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How to Hire a Receptionist for Your Small Business
May 09, 2018
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How to Hire a Receptionist for Your Small Business

Receptionists can be vital to helping your small business run smoothly because they can do tasks you don’t have time to do as a business owner. Your receptionist is an important position; they’re the first point of contact someone has with your business, in-person or on the phone, and must represent your brand well. In fact, many companies hire this type of position, as there are more than one million receptionists employed in the United States.

In honor of National Receptionists Day, this post will explain how to hire a receptionist for your small business.

The Job Description

All good job postings start with a detailed job description that accurately describes the role’s tasks and expectations. This will eliminate candidates that don’t meet your criteria, and allows you to define exactly what you’re looking for in a future employee. The job description should include:

  • Job title
  • Salary range
  • Statement of purpose and objectives
  • Job description
  • Reporting structure
  • Desired experience and skills
  • Description of the ideal candidate
  • Work location and schedule

According to the LinkedIn blog, in order to attract the best candidates, the job description should connect with people on an emotional level, be attention-grabbing, and describe the job’s influence and opportunities. As a small business owner, you shouldn’t waste money on hiring bad employees, so you must ensure that the best candidates read your job listing and apply.

When you’re ready to share your job description, you can post it on sites such as CareerBuilder, Indeed, or Monster. Those services will cost you money, but you’ll likely find better candidates than posting on Craigslist or other free sites. You can also use a recruiting service that routinely places secretaries at companies.

The Interview

Since receptionists are constantly working with people, you should pick someone with a good personality. While a candidate might look great on paper, they might not be a great communicator in-person, so the interview is key to understanding if they’re a good fit for your team. Ask them questions that give you insight into how they’ll handle sticky situations that may arise with existing clients, potential customers, vendors, and employees. You’ll also want to assess their multitasking ability because they’ll be responsible for completing various tasks at once. Ask how they prioritize tasks throughout the day, and ask for examples of how they stay organized. For instance, perhaps they have implemented organizational systems for other companies, and have ideas on how they can do that for your business.

If you want to assess their skills further, ask them to take skill-based exams, such as a typing test. The average receptionist should be able to type 65 words per minute. This is key if you want them to type messages from clients, or takes notes as you dictate something to them. Another way to gauge their experience is to roleplay answering a phone call. You can pretend to be a difficult client, or ask questions that you frequently receive. By doing this, you can see how they solve problems, and can determine if their personality and demeanor is what you’re looking for.

Qualities to Look For

Staffing company Robert Half suggests recruiting a receptionist that can communicate effectively, and possesses active listening and customer service skills. They’ll be connecting the people that visit your business location with the right employees, so it’s vital that they are a good listener.

In addition, they must also be professional and make a good first impression, so look for a polished and poised appearance. Think to yourself, “is this someone I want my potential customers and employees to meet when they walk in the door?”

Making an Offer

Once you’ve found the perfect person for the job, you must send them an offer letter. Some small businesses only give verbal offers, but a written offer ensures complete expectations for the job. The person you’re hiring will also feel more comfortable leaving their current job if they have a written offer letter.

Hiring the Right Receptionist

Now that you’ve learned about the qualities a good receptionist needs, and understand how the hiring process works, it’s time to find a receptionist for your business. Having this individual on your staff can ensure that your operations run smoothly, and that your customers have a reliable point-of-contact. Good luck on your search!

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at marketing@forafinancial.com.
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