Talent Nugget: The Value of the Receptionist

Kris Dunn Always Be Closing, Culture, Recruiting

If you want to get upstream as a HR Pro, start reading Seth Godin.  Blog, books (some listed on the side), whatever.  Seth’s a marketing guy who understands the value of the brand in recruiting and talent.

Case in point – One of Seth’s recent posts hits on the value of the receptionist (including value to your recruiting process):Pam_from_the_office_2

"Being a pretty good receptionist is easy. You’re basically a low-tech security guard in nice clothes. Sit at the desk and make sure that visitors don’t steal the furniture or go behind the magic door unescorted.

But what if you wanted to be a great receptionist?

Think the job acceptance rate goes up if the first impression is a memorable one? Think the tax auditor might be a little more friendly if her greeting was cheerful?

So, a great receptionist starts by acting like Vice President, Reception. I’d argue for a small budget to be spent on a bowl of M&Ms or the occasional Heath Bar for a grumpy visitor. If you wanted to be really amazing, how about baking a batch of cookies every few days? I’d ask the entire organization for updates as to who is coming in each day… "Welcome Mr. Mitchell. How was your flight in from Tucson?"

The difference between good and bad in this area is a big deal – no question first impressions make a BIG difference.  Here’s the problem – how do you keep someone in this role when they deliver an experience like Seth describes?  I guess in many cases you don’t, and need to except the fact that you’ll be doing a lot of interviewing for the spot.  My company’s lucky – we have a person who delivers a lot of this and seems happy where they are.

Who do you think of when you think of this kind of front-end talent?  Pam from The Office?  Even she doesn’t seem like she has the ability to go the extra mile that Seth describes. 

Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.