April 16

Hiring the right receptionist – Part 3

Over the last couple of posts, I’ve been sharing with you some of the things I do when hiring receptionists to work with Sohovian clients.  Finding the right receptionist isn’t always easy, but you can improve your chances of success if you have a plan.  This is third part in the series. Part 1 talked about preparing by creating a position description. Part 2 gave you some insights into how and where to advertise your role.

Now we’re ready to talk about how to assess your candidates and schedule their interviews.

Shortlisting your candidates

So you’ve advertised the role and the applications have started to roll in.  This is where the hard work begins.  Now you have to sort through those applications and determine a shortlist of good candidates for your interview stage.

If you have used Seek and its screening questions, you’re ahead of the game in terms of sorting through the big pile of applications. All your applications come to you as emails. So I create email folders into which I sort the applications.

Job applications

As I said previously, I ask for a cover letter. The last time I advertised for a position, I received 50 applications in 24 hours. Of those, 13 did not provide a cover letter. So those 13 go into a folder called ‘No cover letter’. The other email folders I set up are:

  • Definite No
  • Maybe
  • Interview

Try not to be concerned about the numbers in the Interview folder until you’ve completed a first pass. The position description and your values statement will guide you through the shortlisting process. Your screening questions are a big help here too. You will know the priority of your screening questions, so look for those who answered positively to your higher priority questions.

There are times that I’ve had to complete two or more passes over the applications, to ensure that I haven’t missed anything.  On completion of the review process, I like to have a shortlist of three to five candidates for interview, with an additional three to five ‘Maybes’.

In reviewing the candidates, I look for certain skills and traits that I know will make a person a good fit in our business. Things that would jump out at me might be past experience with property rentals or even better, serviced office experience. Another important thing for me might be call centre experience. Although our receptionists are not call centre operators, our phones are busy, so the experience of being on the phone for a substantial part of your day can be beneficial in our business.

Call me old-fashioned, but I also look for a stable work history because our business and our clients need ‘keepers’. Training a new staff member takes time and places additional strain on the rest of the team, so you want the person to stay with you for a reasonable length of time.

Schedule your interviews

Schedule your interviews for half an hour slot with a 15 or 30 minute break in between. Be prepared to move the interviews around, particularly if your candidates are already working in another job. Then call each of your shortlisted your candidates to set up the interview. Even in tough times, I still find that one or two don’t answer the phone or return my calls when I leave voicemails. I don’t chase them. Just leave a message. If they’re keen, they will call you back.

For those with whom you do speak, take particular notice of how they answer the phone. Are they speaking clearly? Do they sound confident when they are speaking with you? Set up the face to face interview with them and give them your phone number to call if they are running late.

So now you’re all set to interview your preferred candidates. In my next post, I’ll tell you about how I prepare for and conduct the interviews.

In the meantime, if you believe that your business needs a great receptionist, right now, without all the fuss, then check out  our packages today to see just how affordable our Virtual Receptionists really are.

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