People travel for work, for fun, and sometimes for the sake of traveling. Meeting new places, seeing new faces, and sometimes simply forgetting the reality of life back home. When they travel, they have to sleep somewhere. In a hotel, hostel, any other sort of accommodation. And there she is–a smiling receptionist, a welcoming face, someone to check them in, show them around, and help them with their requests.

Receptionist is a wonderful job. And though it is poorly paid in most countries, many people still apply. In fact hundreds of interviews for a job of a receptionist take place in big and small hotels all around the world, every single day. And many of them start with the following question: Why do you want to become a receptionist, or “Why you choose front office department?”

It’s not an easy one to answer, since it is not a job of doctor, social worker, firefighter, manager. It’s not an occupation children dream of having once they are old enough to have a job. And yet they ask you to explain your choice… Actually you can refer to a variety of things–your skills and abilities (fitting for the job), your career plan (some position you’d like to have in the future and receptionist is a good start, or a hotel you hope to run), nature of the job itself. Or you can bet on brutal honesty, explaining why you cannot get anything better at the moment.

Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. In my list you will find some examples for each of the scenarios I just described.


7 sample answers to “Why do you want to be a receptionist?” interview question

  1. I just feel it is the right match for my skills and personality. I’ve been always good in listening to people, in understanding their needs. Others generally enjoy talking to me, and I am quick with paperwork and good around computers. What’s more, I love the environment of modern hotels, and it would be great to work in such a place. Everything considered, at this stage of my professional career, I consider a job of a receptionist a perfect choice.
  2. I want to be a receptionist so I can become a hotel manager one day in the future. It may sound ambitious, I know. But in most hotel chains this is how it works–you start from the bottom, from the reception desk. Because that’s the place where things are happening, where you meet people, deal with requests, understand the daily life of the hotel. I believe that once I prove my skills I will get a chance to progress in my career here. And if I don’t, I can always marry a millionaire and open my own hotel in the future…
  3. I just love the nature of the job at the front office. To stand at this beautiful desk, meeting travelers all day, smiling, helping them to get the paperwork done quickly so they can finally relax after a long journey. Being around other charismatic receptionists, and just enjoying the conversations you have all day long–including the few unpleasant conversations, with guests who aren’t satisfied. To me this seems like a perfect idea of something I should do to earn money, and that’s why I am applying for the job with you.
  4. I’ve been working at a reception desk for ten years already. It has become almost my daily routine really, and a lifestyle I cannot complain about. The place where I worked before had to close down, however, so I am looking for a new place to continue in my career of a receptionist, delivering excellent service to the guests daily, helping the hotel to maintain excellent reputation.
  5. Speaking honestly, I simply need any job right now. I’ve been struggling with money, and with my education and lack of experience, I cannot really hope for a miracle. However, I like the job description, and can envision myself working behind the receptionist desk. And I also know that many places here struggle with hiring receptionists, because the pay is low and one has to do night shifts and stuff. But I am totally all-right with that. If you give me a chance here, I promise I will try my best to become a great receptionist.
  6. I’ve always wanted to work in healthcare, but I wasn’t lucky enough to have money to study at the university, to pursue a degree in medicine. But I realized that I can still be an important part of a medical practice–working as a medical receptionist, for example. Sure, I won’t do surgery or save lives. But a receptionist is important in each medical practice, and I will play my part in helping the patients. That’s the reason why I decided to apply for this job with you. I hope you will give me a chance.
  7. To be honest, I just wanted to live in the mountains. I love Swiss Alps, being in the mountains, hiking, running, climbing. But this is a holiday destination and one cannot really afford to live here–unless they run a hotel, or work in one. I believe that a job of a receptionist in this small town is an ideal choice for me. It will allow me to stay in the mountains all the time, and I do not have to pay thousands just for a rent. I can stay here, work here, and in my free time roam the mountains…


Any reason for choosing front office job is better than no reason at all

Hiring managers and hotel managers are not naive. They know how much receptionists earn, and that it isn’t an easy job, especially when one does night shifts and stuff. But at the end of the day, everyone needs a job. And not everyone can manage the hotel…

What I try to convey here is that they do not expect you to be brimming with excitement in the interviews. They know that if you did not have to work, you would not. What they expect, however, is to hear at least some reason why you consider receptionist a good job choice.

It can be your preference of this type of a working environment, some future unrealistic dream you have (running your own hotel one day), a clinging to a habit (you’ve always worked at a reception desk so why would you change it now), or even a simple wish to live and work in the mountains (in some nice holiday destination, something you could hardly afford otherwise)…

Praise their place if you get a chance

Why you want to work as a receptionist is one thing. But why exactly at their place? This question is your opportunity to praise the hotel managers for a good work. Instead of just saying why you want to be a receptionist, you can elaborate on your answer.

For example you can say that you love the way their hotel is organized and managed. Or that the place has an amazing vibe. Perhaps their location is just stunning, or you got mesmerized reading all five stars reviews they got online.

Do your homework. Learn something about the hotel, find something worthy of praise. Then you can refer to it in your answer, and earn some extra points in the eyes of the hotel managers…

Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Check also sample answers to other tricky receptionist interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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