Celebrate great receptionists.

this national receptionists’ day

Many offices are cold buildings composed of bricks, metal, glass and a few coats of paint; opening their doors five days a week, for the purpose of conducting business.

During these days, these buildings come to life because of the employees who use them on a daily basis, filling the corridors with laughter, voices and footsteps that echo in the atmosphere.

One of the first voices you’ll be greeted with upon entering the building is the welcoming voice of the receptionist.

Receptionists are the face of the organisation.

The receptionist is the face of the organisation, they are the first person anyone who enters your establishment sees.

They are responsible for giving the ultimate first impression, acting as a point of contact for both the external and internal world, making sure that both run smoothly and simultaneously.

Receptionists are jacks of all trades.

Receptionists are the heartbeat of the workplace, it is understandable why there is a day dedicated to them and everything they do!

They represent the company and are the first point of contact for the organisation. A good receptionist should be proficient in:

  • Supply management
  • Verbal and written communication
  • Telephone handling
  • Maintaining professionalism
  • Using Microsoft office
  • Customer orientation
  • Being organised
  • Listening
  • Working well under pressure

I found what I wanted to do, and was lucky enough to be able to get a job that incorporated all the things I liked.

Jenny White

Receptionists embody everything.

Randstad UK’s veteran receptionist Jenny White has been with the company for the last 20 years.

She has seen many workers and guests come and go, acknowledging each individual with her signature laugh and smile.

To celebrate Receptionist’s Day we want to dedicate this day to a receptionist close to our hearts. We sat down with Jenny to discuss everything Receptionist-orientated.

Jenny White's 70th Birthday Celebration at the Randstad UK Head Office.
Jenny White's 70th Birthday Celebration at the Randstad UK Head Office.

Jenny has seen many workers and guests come and go, acknowledging each individual with her signature laugh and smile.

To celebrate Receptionist’s Day we want to dedicate this day to a receptionist close to our hearts. We sat down with Jenny to discuss everything Receptionist-orientated.

Q: I think we can all agree you’re a great receptionist. What you do you like about your job?

A: Aww thank you. I like my job because I like what I do. I like the colleagues I work with, I like the people I meet and interact with on the phone - it’s everything really.

Q: What makes receptionist work meaningful?

A: It’s the people that make it great. The reason I like what I do, and what makes it meaningful is the people. I like to help people.

Q: With that in mind are you a people person?

A: Yes (Jenny laughs) 

Q: Jenny, you’re always so upbeat. How do you manage to keep your spirits high every day?

A: Well, I have the best job in the Head Office.

Q: Why do you have the best job in the Head Office?

A: I just really love what I do. I’ve been in other jobs before where I didn’t enjoy going into work every day. I like coming to work every day now.

Q: That’s a huge change, what were you before you became a receptionist?

A: A long time ago I worked for my husband, we had our own business.

Eventually, my husband started to work from home, and I decided to work in retail. I did that for a very long time, but I didn’t enjoy it. I originally worked in offices, then I left to have my children. I was lucky back then as maternity leave was longer - it’s different now. 

Q: What made you decide to be a receptionist?

A: I wanted to do a job I liked rather than one that I had to do. I thought about the bits that I liked the most from retail, which was interacting with people, then I asked the universe what to do. I then thought ‘receptionist’.

I saw the vacancy for this job at Randstad and I thought ‘This is what I want’. It’s been great ever since - I’ve never regretted it.

Q: What do you find the most interesting about your job?

A: In any job, there are things that remain the same, but in reception, it’s different all the time. There’s so much variety, I never know what I’m going to get when someone phones. It’s always a surprise. There are lots of people coming here all the time, I enjoy the variety. I would hate to be doing something else. 

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring Receptionists?

A: You need to like people, that’s the main thing. You need to be happy to help and a good communicator. In my opinion, you need to be a friendly communicator who enjoys meeting people. You can’t be a shrinking violet.

In my role you get a lot of cold callers: as long you’re nice they’ll often be nice back, but some can be quite rude. You have to be quite firm. Think about the person on the other end of the phone and their perspective - whether it’s a cold caller or someone with an enquiry. You must be nice about it.

We’re a recruiter - people ring up about jobs and things, so you have to think about it from their perspective. You want to make people feel welcomed when they come into the building - I think it’s important. I’ve been to a lot of places where I’ve gone to reception and they’re not welcoming, they don’t smile and I just wonder why they’re doing the job.

Q: What’s the most satisfying thing about being a receptionist?

A: When people come in for interviews I chat to them to make them feel at ease. Interviews can be stressful, so I try to help them relax so they will give the best impression of themselves.

It helps both parties as the interviewer doesn’t have to interview someone who is tense and nervous. That’s satisfying to me, knowing that I’ve helped them.

It pleases me to make people feel good about Randstad. Your first impression of a company is very important.

Q: What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?

A: The feedback I get from other people, that’s my reward. When you talk to them it’s the way they respond to you. You asked earlier ‘how do you always stay upbeat?’ - Sometimes you may not feel like smiling: you may not feel good, or you may have a worry at home - but you make the effort.

If you make the effort with somebody and say ‘Hello, how are you this morning?’ and they smile at you, that energy reflects back and it cheers you up. It works both ways. 

Q: What are your main responsibilities as a receptionist?

A: I’d say meeting and greeting, and answering and diverting calls to the right extensions. Some admin is also involved. It’s different in other offices, especially small offices.

I work in the Head Office so I have to know about every operating company, the subsidiaries of the company in the UK and abroad, and what they do.

I get so many calls from clients, candidates, and other organisations that I have to know who to direct them to. Working for a recruitment agency, I have to know all the roles advertised by each sector so I can transfer people to the right team.

I have to know where in the UK I must put them through to - my geography has gotten a lot better since becoming a receptionist! (Jenny laughs)

Q: We have a lot of office locations as you mentioned, how does handling internal calls differ from external calls?

A: There’s a difference between how to speak to someone from one of our branches and how you speak to someone from an external company. I like to think of the branches like family and I have a good relationship with them.

When a company rings I’m friendly but also professional. It’s nice to hear people say ‘I could have rung straight through but I wanted to talk to you first or talking to you has really cheered me up. It makes my day.’

Q: Many would say that you’re the face of the company, you’re the first person they see when they come in - is there a lot of pressure behind that?

A: No, with time I’ve eased into it. I know what’s expected and what I expect of myself. I’d never been a receptionist before so I had to decide what my reception was going to be like by using my own idea of what a receptionist should be.

Jenny’s top tips to being a successful receptionist.

  • Be professional and confidential
  • Try to remain level headed and distance yourself from your emotions when talking to rude people/unpleasant people.
  • Always think about the other person
  • Make time for a conversation where possible
  • Smile!

Receptionists matter.

Receptionists dabble in a little of everything, they’re not only the first face and voice that represents your company. They make everything full circle, they’re a valuable and dependable part of the organisation.

Thinking of becoming a receptionist?

If you’re thinking of becoming a receptionist we’ve got plenty of information to help you understand the job, and excel in your interview. We have plenty of receptionist vacancies and can even help to place you in a receptionist role with the help of our consultants who place receptionists daily.

If you’re already a receptionist, we can help you by giving you tips on how to succeed as a receptionist, how to improve your phone skills and guidance on which skills you should focus on developing.