15 Common Interview Questions for Receptionists

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 9 November 2022

Published 1 July 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.

A receptionist can manage an organization's administrative and organizational needs. To prepare yourself for a conversation with a potential employer, you can review interview questions for receptionist jobs to increase your chances of getting hired. In this article, we discuss 15 commonly asked receptionist job questions and provide examples for answering them.

Related: Phone Interview Tips to Get You to the Next Round

Top 15 interview questions and how to answer them

Here are the top 15 receptionist job interview questions that help the employer learn more about your personality and compatibility for the role:

1. What characteristics make a quality receptionist?

As representatives of a company, receptionists are the client's first point of contact and aim to keep the business running smoothly. Employers ask this question to see whether you meet the requirements of the job description.

Example: “An excellent receptionist is exceptionally organised with the ability to multitask. They will effectively communicate verbally and in writing with colleagues and clients. A receptionist is the face of an organisation and therefore must be a dependable figure and work effectively within a diverse team of professionals.”

2. What programs and software are you most experienced using?

Receptionists become acquainted with a wide variety of programs and software. At a receptionist job interview, the employer may expect candidates to have used Microsoft Office at a minimum. Ensure you outline all software, including specialist applications used for calendar management, accounting, databases, and communications.

Example: “I am highly proficient at using Microsoft Office 365 suite including Access, Excel, Outlook. I also utilized specialist programs such as Google Drive and Slack to communicate with my peers. I am always keen to expand my knowledge of new software.”

3. How would you work toward creating a good first impression for clients?

The interviewer may ask this question to understand how you approach clients in person and on the phone. Communicate to the interviewer that you aim to make others feel welcome and uphold company standards. Provide examples of how you have done this in the past.

Example: “I implement a welcoming attitude in my approach to every customer. When communicating with customers through the phone, I make sure I speak clearly and gain a total understanding of their needs. I continually aim to strengthen my relationship with customers and show them the importance of customer service to the business.”

4. Describe what strategy you took to multitask workloads?

The hiring manager needs confidence that you can handle multiple workloads. Explain your ability to perform efficiently on busy days while maintaining a high level of customer service.

Example: “I successfully demonstrated my ability to multitask in my previous role daily. An example of this was an occasion when we reached a peak amount of visitors. I handed out and recorded numerous documents while scheduling future visits. In the meantime, I responded to important emails and communicated with customers on the phone. I maintained a friendly and professional approach despite the intense work environment.”

5. Can you provide an example of how you handled a situation with a challenging client?

As a receptionist, you may face situations of conflict due to a dissatisfied customer. Interviewers need someone who can remain confident and professional.

Example: “During my previous retail job, I dealt with a customer who became aggressive when we could not provide a refund in compliance with the company return policy. Although they became loud, I kept a consistent voice not to escalate the situation. Instead, I politely offered alternative solutions, which calmed them down. The customer left satisfied with my resolution.”

6. What do you know about the work we do?

Interviewers ask this to see if you've shown genuine interest in the company before the interview, as receptionists can represent the organisation.

Example: “I know that the company was founded in 1938 by Noah Wandsworth and truly admire the company's commitment to constantly evolving. I think that growth and innovation are key aspects of our industry. I also noticed the company's expansion with the opening of new facilities.”

7. What is your typing speed?

This is one of the most common receptionist job interview questions. Interviewers ask this question to understand how quickly you work. If you are unsure of the answer, try to gauge how fast you can type and insert data. Aim to test yourself before the interview in preparation.

Example: “A year ago, I successfully typed 68 words per minute with a very low rate of errors. However, I do believe that in the past year, my levels have increased. I'd be more than happy to undertake an online assessment and provide the results straight after the interview.

8. Explain how you stay organised?

Highlight your time management and organisational skills, along with your ability to prioritise tasks depending on their urgency.

Example: “I start my day by creating a checklist of primary tasks such as responding to emails and answering customer questions in line with their priority. I work methodically and can flexibly adapt should a new urgent task come into place.”

9. What were your primary responsibilities in your past role?

The interviewer may wish to find out what relevant experience you have. You can outline your key responsibilities and how you successfully undertook them.

Example: “I was primarily responsible for greeting customers in-person and on the telephone, managing office files and maintaining a strong line of communication throughout the office. I successfully carried out my tasks in a fast-paced environment, proactively attending developmental training to improve my skills.”

10. How would you protect the privacy of clients?

Ensure you communicate your ability to handle sensitive client information and only use it where necessary.

Example: “In previous roles, I was trusted to handle sensitive consumer information in compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles (APP). I protect private details by efficiently using passwords and only accessing information when necessary.”

11. Are you willing to work overtime?

Specific receptionist jobs in the medical or law sectors may require overtime to cover all customers. Let the interviewer know that you are reliable and committed to the company.

Example: “I understand that during periods of high demand, customers may need appointments later in the day. Therefore, I am happy to work overtime.”

12. Explain what makes you a qualified receptionist?

When curating your answer, think of which personality traits help you carry out a clerical role effectively. Include any external courses you have undertaken that helped you accomplish a high level of work.

Example: “Since starting a receptionist role three years ago, I have learnt how to deliver outstanding customer service, which has strengthened my ability to communicate effectively. I have a thorough technical understanding of the necessary software needed to carry out my tasks.”

13. What are your greatest strengths in office work?

Take the opportunity to outline elements of the receptionist job where you excel. Emphasise the soft and specialised skills you have utilised in an office setting.

Example: “My ability to connect with new people and make them feel welcome is one of my greatest strengths. I use a colour-coded system to stay on top of tasks and messages, demonstrating my organisational strength. I thrive in a high-pressure situation; it motivates me to put more into my work.”

14. How do you communicate effectively with colleagues and clients?

Use this question as an opportunity to emphasise your communication skills. For example, outline how you deliver memos, construct emails and liaise with customers.

Example “I always ensure the right message and correspondence are sent to the correct person on time. I answer all questions to the best of my ability and speak professionally.”

15. What makes you the best candidate for the position?

This is your chance to leave a memorable impression on your interviewer. Reflect on some of your best attributes and professional strengths. Make sure you mention other achievements or information you could not provide in your other answers.

Example: “If you select me, I will become a constant source of motivation for the team while making all clients feel as welcome as possible. I believe my in-depth technical skills put me at an advantage and am confident that I can implement my excellent work ethic into the company.”

Related: Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

How do you prepare for a receptionist interview?

Conducting research on the company you have received a receptionist job interview is the first step you can take in preparation. Check out the “about” page on the organisation's leading website for relevant information. You can also run the company's name into a search query to pull any news, facts and charitable contributions.

Arrive at the interview equipped for anything the interviewer asks by looking up common receptionist interview questions. Prepare at least three questions to ask your interviewer as it demonstrates enthusiasm and a genuine interest in the job.

Related: 9 Best Questions To Ask Your Interviewer

What are the qualities of a good receptionist?

Here are some of the essential qualities of a good receptionist:

  • Ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing

  • Performs an exceptional level of customer service

  • Possesses excellent organisational skills

  • Remains calm under pressure and thrives in a fast-paced environment

  • Shows empathy towards others and can effectively diffuse conflict

  • Possesses a familiarity with Microsoft office

Related: 10 Best Skills To Include On A Resume

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

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