From Top to Bottom

Posted June 29, 2011 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder

Today, one of my favorite bloggers wrote a post called The Most Important Person in Your Company? and her words are so true. Julie asks companies to recognize that sometimes your most important brand ambassador isn’t your CEO, but your receptionist. When someone approaches your company, the receptionist is the first person they see, and your first opportunity to show who you are as a company.

Julie is exactly right about receptionists! They are the first brand ambassador for a company, and your first introduction to a company’s culture. If a receptionist is pleasant, helpful, and excited to be there, it gives you the impression the company values its employees and they enjoy their work.

On the other hand, you may encounter a receptionist like I did a few weeks ago. I’d arrived for an interview at a large suburban corporate campus. The arrival left me flustered, as the directions I’d gotten from HR took me to the back door of the campus. I then had to navigate my way in 90+ degree heat to the front of the building. Finally finding my way, I approached the receptionist while she was on a phone call. After standing at the reception desk for nearly 5 minutes listening to the receptionist talk with her sister about their upcoming weekend family reunion and BBQ, I finally said, “Excuse me” and was met with a heavy sigh and clear annoyance that I was interrupting her conversation.

This was an example of how a receptionist was the first sign that this company’s culture was not for me. The woman clearly did not take pride in her work, and was only as engaged as she had to be to keep her job. And the rest of the interview reiterated my first impressions, leading me to turn down the job. This is just one example of how receptionists speak volumes about their company. If you’re in transition, trust your instincts and keep your eyes on the details to learn more about a company.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."