Receptionist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: August 22, 2022

A Receptionist, or Front Desk Receptionist, is responsible for performing clerical tasks within an office setting to support daily operations. Their duties include answering and transferring phone calls to employees, sorting and delivering mail to employees and greeting visitors when they arrive for meetings with management or sales staff.

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Receptionist duties and responsibilities

Receptionists spend most of their time answering phone calls. However, a Receptionist may also be responsible for:

  • Making appointments for all staff or for specific employees, such as executives
  • Processing bills and helping clients or customers if they have any questions about their charges
  • Organizing files for billing, customer and client records, etc.
  • Directing visitors to the correct office
  • Responding to all customer inquiries in a polite and timely manner
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What does a Receptionist do?

Receptionists typically work for companies across industries to assist customers and employees alike. They work closely with office staff to notify them of incoming calls, prepare outgoing mail and make copies or fax documents. Their job is to manage their office tasks while also answering calls from customers, answering questions and helping visitors locate the correct office. They may also be responsible for taking inventory of office supplies and placing orders accordingly.

Receptionist skills and qualifications

Essential skills for a Receptionist to perform well in their role include:

  • Verbal and written communication skills to interact clearly with customers, vendors and other employees
  • Organization skills to keep accurate records and find important information quickly
  • Time management skills to prioritize and complete a side variety of tasks throughout the day
  • Patience and listening skills to respond appropriate and interact positively with upset customers
  • Interpersonal skills to create a pleasant experience for all customers, such as being personable and attentive

Receptionist Salary Expectations

A Receptionist makes an average salary of $13.60 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Receptionist education and training requirements

Most Receptionists need to have a minimum of a high school diploma or a GED, and some roles that would benefit from a college education may substitute on-the-job experience instead. Some community colleges and organizations offer Receptionist certificates that candidates can complete to prove their skills. A good Receptionist is someone with the personality and intelligence to represent your company and always be able to guide clients or customers where they need to go.

Receptionist experience requirements

Many companies hire Receptionists as entry-level employees, which means they’re expected to have zero to three years of experience. Receptionists who will be working with executives or with large or complex companies may be expected to have a higher degree of experience and qualifications.

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Frequently asked questions about Receptionists


What is the difference between a Receptionist and an Executive Assistant?

Receptionists and Executive Assistants both perform administrative and clerical duties in an office setting, but these roles do differ from one another based on their specific job requirements. For example, Receptionists answer phones, scan, fax or copy documents, greet visitors or distribute mail to an entire office or department within a corporation. In contrast, Executive Assistants work solely with one or more company executives to manage their appointments, answer phone calls or greet visitors. Executive Assistants perform additional tasks on behalf of the Executive, including pulling data, compiling reports and drafting memos to distribute by email.


What are the daily duties of a Receptionist?

On a typical day, a Receptionist starts by checking their voicemail for any missed messages from clients, upper management or employees. They make a note of any messages and contact information to relay to the Office Manager or office staff once they arrive. Throughout the day, Receptionists complete various tasks, including answering and transferring phone calls, directing guests to the correct office and scanning documents to add to the office’s digital filing system. 

During downtime, Receptionists might complete coffee runs for office staff and retrieve mail from the mailroom. They also participate in office meetings to take notes and draft meeting minutes that participants can refer to later on.


What qualities make a good Receptionist?

A good Receptionist has a personable nature, allowing them to greet office visitors or employees and make them feel comfortable. This is especially important when they interact with clients or business partners as their actions may influence the visitor’s perception of the company. They are also proficient in using digital calendars and typical office appliances like copiers, printers, fax machines and phone systems to complete their job duties. Further, a good Receptionist has excellent written and verbal communication that enables them to draft emails or memos and speak with various customers and company stakeholders.


Who does a Receptionist report to?

Receptionists typically report directly to the Office Manager within the facility they work. They may also report indirectly to company employees to assist them in their daily tasks. In smaller companies, Receptionists may report directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

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