Finding the right hire can be tough: Experience is important, but so is personality. This is especially true with a receptionist, who is usually the first person your customers interact with on the phone or when they walk in. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when hiring for the front desk:
Set clear expectations.
Before anything else, decide what the scope of the new hire’s responsibilities will be and communicate it clearly in the job posting and interviews. The skills you’re looking for depend largely on the duties of the job. For example, if the receptionist is in charge of all booking, you need someone who is organized and detail oriented, with excellent communication skills.
First impressions count.
The way your receptionist greets people on the phone or in person is a reflection of your business. Your first impression of the potential hire may be your clients’ as well, so listen to your gut.
Find someone who can roll with the punches.
Perhaps more than any other employee, the receptionist is often asked to deal with unexpected situations. Calls from upset customers, uncommon requests and strange questions could all be frequent elements of the work week, so a receptionist needs to be able to think fast and maintain composure. It’s a good idea to devise some surprising, situational interview questions so you can see how candidates respond when put on the spot.
Good communication is key.
As the most client-facing member of your team, your receptionist’s communication skills are paramount. Vocal clarity is a must for answering frequent phone calls, as well as the ability to concisely explain complex services, procedures or guidelines. Good communication also means updating your team and keeping everyone aware of changes in the schedule.
Make the role extra desirable.
Attracting new hires and keeping them means providing a great work environment — and great compensation. Find out what the typical wages are for receptionists in your area and consider paying more to entice — and retain — the best. You can create a positive environment by treating your receptionist with respect, not giving sudden deadlines and voicing your appreciation. Your encouragement and feedback can have a positive effect on the way your receptionist treats your clients and represents your business.