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Hiring a Front Desk Receptionist: Job Description Template

By Ammar Ahmed


A first impression is a lasting one. It only takes 7 seconds for someone to form an initial judgment about your company, and often, it’s your front desk receptionist who sets that tone. Yet, businesses report they struggle to find the right candidate for this pivotal role.

Why is hiring the perfect receptionist so crucial? And more importantly, how can you streamline the process to ensure you secure the right talent?

This guide will break down the hiring process and provide a detailed job description to help you find the ideal front desk receptionist for your organization.

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Responsibilities & Role of a Front Desk Receptionist

The Front Desk Receptionist serves as the face and voice of a business, creating the first impression for clients and guests. In this essential role, they balance a variety of responsibilities, tailored to the specific needs and culture of the organization.

Here’s a brief overview:

  • Greeting and Welcoming: Greets visitors, answers queries, and directs them appropriately.
  • Communication Management: Handles calls, emails, and mail, ensuring prompt and professional delivery.
  • Administrative Support: Assists with tasks like data entry, filing, and office supplies management.
  • Security and Compliance: Monitors entry points, maintains visitor logs and ensures security compliance.
  • Customer Service: Addresses concerns, provides information, and fosters positive client relationships.

How to Hire a Front Desk Receptionist

1. Understanding Your Front Desk Receptionist Needs

Defining the role and requirements for a Front Desk Receptionist goes beyond merely listing the tasks. It’s about understanding what qualities, skills, and attributes are essential for success in the position. 

  • Define Responsibilities: Map out the day-to-day functions. This will give you a clear picture of what the role involves and what your company needs. By specifying these duties, you will also craft a solid job description.
    This involves outlining specific responsibilities, such as managing calls or scheduling, and identifying necessary qualifications like prior experience or technical abilities. By crafting a clear and targeted job description, you’re more likely to attract candidates that fit the role.

Think of this step as laying the foundation for your hiring process, setting the criteria against which all applicants will be evaluated.

2. Search for the Top Talent

Advertising the position effectively is a multifaceted task that requires a strategic approach.

Here’s how you can make it more practical:

  • Job Boards: Post the vacancy on popular job portals such as Indeed, Glassdoor, or Monster. Tailor your job posting using our description template below.
  • Social Media: Leverage platforms like LinkedIn to reach professionals in your industry. Crafting a post that highlights the role’s unique aspects and sharing it with relevant groups can create buzz.
  • Networking: Reach out to colleagues, partners, or acquaintances in the industry. For instance, attending local business meetups or joining professional forums can help spread the word. A recommendation from a trusted peer can lead to a candidate who’s a perfect fit for your organization.
  • Employee Referral Programs: Encourage current employees to refer qualified candidates by offering incentives. This not only increases the chances of finding a suitable candidate but also fosters a sense of involvement among your staff.

Remember, it’s not about finding a lot of candidates; it’s about attracting the right candidates.

3. Looking for Professional Qualification

  • Educational Background: Though a high school diploma is generally considered the minimum educational qualification for a front desk receptionist, having a candidate with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a field like communications, business administration, or hospitality management can add value. Such education can offer a better grounding in customer service skills and administrative tasks that go beyond the basic requirements.
  • Certifications: Keep an eye out for candidates who have undergone specialized training or certifications like the Certified Professional Receptionist (CPR) from the National Receptionists Association. Such certifications indicate a commitment to the profession and provide evidence of skills in telephone etiquette, office technology, and customer service.
  • Technical Proficiency: In today’s digital age, a front desk receptionist needs to be tech-savvy. Proficiency in office software like Microsoft Office Suite and scheduling software like Calendly or Doodle is essential. Some businesses may also require knowledge of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software or specialized in-house programs.
  • Multi-Language Proficiency: If your business frequently interacts with non-English speaking clients or has a global presence, look for candidates who are fluent in multiple languages. This is not just a ‘good-to-have’ but often a necessity in diverse settings.

In summary, when hiring a front desk receptionist, it’s essential to scrutinize each candidate’s professional qualifications with a fine-toothed comb. By doing so, you can ensure that the individual you hire is not only competent but is the perfect fit for your specific industry and organizational needs.

4. Analyze Their Work Experience

Hiring a front desk receptionist with relevant work experience can be a significant asset for your organization.

Here’s how you can discern the suitability of a candidate’s professional background:

  • Duration and Relevance: Check how long candidates have worked in similar roles. Experience should not be measured merely in years but in relevance to the tasks your front desk receptionist will handle. If they’ve spent two years at a busy city hotel front desk, they might be more equipped for high-pressure situations than someone who has spent five years at a less demanding workplace.
  • Nature of Previous Employments: Review the industries in which the candidates have previously worked. Each industry has unique demands from its front desk staff. A receptionist from a healthcare background may be more adept at handling sensitive personal information, whereas one from a corporate setting may be proficient in professional correspondence and appointment scheduling.
  • Progression of Responsibilities: Ascertain whether the candidate has shown a progressive increase in responsibilities in their prior roles. This can demonstrate a capacity to learn, adapt, and take on more duties—traits desirable in any employee.
  • Performance Metrics: If available, look for quantifiable achievements listed on the resume. Phrases like “managed a multi-line phone system with a 98% customer satisfaction rate” or “coordinated appointment scheduling for a team of 20 professionals” offer measurable proof of capability.
  • Special Projects: Find out if the candidate has undertaken any special projects or initiatives that go beyond the basic job description of a front desk receptionist. For example, did they spearhead a client engagement program or play a role in upgrading the office’s record-keeping systems? Special projects indicate a willingness to take the extra step and show initiative.
  • References and Recommendations: Don’t overlook the importance of references. A glowing recommendation from a previous employer or a senior colleague can attest to a candidate’s professionalism, skills, and suitability for your organization’s specific needs.

Evaluating work experience thoroughly will not only help you identify candidates with the most relevant skill set but will also give you insights into their potential for future growth and adaptation to your organization’s unique demands.

5. Conduct a Comprehensive Interview Process

Interviews provide an opportunity to assess a candidate’s interpersonal skills, attitude, and cultural fit. Crafting a combination of behavioral and situational questions using the STAR method which is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. It can provide deeper insights into how a candidate might respond in real-world scenarios. 

Focusing on transferable skills is often key, especially since most receptionist roles typically require a high school diploma and short-term on-the-job training, as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Some examples of questions you can ask the receptionist might include:

  • “Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult client. How did you handle the situation?” (A behavioral question focusing on conflict resolution)
  • “How would you prioritize multiple tasks, such as answering the phone, greeting clients, and scheduling appointments?” (A situational question that explores multitasking abilities)

Qualifications might not be as emphasized as actual skills and experience, making the evaluation of transferable skills and adaptability essential in the selection process. 

6. Cross-Verify Their References

Reference checks are a fundamental part of the hiring process, ensuring the candidate’s experience, reliability, and professionalism are validated:

Speak with former supervisors to understand the candidate’s work ethic, strengths, and areas for improvement.

Here are the three most important you should ask while contacting their references:

  • Can you speak to the candidate’s ability to manage high-stress situations and prioritize tasks?
  • How would you rate the candidate’s interpersonal and communication skills?
  • Is the candidate proficient in using office software and tools relevant to front desk operations?

By focusing on these three questions when contacting references, you’ll be better equipped to assess the candidate’s suitability for the role of Front Desk Receptionist at your organization.

Tips for Avoiding Red Flags During the Hiring Process of a Front Desk Receptionist

The hiring process is not just about spotting the right talents; it’s also about recognizing potential red flags that could indicate a poor fit for your organization. Here are some tips on how to navigate those warning signs when hiring a Front Desk Receptionist.

  • Inability to Multi-task During Simulated Scenarios: Consider incorporating a real-time, simulated task into the interview process where the candidate has to juggle a phone call, appointment scheduling, and a general inquiry. A struggle to manage these tasks fluidly should raise a red flag, as multi-tasking is a core skill for any Front Desk Receptionist.
  • Lack of Industry-Specific Terminology: Pay attention to the candidate’s familiarity with the specific jargon of your industry, be it healthcare, legal, or hospitality. If the candidate seems to lack understanding of basic terms or procedures, this could indicate a steep learning curve that may hamper efficiency.
  • No Prior Experience with Relevant Software: Front Desk Receptionists often need to use industry-specific software—like patient management systems in healthcare settings or reservation software in hotels. If a candidate has no experience with the types of programs your business uses, this could be a red flag, unless they can demonstrate a fast learning curve with similar technologies.
  • Unfamiliarity with Crisis Management: Ask about experiences where they had to handle a crisis or emergency situation—like medical emergencies, security issues, or irate clients. A lack of such experience or a poor approach to hypothetical crisis scenarios can be a red flag, especially for high-stakes environments like medical offices or security-sensitive locations.
  • Weak Telephone Etiquette: Take note of how they answer the phone or simulate a phone-based task during the interview. Front Desk Receptionists often serve as telephone operators and gatekeepers; poor telephone etiquette should be considered a red flag for this profession.

By watching out for these profession-specific red flags, you can be more assured in your hiring decisions and more likely to find a Front Desk Receptionist who is well-suited for your particular industry and work environment.

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Front Desk Receptionist Job Description

Crafting an engaging and informative job description for a Front Desk Receptionist position is pivotal in attracting the right talent. A clear and concise job description not only outlines the responsibilities and requirements but also conveys the company culture and values.

According to a study by Glassdoor, 76% of job seekers want details about what makes a company an attractive place to work. 

Here’s what an attractive job description looks like: 

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Job Title: Front Desk Receptionist

Company: [Your Company Name]

Location: [Specify the location and any relevant details such as remote work options or required on-site presence.]

Salary: [$XX,XXX – $XX,XXX] (Optional, but can help to attract the right candidates)

About Us:

[Company Name] is a [describe your industry and niche, e.g., healthcare provider, high-end hotel, corporate office] dedicated to [your mission or core values, e.g., providing excellent customer service, delivering top-notch healthcare, fostering innovation]. Located in [Location], we pride ourselves on creating an inclusive and dynamic work environment that fosters professional growth and job satisfaction.

The Opportunity: 

We are seeking a professional and highly motivated Front Desk Receptionist to be the face of our organization. This position offers an opportunity to grow and contribute to an industry-leading team while being the first point of contact for our valued clients, visitors, and stakeholders.

What You’ll Do:

  • Greet and direct visitors, answering general inquiries in a courteous manner.
  • Manage multi-line phone system, fielding calls and forwarding them to appropriate departments.
  • Handle incoming and outgoing mail, including courier services.
  • Assist in appointment scheduling using [specific scheduling software].
  • Coordinate with internal departments for facility management tasks.
  • Maintain cleanliness and orderliness in the reception area.
  • Utilize for various front desk operations.
  • Respond to emergency situations with composure and direct them to appropriate teams.
  • Assist with administrative tasks such as data entry, filing, and inventory management.

What You’ll Bring:

  • High school diploma; Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree preferred.
  • Minimum of [X] years of experience in front desk roles, ideally within [your industry].
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and [any other relevant software].
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to manage stressful situations and remain calm under pressure.
  • Multilingual proficiency is a plus.

Our Ideal Candidate is Someone Who Has:

  • Strong organizational and multitasking skills.
  • A warm and welcoming demeanor with an emphasis on customer service.
  • Experience in crisis management and problem-solving.
  • Familiarity with  [Industry-Specific Terminology].
  • Willingness to adapt to varied work shifts, including weekends and holidays, if applicable.

Benefits and Perks:

  • Competitive salary commensurate with experience and qualifications.
  • 401(k) with company matching to support long-term financial security.
  • Opportunities for ongoing training, workshops, and career advancement.
  • Generous paid time off, including holidays and personal days.
  • Discounts on company products or services and partnerships with local businesses.
  • Etc…

How to Join Us:

If you are enthusiastic about joining a team committed to excellence and innovation, we invite you to apply! Please send your resume and a cover letter detailing your relevant experience and explaining why you are the best fit for this role to [email/application portal].

Deadline for Application: [Insert Closing Date]

Note: This template is comprehensive, covering all the essential elements that make for an appealing and informative Front Desk Receptionist job description. It’s designed to attract the right candidates while providing a clear and engaging overview of the role and expectations. Feel free to adjust it to suit your specific needs and company culture!

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Front Desk Receptionist?

Hiring a Front Desk Receptionist involves several costs beyond the salary. It’s vital to consider the entire recruitment process, including advertising, interviewing, onboarding, and training.

Recruitment Costs

When looking to hire a Front Desk Receptionist, there are several channels through which you can source candidates, each having its own cost implications.

  • Recruitment Agencies: Utilizing recruitment agencies can help access quality candidates more easily. They simplify the hiring process but charge fees typically ranging between 15% and 25% of the receptionist’s first-year annual salary. The fee can vary based on the agency’s reputation, specialization, and the intricacies of the hiring process.
  • Job Board Advertising: Platforms like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn offer direct approaches to sourcing candidates. They operate on varied pricing models, from pay-per-click systems to fixed rates, costing anywhere from $50 to $500.
  • Screening and Interviewing: Includes time for reviewing resumes, conducting interviews, and pre-employment testing. The average cost-per-hire can be around $4,129 according to SHRM.

Salary and Benefits

Understanding both salary and benefits is crucial when hiring a Front Desk Receptionist.

  • Salary: The median wage for receptionists is $29,950 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with hourly averaging around $14.40/hour. But this can vary based on experience, location, and industry.
  • Benefits: Beyond salary, benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off can add an additional 20% to 40% to the total compensation package.

ROI of Hiring a Front Desk Receptionist

While the immediate financial returns of hiring a Front Desk Receptionist may not be apparent, the value they bring to an organization transcends mere numbers. The ROI in this role can be considered through various non-monetary facets:

  • Customer Satisfaction: Receptionists are often the first point of contact for anyone engaging with the organization. A warm welcome and efficient handling of inquiries can set the tone for a lasting relationship. The goodwill generated here can translate into customer retention, loyalty, and ultimately, more business.
    Research, including a survey conducted by American Express, has shown that consumers are willing to spend 17% more with companies known for exceptional service, up from 14% in previous years. The role of a Front Desk Receptionist, therefore, contributes directly to boosting the bottom line through enhanced customer satisfaction.
  • Brand Image: The receptionist is often the first human touchpoint for clients, visitors, or potential hires. Their conduct and demeanor reflect the company’s values and culture, thereby shaping the public perception of the brand.
  • Risk Mitigation: By skillfully managing sensitive information and following proper protocols, a receptionist can reduce the risk of security breaches or mishandled data, potentially saving the organization from legal complications or reputational damage.

While it might be challenging to quantify these factors precisely, the strategic importance of a Front Desk Receptionist should not be underestimated. Their multifaceted role serves as a nexus that connects various aspects of the organization, from the clients to the employees, from the brand image to operational success.

Investing in the right candidate is not just a monetary decision; it’s an investment in the company’s image, culture, efficiency, and overall growth. The returns here are manifold and vital, making the role of a Front Desk Receptionist a key asset in the success and sustainability of any modern organization.

Ammar Ahmed

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