How to Hire the Greatest Receptionist You’ll Ever Have

a great front desk receptionist

Staffing firms know how valuable a good receptionist can be for any company. Every time someone matching all the qualities of a skilled receptionist surfaces on the job market, you can bet that other companies will jump on the chance to hire that person ASAP.

The key to hiring a receptionist is to know what skills you need — even before you post a job listing. By outlining clear criteria for the ideal candidate, you can conduct interviews faster. Below is a no-fail guide to finding the perfect hire.

How to Find a Good Receptionist


1. Decide on Your Ideal Skill Set

Your job description for a vacant receptionist position will depend on the role’s responsibilities, which in turn will serve as a guide for the necessary skills that person should have. If the phone is your office’s main point of contact, phone skills matter. If your company sees a steady stream of people entering the lobby on a daily basis, you’ll want someone who knows how to interact with people in a polished and personable way. To kickstart thinking about what you’d like in a great receptionist, try a few of these receptionist skills.

12 Skills of a Good Receptionist

  1. Active listening – You want a receptionist who listens, fully, to your callers or visitors
  2. Multitasking skills – Answering the phone while also monitoring visitors while also transferring calls is sort of like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time. It’s an art!
  3. Phone lines, photocopiers, fax machines, and word processing experience – Every company will have different requirements here, but your receptionist should be able to figure these out fairly quickly
  4. Calendly, Zoom, or other apps used by companies – It’s 2022, so you’re likely scheduling online meetings with remote workers and/or clients. A receptionist should be able to set up appointments or meetings without much hand-holding
  5. Time management and reliability – A front desk assistant needs to show up on time every shift to make sure that the office keeps running smoothly
  6. Creative problem-solving skills – Things happen, and a good receptionist knows how to come up with solutions on the fly (pro tip: ask a job interview question specifically about when they solved an unexpected issue!)
  7. Empathy and compassion – A great receptionist is also a supportive receptionist. They should be able to respond to frustrated clients or customers without getting anxious or losing their cool
  8. Good with stress – The work day ebbs and flows, as does traffic through a receptionist’s space. A good receptionist will know how to roll with it
  9. Respect for confidentiality – Regardless of whether you’re hiring a receptionist for a dental or doctor’s office, front desk at a big company or simply a small ad agency, they will hear confidential information and should be able to keep that information confidential, even internally
  10. Email writing skills – If you expect your receptionist to send out emails to your team regarding all-hands meetings etc., you’ll want them to be able to have a firm grasp on how to write an email that feels both professional and friendly — and to have great respect for spellcheck!
  11. Respect for authority – Receptionists often not only answer to their direct supervisors but to anyone at your company in an executive position. A great receptionist knows how to juggle requests coming in from multiple leaders — and to check with his or her supervisor if two requests conflict
  12. General office etiquette – Since your receptionist is the first person many of your clients and staff will see, a great receptionist will set the tone. That means wearing attire in keeping with the standards of your company, speaking to clients with respect, etc. This will vary from company to company, but if you have specific office rules, make sure to go over them early!


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2. Look for Genuine Interest and Good Qualities

Beyond skills, finding a good receptionist comes down to certain innate qualities. Look for a candidate who is actually interested in applying for the role of receptionist, rather than someone who is just looking for the “easiest” job in your company. During interviews, ask each candidate about their impression of your business and what you do. Great receptionists know their company inside and out, so naturally, you want someone with a keen interest.

3. Get a Sense of Their Communication Style

“Strong communication skills” gets thrown around often, but what does that really mean? When gauging a candidate’s communication skills, don’t consider someone because they’re a strong speaker. The ability to listen is as important. For instance, receptionists need to accurately take phone messages and address complex customer complaints. When in doubt, ask a candidate to describe their communication and working styles to get a sense of their approach.

4. Look for Unexpected Technical Skills

Any receptionist worth hiring should have basic-to-advanced experience with common office software. The more skills, the better. They should definitely know standard word processing programs. Bonus skills include: Microsoft Excel, calendar and event scheduling apps, social media platforms, and content marketing systems.
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5. Consider Temp to Hire

Finding a great receptionist takes time. If you’ve only found candidates who don’t have as much experience as you’d like (or none whatsoever), that’s okay! Now’s a good time to consider a temp-to-hire offer. Certain receptionist skills take work to acquire, and often a candidate’s ability to learn will surprise you. Especially in this competitive job market, offering on-site training and a trial period might get you a better receptionist than you ever thought possible. Which is exactly why we specialize in temp jobs at Star Staffing!


Good luck in your search for the dream receptionist! For more tips and tricks on hiring positions in your company, talk to our staffing specialists at Star Staffing. And if you’re currently seeking a job as a receptionist in California, visit our jobs board today!