
  • Booking meeting rooms and making sure they’re immaculate
  • Dealing with key Directors
  • Delivering parcels
  • Ad hoc administrative tasks
  • Providing support to other employees
  • Security of the office

In smaller companies, Receptionists might work in a hybrid role, acting as Receptionist/PA/Team Assistant/Office Manager/HR. This makes it an exciting job, with the opportunity to learn a lot about how a business runs. There is a lot of variety – it goes way beyond sitting at a front desk and manning a switchboard. Larger businesses will often have more than one Receptionist and you would then work on a rota or have shifts. This adds flexibility to the role.

Receptionist skills & qualifications

Presentation is important for Receptionists and the style of presentation must represent the company culture. They will always need to look smart but the style will vary from hedge funds to fashion houses, small businesses to international PLCs. When going for an interview do some research on the company, look for images of the Directors and take the lead from them.

Receptionists should be articulate and well-spoken. Plus they will need to be confident speaking to different types of people. Being efficient, proactive, charming, smiley and welcoming is also key. As are excellent written skills and good spelling and grammar. Accuracy is important, there is no room for error when running a busy reception desk. Successful candidates will be able to deal with pressure calmly, solve problems and use their initiative. They will be discreet and always positive with a ‘nothing is too much trouble’ attitude. This is about providing an exceptional, five-star service to everyone you meet. You will need to be switched on and focussed.

In terms of experience, there are lots of options for Receptionists. Some people come from customer-facing jobs in the likes of hospitality, retail or travel. For others it might be a recent graduate’s first job.

If you’re looking for Personal Assistant, Executive Assistant, Private PA, Virtual Assistant or other Office Staff jobs please contact one of our recruitment consultants on 020 7468 0400 or email us

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