Being called for a medical assistant interview is both exciting and stressful. The process can be much easier, however, if you have a good idea of what to expect and are prepared to answer even the most difficult questions with poise and confidence. Here are some of the common medical assistant interview questions along with tips on answering to help you be well prepared for your big interview.
List of Typical Medical Assistant Interview Questions
Remember, these are typical questions gathered from different medical assistant interviews. There will always be different questions, depending on your location and the type of position you’re applying for. Your mileage may vary.
How much experience do you have with patients?
- Be very honest and clear with your answer. If you have past experience on the job, state the number of years you have worked. If you are a recent graduate, detail how long you served in an externship as well as any relevant volunteer experience you have. Explain how you have interacted with patients and make sure to emphasize that you are completely comfortable working with patients of all ages and backgrounds.
How would your former employer describe you?
- In all likelihood, the interviewer will actually speak with your former employer so honesty is key. Answer as confidently and positively as possible and list all of the positive things your past employer would recognize about you. Do not make the mistake of simply saying you are responsible, organized, and dependable. Instead, include traits that are directly related to your work as a medical assistant, such as the ability to handle stressful situations and difficult patients, the way you kept meticulous records, and more.
Do you like being around people?
- People skills are a necessity for medical assistants. When answering this question, be sure to show that you enjoy interacting and working with others and that you also derive great enjoyment from helping others. This will show that you are a team player and that you would be a valuable team member.
Are You a ‘People’ Person?
- Although it may be phrased a little differently, the gist of this question is clear: Do you like being around people? If you don’t, being a medical assistant isn’t a good fit for you. After all, you’ll be working directly with patients throughout the day. It helps a lot if you sincerely like interacting with them. While answering this question, make sure to mention that you like helping people too. This will drive home the point that you are a talented medical assistant and would be a valuable part of the team.
Do you have good computer skills?
- It is becoming increasingly important for medical assistants to be knowledgeable about computers. If you are a long-time computer user with experience with different software applications, mention it. It is also a good idea to mention any other computer skills you have, such as a high typing rate, website creation, and more.
Describe a difficult experience with a patient and how you handled it.
- This is a question that cannot be properly answered without preparation. Have a story ready about an experience you have had. Do not make up a story, but be sure to play up the most positive aspects of the experience to show that you know how difficult some patients can be but that you are more than capable of handling any situation with professionalism, compassion, and efficiency.
What do you like least about being a medical assistant?
- Never, ever use this question as an opportunity to complain. A better approach is to state that you wish your responsibilities were not as limited so you could provide more assistance to the doctor. Be prepared to provide an example that supports your answer.
Have you assisted with any medical office procedures?
- Even if you are a fresh graduate, you likely have some experience as an extern. Prepare for this question in advance by thinking of all procedures in which you have assisted. When answering the question, give a detailed but succinct account of your experience and your contribution to the experience.
What is the most important part of counseling patients?
- In your job, you will likely be responsible for providing a great deal of patient counseling. Make sure your answer includes the need to listen to the patient, to allow the patient to ask questions, and to show empathy when dealing with patients and families while providing detailed, accurate information.
How do you protect the rights and confidentiality of patients?
- This is the perfect opportunity to impart your knowledge of HIPAA. Your answer should show that you are very knowledgeable regarding regulations and that you place patient rights and confidentiality at the top of your priority list as a medical assistant. If you are at all unclear about HIPAA regulations, be sure to study the material thoroughly before rehearsing your response.
What have you done to reduce costs, increase revenue, or save time?
- Even if your only experience is an externship, you have likely created or streamlined a process that has contributed to the earning potential or efficiency of the practice. Choose at least one suitable example and explain how you got the idea, how you implemented the plan, and the benefits to the practice.
How do you work toward becoming better as a medical assistant?
- Do you regularly read professional journals? Are you a member of a professional organization? Are you taking classes to earn additional certifications? If so, detail all of your efforts and explain how you feel the efforts will improve your skills and allow you to contribute more fully to your profession.
What makes you right for this position?
- This question can be tricky because you need to show your worth without sounding cocky or arrogant. Research the business ahead of time and become familiar with its mission and values. Take the time to figure out how your personal qualities fit the needs of the business and use that fit to provide your answer.
What schedule do you hope to work? Are you willing to work extra hours?
- Be honest. If you really want the job and are willing to work any schedule needed, say so. If, however, you have no intention of working late hours or weekends, simply let the interviewer know the hours that you are available to work. The same applies to extra hours. You are more likely to be hired if you are willing to work any time you are needed. However, saying that you are willing and then complaining about the hours once you start working is a recipe for disaster.
What are your weaknesses?
This is listed as the most difficult interview question by the majority of medical assistants. After all, who wants to list a negative about themselves when trying to get a job? The ideal way to answer this question is to list a negative that is also a positive, especially to the employer. Here are some great sample answers to this tricky question:
- I dislike having incomplete tasks. I often strive to complete work and tasks ahead of the deadline.
- I have a high need for organization, so I devised my own time management system to ensure that things are running smoothly at all times.
- I tend to be a perfectionist, so I sometimes spend a bit too much time checking my work for accuracy. However, I have set up a system that will ensure that I get things done correctly the first time. This allows me to complete my tasks efficiently and accurately.
Medical assistant interview are conducted much the way as other interviews. Make sure you dress professionally, are polite and courteous to everyone you meet, and that you are punctual. By doing this and being prepared to answer even the most difficult questions succinctly and with confidence, you can be sure that your interview will be successful.