Receptionist Interview Questions

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  1. Tell me about a situation where you needed to manage an upset individual at the reception desk. How did you handle it? See answer
  2. What do you believe the receptionist brings to the office culture at any company? See answer
  3. A person calls and asks to speak to someone who isn’t available to talk. What do you tell them so they will feel you are doing your best job to connect them?
  4. What types of visitor management software are you familiar with?
  5. How do you manage office communications in a secure way?
  6. How many years of experience have you had speed typing and what is your typing speed?
  7. What skills do you use to create a hospitable office environment?
  8. A receptionist may have periods of downtime where they do not have to attend to client or coworker needs. Receptionists should be able to be productive and find ways to improve their efficiency even when there are no pressing business needs. It’s their responsibility to find time to complete administrative tasks such as filing documents, preparing memos and sorting mail. Strong candidates are proactive with their free time at work when they are not actively interacting with guests.
  9. How do you determine which tasks are top priority when managing office workflows?
  10. How do you hope to apply your role as a receptionist to your career growth?
  11. Describe a time when you had to work with an upset guest or customer. How did you diffuse the situation?
  12. What methods do you use to stay organized?
  13. Are you comfortable fielding calls from multiple phone lines at once?
  14. What do you do to keep a positive attitude with guests and callers when you are having a stressful day?
  15. Do you have experience with handling confidential details about coworkers and clients?
  16. How do you ensure that the information you give to guests and callers is accurate?
  17. What steps do you take when setting appointments on behalf of a colleague?
  18. What strategies do you use to multitask and help multiple visitors?
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8 Receptionist Interview Questions and Answers

Tell me about a situation where you needed to manage an upset individual at the reception desk. How did you handle it?

The goal is to find out how the candidate deals with unhappy or upset clients.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Does the idea of handling an upset person make the candidate uncomfortable?
  • Does the candidate have a confident approach to the issue?
  • Do they demonstrate experience handling such a situation?

Example:


“Once, I had a very loud and aggressive person speaking to me at the receptionist desk asking to speak to my boss. I maintained a very even voice so as not to escalate the conflict. I explained politely that my boss would contact the customer at his earliest convenience and that I would make sure that happened. He calmed down and left, seeming satisfied.”

A person calls and asks to speak to someone who isn’t available to talk. What do you tell them so they will feel you are doing your best job to enable them to connect with the person they want to speak to?

The goal is to make sure the receptionist has good skills at managing people on the phone.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Is the candidate confident about their phone skills?
  • Do they sound like the enjoy handling people on the phone?
  • Do they have skill at rescheduling calls?

Example:


“I tell the customer, ‘Ms. Smith has stepped out of the office for a meeting. As soon as she returns, I will let her know that you have called and ask her to return the call. She should be able to get back to you by end of day.”

What types of software have you used in previous jobs?

The goal is to find out what software the candidate is familiar with.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Do they demonstrate facility with the common software types used by receptionists?
  • Do they know what those types of software are?
  • Do they show experience with software?

Example:


“I have been using Microsoft Office software for my ten years as a receptionist. I am also proficient with Google and Microsoft calendaring software, Google Sheets and Docs, all common instant message platforms and Slack.”

What do you believe the receptionist brings to the office culture at any company?

The goal is to see how the candidate sees a receptionist role fitting in with the broader culture of the company.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Do they see the receptionist as integral to company culture?
  • Do they have good ideas about how to add to the culture of the company?
  • Do they understand they are representing the company?

Example:


“A receptionist is the first face that most people see when they enter an office. Therefore, it is important to represent the company’s values and culture from the first contact with that customer. As a receptionist, I strive to do this in every interaction.”

How do you manage the office communications in a secure way?

The goal is to make sure the receptionist understands that one of their roles is discretion.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Are they comfortable managing complex political situations in the office context?
  • Do they keep focused on who needs to know what?
  • Do they have discretion?

Example:


“I make sure that when people come to my desk I do not give out information to people unless they are supposed to know it. I do not tell people where my boss is unless I am authorized to tell them this. I keep a professional and cordial, but firm demeanor at all times.”

How many years of experience have you had as a speed typer and what is your typing speed?

The goal is to make sure the receptionist is able to keep up with the flow of work by being a fast typer.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Do they quote a typing speed above 60 wpm?
  • Are they a confident typist?
  • Do they have enough experience as a speed typer?

Example:


“I took a typing class in high school and have been speed typing at 80 wpm since then.”

Can you describe your ideal relationship with your office?

The goal is to make sure they have a productive sense of their relationship with the office they work for.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Do they voice positivity about working in an office environment?
  • Are they excited about the prospect of being the face of your office?
  • Will they bring good qualities to your office environment?

Example:


“I really enjoy cultivating a good relationship with the office I work for. I want to be a source of clarity, precision and evenness in the office. I want to make people’s jobs easier by virtue of being there.”

A receptionist may have periods of downtime where they do not have to attend to client or coworker needs. Receptionists should be able to be productive and find ways to improve their efficiency even when there are no pressing business needs. It's their responsibility to find time to complete administrative tasks such as filing documents, preparing memos and sorting mail. Strong candidates are proactive with their free time at work when they are not actively interacting with guests.

Look for these main points in a candidate's response:

  • Desire to get ahead of schedule
  • Understanding of a receptionist's passive responsibilities
  • Interest in self-improvement

Here is an example of a strong answer to this interview question:

Example:

"When I do not have any pressing tasks on my priority list, I would first check my voicemail and email to see if there were any low-priority tasks that still need a response. I would then assess what I planned to accomplish tomorrow and get ahead on scheduling deliveries, rearranging appointments or preparing documents. Next, I would improve my filing system by checking for errors, adding color-coding or transcribing written notes."

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