When interviewing candidates, it’s important to ask questions that reveal the level of organisational skills and customer service skills they possess, not just the classic questions such as ‘What is your biggest weakness?’, which can lead to cliché answers.
We have come up with a receptionist job interview questions and answers sample, as a guide for both the potential employee and employer.
To ensure you’re finding the right fit for your business, consider the following questions.
Receptionist interview questions and answers
Why have you applied for this role?
Motivation is crucial to understanding not only why an applicant wants the position but why they might one day leave. If someone’s motivation isn’t clear or is solely based on getting a higher salary than their last role, the more likely it is you will need to recruit again in six months to a year.
What experience do you have as a receptionist?
This question will help you understand the professional’s qualifications and determine their ability to quickly learn and interpret new systems. Those with and without experience can be valuable, and depending on their answer, you can consider what their developmental needs will be.
Describe a typical day in your role as a receptionist.
Questions like these can help you gauge the applicant’s expectations and attitude to their role and how they might add value to your business – maybe even conveying their opinions about their previous working environment. This interview question for a receptionist is also a way for them to outline their skills and experience.
What were your main responsibilities in that role?
This is another way to discover someone’s experience and gauge their level of confidence across a range of receptionist duties. The main responsibilities could indicate their greatest strengths.
How have you contributed to business success with previous employers?
This question allows the interviewee to share their successes and provides an idea of their strengths and ambitions. Receptionist job interview questions often involve a focus on outcomes and successes.
What types of telecommunication systems are you familiar with using?
Different companies use different systems, and this can show you their ability and confidence in adapting to different processes and technology.
What qualifications make you the best candidate for this role?
Qualifications aren’t everything, but they are still important. While you will have already seen a breakdown of the interviewee’s accomplishments on their CV, their answer will give them a chance to highlight their greatest achievements, enlightening you on what they think makes a good receptionist.
What is the most rewarding part of being a receptionist?
This is another way to gauge someone’s motivation behind their role as a receptionist. Other than salaries or benefits, the reason they like their work will help you understand what kind of receptionist they are. Interview questions for a receptionist are not meant to trip them up, but identify a good match between them and the company. This question is about values and motivation behind becoming a receptionist.
How efficient are you at problem solving?
Hiring is all about finding someone who can solve problems. Many issues can arise where the receptionist is on the front line of the conflict, such as customer complaints. The way they deal with challenges says a lot about them as a person and as a professional.
What challenges have you faced while managing a switchboard?
The aim of this question isn’t necessarily about what a candidate has found difficult, but how they managed the situation and what they learned from it. The level of challenge receptionists should be able to handle will depend on the sector. Medical receptionist interview questions, for example, should seek to assess the candidate’s competency using a switchboard when multiple patients are calling at once.
What have you done to improve customer satisfaction in the past?
Being a receptionist isn’t only about handling conflict but taking steps to prevent it through excellent customer service. An awareness of the company’s reputation and a commitment to customer satisfaction are critical aspects of the job, as the receptionist is a public-facing role. Hotel receptionist interview questions often prioritise excellent customer service skills as front-desk employees play a substantial role in providing a positive experience for guests.
Describe a time when you had to resolve a conflict between two team members.
This scenario-based question can help interviewers assess the applicant’s leadership skills and potential for progression. Mitigating conflict is also an important skill to have in this role. Receptionist interview questions and answers allow both parties decide if someone is right for the role and vice versa.
What would you do if you received a request to perform a task that is outside your job description?
Answers to hypothetical questions may come from experience and indicate future behaviour. The professional’s response to additional work or an unanticipated request is an indicator of their work ethic. If they provide a positive response to additional work, this might show they are hardworking and helpful, or that they find it difficult to say no to people. If they say no to everything outside their role, this might indicate that they are inflexible and unwilling to go above and beyond, or they might show strong boundaries and prioritisation skills.
Context is key to this question, so ask follow-up questions to this if need be.
Describe a time you had to deal with a difficult customer
The receptionist plays a key role in providing customer service and defusing tense situations as they arise. Asking this question will shed light on how well the person you’re interviewing is suited for this role. Interview questions for receptionist roles will always involve some form of conflict resolution and overcoming challenges.
Describe a successful team project you have worked on in the past.
Teamwork is another key skill receptionists should have. The level of success isn’t necessarily about the project’s outcome but whether their collaboration was successful.
Describe a situation where you had to take initiative to achieve the desired outcome.
Initiative is another key skill. You will want someone who can work independently without too much guidance and micromanagement. Receptionist questions for interview will usually include questions to assess their ability to work alone, and in a group, depending on the needs of the organisation.
How do you handle multiple tasks and prioritise them?
A receptionist’s role often requires making quick decisions on which tasks need to be completed first. Asking this question will help you understand the applicant’s ability to multitask and handle stressful situations. Interview questions a receptionist can expect to hear will usually indicate the need for these skills.
Have you ever had to make a difficult decision in a short period of time?
This question relates to a high-pressure situation. The way the professional responded to the pressure will show their level of resilience and decisiveness. The outcome is less important than the way they handled it.
How well do you stay organised?
Organisational skills are essential for a receptionist. It’s important to know how well the individual manages their time and keeps track of vital information. Receptionist job interview questions and answers help both sides manage expectations. It’s likely that receptionists have their own systems that work for them and brings new ideas to a company, helping them to become more efficient.
What customer service techniques do you use when dealing with complaints and requests?
While customer service skills are intuitive, some knowledge of specific techniques will establish the candidate’s level of expertise and dedication to learning about concepts that can help them succeed in their role.
How would you like your schedule to look, and would you be able to work additional hours if needed?
This is another question on work ethic but also a more practical one to ask, if you feel the interviewee is a promising candidate. It tests their flexibility, as well as showing them that your company can be flexible in return.
What suggestions do you have to provide a higher level of service as a receptionist?
Asking for suggestions shows you value the opinions of employees and will give you an idea of the professional’s perspective and honest opinions of your company in a way that feels safe. Any ideas they come up with could show their critical-thinking and forward-thinking mindset and creativity. It will also bring fresh perspective to the business.
What are your salary expectations?
At this point you may have decided to make an offer. The interviewee’s answer will depend on their experience, qualifications, the current economy and other factors.
Seasoned professionals may expect the highest number in your salary range – or higher than you’ve budgeted for if you haven’t listed one. Note: using a salary range in your job advert will help manage expectations from the beginning. To help you understand the value of your receptionist role, download our Business Support & Administration 2023 salary guide.
Those with less experience might not have such high salary expectations but may have higher hopes for other areas of your business, such as the benefits and company culture and values.
By asking the right questions in your interviews, you can find a receptionist with the skill sets to help your business thrive. Keep these receptionist job interview questions and answers in mind as you search for the perfect fit for your receptionist role.
To find your next receptionist or take the next step in your career in business support, contact your nearest Reed office.