Office Jobs - Hiring a Receptionist

Hotel receptionist on phone
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Job Description

A receptionist is an individual that you hire to greet everyone that enters your place of business.  The receptionist is, therefore, the first impression that customers, vendors, and partners will have of the business that you operate. The attitude, composure, and hospitality of the receptionist will convey what the business culture is about and.  It is, therefore, crucial that careful planning is used both in outlining the job description of the receptionist, but also in hiring a person that is capable of conveying both verbally, and non-verbally what the business is all about.

Beyond the critical first impression, the receptionist is also responsible for answering the company phone and being able to direct callers to the appropriate individual. The receptionist also needs to have a basic but usable knowledge of the what the business does by providing information about the company/products to all callers and in-person visitors.

Depending on the size and type of your business, the receptionist may also be the person that handles all mail and package deliveries and would, therefore, have a need to know and handle their destination in the company by routing them to the appropriate employees. In businesses such as medical and law offices, there can often be time-sensitivities. Therefore, training the receptionist to differentiate between urgent and important is critical to meet important business needs.

The receptionist may also need to be the overall "gatekeeper" in his/her handling of solicitors that come to call.

This includes screening calls, discerning the nature and purpose of a visit, contacting the appropriate employee when a visitor arrives and calling emergency services (police, fire, and ambulance) when required.

There are a variety of other administrative tasks that can be handled by the receptionist.

 Depending on the size and complexity of your business, these job duties could include:

With regard to the receptionist, one size does not fit all, and as described, because this individual has a critical role in the business, the job duties and training of the receptionist will ultimately contribute to the success of the appropriate traffic to the business. There are two types of distinctions to be made with regard to how the receptionist job duties are structured.  One is the size of the firm, and the other is by specialty. Below are guidelines for hiring receptionists based on the size of the company.

Receptionist in a Small Office

In a small office, the role of the receptionist is usually a full-time position. However, because this is a small business, the receptionist must also be capable of attending to other duties. The responsibilities of the receptionist are usually assigned to a secretary or clerk that is positioned near the public entrance of the business. Additional tasks assigned may include receiving packages/mail, typing, order entry, mail preparation or any other task that can be interrupted when a guest arrives.

Receptionist in a Medium Office

The position of receptionist in a medium-sized office is likely a dedicated,  full-time individual who remains dedicated to greeting people as they enter the business. During periods of low traffic, additional work that may normally be accomplished by a secretary or clerk may be assigned to the receptionist.

Receptionist in a Large Office

The responsibilities of the receptionist's position are very well defined in a large office environment. The job duties may include a formal list of tasks and other functions that are expected of the individual in that position. It is likely that this individual is dedicated to greeting visitors and directing/routing callers.  However, this is a function of the volume of visitors and callers and if the volume is high, then a dedicated function as greeter and call router is sufficient.

 The goal is to ensure that all large office greeting needs are met – and that other, selective tasks are assigned only if substantiated by a drop in traffic volume.

The other classification of receptionists is by specialty types such as medical office receptionist or law office receptionist. The job duties of these receptionists will include additional or specialized job duties because of the type of business that they are working for.

Another type of receptionist is a cashier at a shop.  In this case, the role of the receptionist not only requires all of the dedicated job functions described but also requires that the individual is specialized in the business of the office.  A good example of this is a receptionist at a Spa, or other service business where the receptionist is the greeter, host, scheduler and cashier.