At our London recruitment agency, we know that preparing for interview helps to settle the nerves and ensure you snag the job you want. However, what many overlook is the need to tailor your preparations for the specific office support jobs you are applying for. Here we give you 3 tips for how a receptionist interview differs and how you can prepare to sell yourself successfully.
1. Understand open-ended questions
Most questions you will be asked at a receptionist interview are open ended ones. You need to anticipate these and prepare some points you want to convey through this style of questioning.
For example, you may well be asked to tell the interviewers about yourself. They aren’t in fact wanting to discover you have six cats and love swimming. Instead, they want to know what you are like on the job and what your professional personality is like.
Prepare for this in a receptionist interview by studying the job description in advance and considering what about you matches their requirements. Then use examples from your career history to paint a picture of what you’ll be like working for them.
2. How you handle tricky people
Almost certainly, at a receptionist interview, you will be asked to give at least one example of a time when you encountered a difficult customer, member of the public or service user.
This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you always remain calm, especially under pressure. Partly you need to demonstrate this throughout the interview anyway, but you can also prepare for the interview by calling to mind specific examples you can use.
Prepare an answer that covers all aspects of the interaction including why it was important for you to handle the situation effectively, what happened, the techniques you used and the solution that you facilitated. Take care with how you talk about the difficult customer and never be derogatory. Instead, show that you empathised with them and how this helped to resolve the situation.
There are also some hidden opportunities in questions like this. For example, you can shape your answer to demonstrate how you used particular skills which are being called on in the role, such as switchboard knowledge or particular IT skills.
3. Showcase your professional presentation
As a receptionist, you are often the public face of the organisation. You are usually the first person people see and interact with. As such, the interviewers will be trying to assess if you fit the impression they wish to portray to the outside world.
As such, preparing for the receptionist interview should involve learning a little more about the company and considering what they will be looking for in their receptionist. For example, a high-profile London law firm will be looking for someone with poise, discretion and wearing smart professional attire. However, a media agency may be looking for someone a little more gregarious, light-hearted but fast paced. Consider what this persona should be and cultivate this throughout the interview.
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