What to Say When Being Interviewed for a Receptionist Job

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What to Say When Being Interviewed for a Receptionist Job
Discuss your multitasking and prioritisation abilities in the interview. (preparing the file image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com)

Receptionists have a broad job description with tasks ranging from answering the phone to doing clerical work. A job interview for a receptionist position will cover not only the usual general questions such as "What is your greatest weakness," but also questions that relate specifically to the responsibilities of being a receptionist.


A receptionist must know where to find information on almost any aspect of the business. When a customer calls or walks in and needs to know something, the receptionist is the first person with whom he has contact. An employer may ask you how you would go about finding information about a specific type of information to help a customer. Your answer might include asking someone in the correct department of the company that handles the person's request, looking in literature the company prints for the public, reading the company's web site extensively or even spending time right after being hired becoming familiar with the filing system of the company to be able to pull information quickly and easily.

Customer Service

You may be asked during your interview about you customer service experience. Detail your experiences related to on-the-phone, in-person and e-mail customer service. You may be asked about a time you successfully handled a customer complaint. Recall a time where you were able to calm the customer, find the information he needed or refer him to a manager for more assistance. Tell the employer how you remained professional and were helpful to the customer. Tell about your methods of calming a customer, which might include acknowledging their frustration, apologising if necessary and maintaining a calm demeanour throughout the exchange.

Office Machinery

A receptionist has to be able to use a variety of office machinery to successfully do the job. In addition to copy machines and calculators, receptionists must be able to type quickly and with accuracy and use database, spreadsheet and word processing software. They often also use multi-line phones and intercom systems. Your interviewer may ask about your experience using these types of machines and programs as well as about your abilities to troubleshoot them when problems with them arise. To demonstrate your ability to handle various types of office machinery, provide the employer with an example of how you have handled problems with your own computer or broken machinery in another position.

Dedication & Flexibility

Receptionists must be able to roll with the punches. She must be able to prioritise tasks from many individuals and multitask throughout her day. She must not get out of shape when her work is interrupted by another request for her attention from a co-worker or a customer. She must also be willing to go the extra mile to help her co-workers get their work done. If the copy machine breaks and a technician cannot repair it until next week, she must be willing to get in the car and drive to a place where she can pay to use a copy machine to help a co-worker meet her deadlines for the following day. Tell your interviewer how you exemplify dedication and adaptability as a receptionist and how you can help the company succeed using these characteristics of your personality.

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