The lowly receptionist. It can be about as entry level a job as you can get. It is not a position many people would say they aspire to. You greet people. You answer the phone. It’s that simple.
An organization should not minimize the role a receptionist plays. The receptionist at InterVarsity Press says she is in charge of first impressions. And she has been making great first impressions for twenty years–on customers, authors, salespeople, potential employees, board members, and more. Whether it’s on the phone or in person, people are invariably greeted with Audrey’s warm alto voice and equally warm smile. Some of our authors love to call IVP . . . so they can talk to Audrey!
Someone who calls or comes in a grumpy mood can be in a very different disposition after visiting with a great receptionist. Maybe customers will then be more inclined to buy more, or be more at peace before they talk about a problem with an order. Maybe authors will get the idea that this is a place full of great people, the kind of people they’d like to work with. Maybe a job prospect would think the same thing.
What about an emergency? Does your receptionist have the training and the mature presence of mind to deal with the unexpected–which more than likely could occur at the front door of an office?
What about being a helpful source of information? Sometimes visitors will chat casually with a receptionist in a way that could be helpful to managers in evaluating job candidates or in knowing about the customer’s daughter who just got married.
As the saying goes, you can only make a first impression once. A receptionist is often that once.