9 Receptionist Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 December 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Across nearly every industry, a receptionist is often the first point of contact between the customer and the company. During the interview, hiring managers are likely to ask questions that test these common receptionist skills, like good communication, time management and organisational skills. Learning about the questions you may encounter in a job interview for a receptionist position can help you prepare. In this article, we share some common interview questions along with sample answers to help you frame your own.

9 receptionist interview questions with sample answers

Here are some common receptionist interview questions along with sample responses:

1. Tell me about yourself and why you have applied for this role.

This is perhaps the most common opening question that you can expect to hear. How you answer this question can set the tone for the entire interview. The interviewer is looking to understand what value you bring to the role and organisation. Take this opportunity to create an excellent first impression to the hiring manager. Keep your answer brief and say precisely what they want to hear by enumerating your qualities, skills and experience that fit the role and organisation you have applied for.

Example: “I have been working as front desk personnel for the last three years, and I understand what's required of a receptionist in a large company like yours. After studying the job description in detail, I believe that I have all the skills, competencies and experience needed to perform this role to an excellent standard. With my keen eye for detail and reliability to organise everything around the office, I assure you that I can complete all tasks on time. I pride myself on my reputation as a multitasker and a fast learner.

I understand that as a receptionist, I will often be the first point of contact for your customers and clients and will strive to be a positive role model for your organisation. I take my responsibilities seriously and am always willing to exceed expectations. Being a social person, I find it easy to connect with people and enjoy working with customers. I am looking to have a long-term career by being part of a strong team in a stable, large company like yours.”

Related: What Is Customer Service?

2. How would you organise your work as a receptionist?

One of the critical competencies required of a receptionist is good organisational capabilities. The best receptionists can multitask, prioritise tasks based on urgency and importance, and manage the front desk and phone calls with ease and comfort. To answer this interview question effectively, consider discussing the steps you would take or the tools or strategies you would use to organise your work.

Example: “I always plan my week and day by creating a task checklist and have an efficient system in place to schedule and keep track of tasks and activities. I use various online tools, calendar alerts, phone reminders and meeting planners to stay organised. Planning my tasks helps me identify and prioritise them in order of importance. This helps me stay on or ahead of my schedule. As a result, in all my working life, I have never missed a deadline or failed to accomplish a task for my employer.”

Related: 7 Personality Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

3. How would you handle a difficult or angry customer? Tell me about a situation you have faced before.

As a receptionist, it's important to have outstanding customer service and problem-solving skills. These skills can help you resolve conflicts with a customer. If you have faced a difficult or angry customer in the past, you can recount your experience here by highlighting your approach to conflict management.

Example: “I would remain calm and professional and focus on deescalating the conflict, as I am conscious of representing your company. I would first listen to the angry customer and empathise wherever appropriate. Subsequently, I would take all necessary actions to resolve the issue as best as possible in line with the company policy. In the unlikely event that I cannot resolve the issue, I would seek advice from my manager.

I recently faced such an incident at my last job, where a customer was angry with a product she bought and wanted to return it without a receipt. As it was company policy to require a receipt for all returns, I listened to her complaints but politely explained the company policy and offered store credit. As a result, the customer was satisfied, and I was able to resolve the issue”.

Related: 10 Important Qualities of What Makes a Good Receptionist

4. Do you have experience with multi-line phone systems?

If you have experience operating multi-line phone systems, you can mention how you organise and transfer calls quickly and efficiently when handling a high volume of calls. If you don't have experience, you can be honest and mention that you do not have experience, but you're willing to learn.

Example: “I have not operated multi-line phone system at my last job. Nevertheless, being a fast learner, I am confident that I can understand and master it fairly quickly. I am also ready to undertake any training ahead of my joining date if needed”.

5. How have you multitasked at work?

A receptionist manages several tasks simultaneously while attending to clients and maintaining a friendly persona. Your interviewer wants to know how you manage multiple tasks, especially when priorities and deadlines overlap. Prepare ahead and think of a situation when you had to prioritise and multitask.

Example: “I understand that multitasking is a key part of a receptionist role. I have plenty of multitasking experience at my previous jobs, and I consider multitasking one of my key personal strengths. On a particular day at my previous job, I had to face a situation where I was alone at the front desk, as many of my colleagues had to attend a training session. I managed a large volume of phone calls and attended to customers at the desk while preparing a time-critical report for my employer. Throughout the working day, I prioritised my tasks effectively, remained calm during busy periods and operated with a smile”.

6. Tell me about your computer skills.

Employers ask this question to get a sense of your computer literacy. As a receptionist, it's important to have basic computer skills, including word-processing software, scheduling applications and video conferencing tools. Mention all the tools and applications you're familiar with, along with any self-taught specialised computer skills. It's good to mention that you're willing and keen to learn the latest administrative or communication software in the market.

Example: “I am proficient in most of Microsoft Office suite, as I use it daily in my current job. I use Microsoft Excel to keep track of the client database, Word to create documents and flyers and Outlook for emails. I also use a cloud-based web storage service for storing documents and an online calendar for making appointments. In addition to this, I also have experience with my company's accounting software, telecommunication systems and setting up video conferencing calls across different time zones”.

7. What is your typing speed and error rating?

This is a straightforward question requiring a specific answer. Fast and accurate typing skills are necessary hard skills recommended for a receptionist role. To answer this interview question effectively, consider indicating your average typing speed and percentage of accuracy.

Example: “On average, I can type 85 to 90 words per minute with an accuracy of over 95%. I make sure I proofread and look for grammatical or spelling errors before sending anything.”

8. Are you willing to work overtime if the need arises?

Hiring managers ask this interview question to determine if you're willing to work unconventional hours during weekends, evenings and holidays to benefit the company. To answer this interview question effectively, state that you're adaptable and flexible in your approach to working hours if the need arises. Give an example of when you have worked beyond office hours when urgently required by your employer.

Example: “I am always happy to work any additional hours, even weekends and late nights, if needed. For me, it's important to get the job completed on time. At my last job, I worked weekends and late nights whenever there was a project deadline that required the whole team to pull together to finish it.”

9. Why should we select you over the other candidates?

This interview question gives you the opportunity set yourself apart from other candidates. Use this opportunity to list all your unique skills and qualifications and explain why the interviewer should select you. Draw attention to some of your strengths and competencies that make you different from the competitions.

Example: “I feel strongly that I am the right candidate for this role, as I have the right skills, attributes and experience to be a good receptionist. I am professional, self-motivated, organised and can be trusted with confidential and sensitive work. I genuinely enjoy working with people and I will make a good impression as your customer's first point of contact. If you give me the opportunity, I will not let you down.”

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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