The Unassumed Power of the Receptionist

People tend to undervalue and underappreciate the role a Receptionist plays in an organization. For some reason, some people treat the Receptionist differently than they might a manager or an executive in the company. But when you come in for an interview – the Receptionist has a lot more power than you might think they do. Conventional wisdom tells us how important it is to make a good first impression – and the Receptionist is the first person at the company with which a candidate interacts.

As a hiring manager, I ALWAYS ask our Receptionist what she thinks about a candidate she has met. Did they come in demanding coffee, speaking to her in a curt or rude manner that demonstrated an air of superiority? Or did they treat her with respect, asking her how her day is going and making pleasant small talk with her? The way someone interacts with her tells me a lot about the candidate and whether or not they would fit in with our culture.


About MikeSpinale
I'm a people and business partner, an employment brand ambassador, and a career advisor. I am an advocate of HR 2.0 - it's not about the personnel files - it's about bringing on the best talent, ensuring they're in the right seat, and keeping them motivated and growing in their careers. It's not about being the HR police - it's about giving managers the tools they need to effectively lead their teams to greater success. I love to travel, listening to NPR, political banter, social media, foreign languages, and the city of Boston.

One Response to The Unassumed Power of the Receptionist

  1. In many of the start-up companies I worked for, my role was receptionist/administrative assistant/office manager, and most of the managers in these companies would ask me what I thought of the candidate they had just interviewed. In one company, my opinion became official when I was asked to be the first person every candidate interviewed with before being passed on to the hiring manager. I’d be willing to bet this threw some of the candidates for a loop, but none of them said so :-).

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