Want to land the best front-of-office gigs? Here's what you need
Receptionist jobs in London will vary from company to company, but whether it’s single-handedly manning the desk of a tiny start-up or being part of a team controlling the visitor flow of a huge conglomerate, there are certain qualities that are consistently cited as deal breakers by our clients looking for the perfect candidate to fill the role. Here they are:
Nothing to be alarmed about - clients don’t have wild expectations of specified levels of attractiveness. But what they do ask for more often than not is a receptionist whose image reflects the impression they want to convey to the world. No company - corporate or creative - wants to be known as messy, haphazard and with poor attention to detail. So when you turn up for your interview - whether directly to a company or with a recruitment company you want to put you forward for the best receptionist roles - don’t ruin your chances by showing up with messy hair, chipped nail polish or a crushed shirt. Many clients actually request cabin crew experience, a role in which strong presentation is essential.
What every single company does want to be known as is warm and welcoming, and again it’s the receptionist’s role to make that first impression. Smile, make eye contact, quickly establish what they need from you and get on it. If someone is going to be left waiting, offer them a drink if it’s appropriate. But also, know when it’s not appropriate. Warmth doesn’t mean best-friending everyone that calls or approaches - there’s often a pile of other tasks to get through, and being unnecessarily over-attentive to one caller or visitor might mean you neglect something or someone else. Be friendly to EVERYONE, but part of the skill is knowing how far to engage.
Of course, no matter how polished and friendly you are, that great first impression will quickly diminish if you don’t manage to effectively satisfy whatever request or inquiry the caller or visitor has. That means active listening - establishing exactly what is being asked of you so you can offer the correct information or connect them with the right person within the company - and good articulation, so you can pass the message on without any confusion.
Arguably, the role of a receptionist is there to make communication between the company and the outside world as pleasurable and painless as possible. It’s there to save time - not to make anyone else’s job harder. The desire for a good self-starter is especially prioritised by employers looking to fill temp jobs on reception, as it’s usually to cover absence or a particularly busy period, so it’s unlikely there will be someone there offer extensive training or answer countless questions. Obviously know when it’s appropriate to ask questions rather than risk getting it wrong, but you’re unlikely to impress them if you need constant hand holding.
‘Works well alone or as part of a team’ may be a bit of CV cliche, but it’s also an essential skill of a first class receptionist. That means working well together with anyone else you’re jointly working the reception with to make sure all bases are covered at all times, and also working well with the rest of the company, as requests can come from inside or outside. It’s also not uncommon for a receptionist to be asked to step in and help if there’s an area that is in need of an extra pair of hands and that need is greater than their regular task list, so an attitude of “that’s not part of my job” just won’t cut it with the best employers.
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Tay Associates was established nearly 20 years ago with the mission of being the best recruiter of PA and business support staff in London, and we’ve achieved this by being consistent in our values, attitude and work ethic, but evolving with the market and our clients to stay on top of our game.
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