7 must-have receptionist skills that top employers want

By Robert Half 19th August 2019

We all know that first impressions count—this is especially true for professional organisations. As front desk staff, receptionists have an enormous responsibility for the reputation of the organisation they work for, which is why employers are so keen to find a professional with all the must-have receptionist skills to support their business.

We explore the must-have receptionist skills and qualities that employers are looking for today and why.


1) Strong technology skills

Workplaces are slowly embracing digitisation, and the receptionist job role is not exempt from the impact. As well as standard Microsoft package skills and a familiarity with telephone systems, printers and photocopiers, receptionists will now need to learn how to adapt to more sophisticated software systems. 

The role may now also include new technologies previously considered outside of the job description, such as social media management tools. 

2) An independent approach to work

As the front desk can often be isolated from the main office floor, reception professionals need to be able to work independently. Employers are looking for reception staff who can think fast on their feet, have good problem-solving skills and a reassuring attitude.

3) Excellent communication skills

Whether it’s written or verbal, receptionist duties always rely on the ability to communicate in an accurate, clear, and concise way—communication is at the very heart of the role. They may be called on to handle challenging customer interactions which require tact. 

4) Time management pro

It’s not uncommon for receptionists to juggle multiple tasks each day. The most successful receptionists will be those who can prioritise tasks, multitask and manage time impeccably. The role can often be high pressured, and professionals will need to keep a cool head at all times. 

5) A natural organiser

Receptionists are expected to be able to quickly locate what’s needed, whether it’s documents, stationery or digital files. Everything needs to be well organised for quick, easy access. This skill isn’t just about being able to work quickly but also be able to follow processes, make a good impression on visitors and helps the business maintain data security standards. 

6) Dependable

Dependability in a receptionist is essential. Professionals at all levels should be able to feel confident that important calls and messages are being monitored and recorded and that visitors are treated with respect and courtesy.

7) Top interpersonal skills

Almost all core receptionist skills and qualities are reliant on the individual’s interpersonal skills. Top employers will be looking for evidence of this from the very beginning of the interview process.

Why is it important to have the right receptionist skills?

Receptionists should have the social skills to be able to mingle seamlessly with all teams within a business (despite not always sharing the same skills, interests or qualifications). A receptionist is also the first and last person visitors come into contact with, so the quality of their interpersonal skills act as a reflection of the business’ reputation as a whole. If you’re looking for a new role as a receptionist, you should consider how you are able to demonstrate these skills both in person and on your CV.

Would you like help to refine your receptionist CV or to find your next receptionist role? Contact the Robert Half team for expert assistance.

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