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A receptionist (sometimes referred to as an administrative assistant) is someone who performs various administrative tasks, including answering telephones and giving information to the public and customers. Receptionists are often the first employee that the public or customer has contact with. They are responsible for making a good first impression for the organization, which can affect the organization's success.
Receptionists typically do the following:
Although some tasks are common to most receptionists, their specific responsibilities vary depending on their work establishment. For example, receptionists in hospitals and in doctors' offices may gather patients' personal and insurance information and direct patients to the proper waiting room. In corporate headquarters, they may greet visitors and manage the scheduling of the board room or common conference area. In beauty or hair salons, they arrange appointments, direct clients to the hairstylist, and may serve as cashiers. In factories, large corporations, and government offices, receptionists may provide identification cards for visitors and arrange for escorts to take visitors to the proper office. Those working for bus and train companies respond to passengers’ inquiries about departures, arrivals, stops, and other related matters.
Receptionists use the telephone, computers, and other electronic devices. Despite the widespread use of voicemail or other automated systems, many receptionists still take messages and inform other employees of the public’s or customers’ arrivals or cancellations of appointments. When they are not busy, receptionists are usually expected to help other administrative employees by doing a variety of office tasks.
Although receptionists work in almost every industry, many are concentrated in healthcare and social assistance, including physicians' offices, hospitals, and nursing homes. Receptionists who greet customers and visitors usually work in areas that are highly visible, clean, well-lit, and relatively quiet. Most work in a comfortable office setting.
The work that some receptionists do may be tiring, repetitious, and stressful as they may spend all day answering continually ringing telephones and sometimes encounter difficult or irate callers. Some receptionists, including those who work in hospitals and nursing homes, may have to work evenings and weekends.
Receptionists generally need a high school diploma or its equivalent. Most receive their training on the job. They learn how to operate the telephone system and computers and learn the proper procedures for greeting visitors. While many of these skills can be learned quickly, those who give information to the public or customers may need several weeks to learn details about the organization.
Employers often look for applicants who know spreadsheets, word processing software, or other industry-specific software applications. Some employers may prefer applicants who have some formal office education or training.
Although hiring requirements vary by industry and employer, receptionists typically need a high school diploma and good communication skills.
The duties vary as per the place of work, but the primary duty of a receptionist is to greet the customers and communicate with them and answer their queries.
The impression that the receptionist will have on the customers, is the impression that the customers will have towards the organization and its people. Be it in person, or via telephone, a receptionist shoulders a huge responsibility in creating goodwill of the organization.
In earlier days, a receptionist was responsible only for a few tasks that included answering calls, forwarding them to respective departments, receiving and sending mail, taking care of correspondence, welcoming visitors and tending to their needs. Today, with technological development and increase in scope, the duties of a receptionist have undergone tremendous change.
The receptionist represents the public face of a business. She is often the first person a customer sees or the first voice he hears over the phone. Because of this, it is important that the receptionist conducts herself in a professional manner to give customers a good first impression.
When you become a receptionist, you become the warm and welcoming face that represents an organization. The receptionist is the first point of contact for clients, and also the person that both staff and customers turn to for assistance.
Receptionists work in a range of industries or work environments. Each has specific job requirements, but you can position yourself for success as a receptionist in virtually any setting.