Medical assistance is an evolving career on the rise recently, and the demand for medical assistants has also been increasing. If you want a healthcare career, medical assistance might be your best starting point.
Medical Assistants are healthcare workers that provide support services to physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.
Their duties include clinical as well as administrative tasks, ranging from assisting physicians with bedside procedures to scheduling appointments.
(Also see: Medical Assistant Job Duties)
If you are considering a career in medical assistance, you might be wondering about how to prepare for the interview process.
Read on to explore a few of the most common interview questions employers ask and how you can answer them.
Also see: 12 Reasons to Become a Medical Assistant
Also see: Is Medical Assistant a Good Career?
Medical Assistant Interview Questions
1. Tell us about yourself and your background.
If you are an aspiring medical assistant, this question will give you the opportunity to tell the interviewer all about your educational qualifications, experience, and any other achievements.
The best way to lead this question is to talk about your work ethic and your desire to work in this field to help others. You can also talk about your passion, education, and work experience.
So to best answer this question, start with your name, work experience, positive personality traits, education, and achievements you have had in your schooling at your work.
Also see: Medical Assistant Program
2. Why are you interested in this role?
This question helps the interviewer know what you want from this job and if you are fit for the role. The interviewer will expect the candidate not to answer that they’re interested in this job for the money or because it is conveniently located.
A good tip for answering this question in the best way would be to let the interviewer know why you want to be a medical assistant, why you want to be a part of the company, and why you feel like you would be a good fit for the role.
3. Can you tell me about your experience in medical assisting?
This is one of the most important questions asked by the interviewer. This question will give the employer an idea of how much training you would need as a novice.
Even though having experience working as a medical assistant is optional, having some form of background can make onboarding easier for you.
If you have some experience in medical assistance, you should start by answering what your daily responsibilities included and any additional skills you gained while you were working. (How to get Medical Assistant Jobs with no Experience?)
If you do not have any experience, you can start by discussing how passionate you are about this job role and highlighting any training or relevant experience.
Also see: Medical Assistant Skills
4. What would you say is your biggest strength?
Since each individual comes with their own experiences, backgrounds, and cultures, each will have a different answer to this question. This helps the interviewer figure out your strengths as a medical assistant and your personality.
To best answer this question, stick to stating positive traits you have related to the job, such as being a hard worker.
Avoid stating traits such as your dancing skills or athleticism since that does not help the employer gauge your candidature for a medical assistant role.
5. What would you say is your biggest weakness?
This question is considered to be difficult to answer by most people. This question, however, lets the employer know how self-aware you are and if you are able to address and improve on your weaknesses.
You should be honest while answering this question and also give an example of how you are or will work on improving the weakness you state.
A few common weaknesses that candidates usually state are difficulty taking criticism, being too hard on themselves, being a perfectionist, and being nervous about public speaking, among others.
6. What is your favorite part about medical assistance?
This question helps the interviewer know what you enjoy about being a medical assistant, which also determines whether you would stay at the job for long or get burnt out quickly and quit.
Interviewers always prefer hiring candidates who enjoy their jobs rather than hiring someone who is there for materialistic reasons. You can answer this question by stating why you enjoy being a medical assistant, like interacting with people, helping others, etc.
7. Tell me about a time when you faced a difficult patient and how you handled it.
This is another important question the interviewer asks to gauge whether you can handle customer service duties as well. This also tells the employer how well you can handle stress and pressure and if you are problem-focused or solution-focused.
The best way you can answer this question is to demonstrate that you are solution-focused. You can answer and show the interviewer how you would help de-escalate the situation as a medical assistant and improve the patient’s experience.
Avoid giving a problem-focused answer, as this will only demonstrate that you may blame the patient for any difficulties they face.
8. Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a coworker and how you solved it.
Conflicts between coworkers are quite common in any workplace. Interviewers usually ask this question to gauge how well you can handle a conflict or disagreement with your coworker.
Since employers generally want to hire people that would get along with everyone, you should focus on answering this question with a solution-based perspective.
Also see: Where Can Medical Assistants Work
9. Do you prefer administrative or clinical work more?
Asking whether a candidate prefers clinical or administrative work can help interviewers determine their suitability for a specific role. If a job requires mostly clinical work, someone who loves administrative work may not be happy.
The best way to answer this question as an aspiring medical assistant is to express your interest in working both types of work. You can highlight if you like administrative or clinical work more; however, avoid answering with just one type.
Hiring someone who is willing to do both types of work is what interviewers look for.
Read more on: CMAA vs CCMA here.
10. What computer skills or programs are you proficient in?
This question helps interviewers gauge the amount of training you may require if you get the position.
An ideal answer to this question should include honesty as well as a few details about each program you have used till now.
Also see: Accelerated Medical Assistant Program
11. What do you know about HIPAA, and how do you make sure that you don’t violate the guidelines?
Asking about a candidate’s familiarity with HIPAA guidelines is crucial to determine whether they may require additional training. Violations of these guidelines can result in severe repercussions, making it essential to ensure that new hires are aware of them.
It’s also acceptable by interviewers if a candidate has limited knowledge of HIPAA as long as they demonstrate a willingness to learn, so make sure you’re honest when answering.
Also see: Medical Assistant On-the-Job Training
12. Are you okay with drawing blood?
Medical assistants are often required to be competent phlebotomists. If you are someone who is not good with drawing or dealing with blood, there might be better careers than medical assistance.
Interviewers expect candidates to address if they are okay with needles and blood, even if they need more training.
Also see: Can Medical Assistants Draw Blood?
13. Do you know how to take patient vital signs?
Recording precise vital signs is among the most crucial responsibilities of a medical assistant. Candidates who are well-suited for this role should know how to accurately measure and record blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, spO2, and temperature.
It’s also essential for them to be familiar with the standard values for each of these measurements.
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14. Do you know how to do electrocardiograms (EKGs)?
Interviewers generally gauge whether candidates have prior experience with EKGs or if they need to be trained further. Performing an electrocardiogram (EKG) requires specific expertise, and some certified medical assistants may need help to carry out the procedure.
However, a potential candidate with no experience can still be a good fit if they demonstrate an eagerness to learn.
15. Do you have experience with medical coding and billing?
If you have prior experience with medical coding and billing, it can be a huge advantage for you when you apply for medical assistant jobs.
This is because interviewers can tell that you took relevant steps to up your skills since medical coding and billing are difficult to learn.
16. Are you willing to work nights, weekends, or holidays?
The importance of the question of scheduling availability for a medical assistant job may vary depending on the specific facility and its requirements.
Some employers may have specific scheduling needs or expectations that they need to communicate to potential candidates. It’s important for candidates to be honest about their availability and communicate any potential scheduling conflicts they may have.
17. What is your expected salary?
This question is important in ensuring that both employers and job candidates have realistic salary expectations. Candidates should research average salaries for their experience, education, and location to negotiate a fair wage.
Employers should also be transparent about their salary range to avoid misunderstandings and ensure they attract the right candidates.
See more on: Certified Medical Assistant Salary
Medical Assistant Interview Tips for Job Seekers
Being well-prepared for a medical assistant interview can help you feel less anxious and respond to questions more effectively. You also need to demonstrate confidence, as it is crucial for a successful interview.
Consider the following recommendations to excel in your medical assistant interview:
Preparing answers beforehand for sample questions-
To better prepare for your medical assistant interview, writing down potential answers to sample questions is recommended. This can help you organize your thoughts and feel more confident during the interview.
It’s also a good idea to revisit and review your answers before the interview to help you remember key points. Just like studying for a test, the more you review and practice, the more prepared you’ll be for the real thing.
Use the STAR method for your answers-
The STAR method is a helpful tool for answering behavioral questions in job interviews.
Here’s how you can use it:
– Situation: Describe the situation or problem you faced. Be specific and provide enough context so that the interviewer understands the situation.
– Task: Explain what your goal or task was in the situation. What were you trying to accomplish or resolve?
– Action: Describe your specific actions to address the situation or task. Be sure to focus on your actions rather than what others did.
– Result: Finally, describe the outcome of your actions. What was the result of your efforts? If the result was positive, explain how you contributed to that success. If the result was negative, explain what you learned from the experience and how you would approach a similar situation differently in the future.
By using the STAR method, you can provide a clear and concise answer to behavioral questions that demonstrates your problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and ability to learn from experiences.
Practice your interview with a friend or confidante-
Practicing your interview skills can be very helpful, especially if you do it with a friend. Ask a friend to pretend to be the interviewer and practice answering questions with them.
After the practice interview, discuss what went well and what areas you need to improve on.
Try to practice with someone who is a medical assistant or has experience in the healthcare industry. They can share their interview experiences and give valuable insights into what employers might be looking for.
Research your interviewer and the company you are interviewing for-
Researching the person who is interviewing you can also help you build rapport and establish a connection during the interview. You may find information about their background or interests on the company’s website or social media.
This can help you identify common ground and make a positive impression. Additionally, researching the company and interviewer shows that you are interested and invested in the opportunity, which can set you apart from other candidates.
Arrive on time-
Showing up late for an interview can make a negative first impression on a potential employer. Giving yourself enough time to locate the office, find a parking spot, and gather your thoughts before beginning the interview is important.
It is recommended to arrive at least 20-30 minutes early to ensure you have enough time to find the location, use the restroom, and review your interview notes before the interview starts.
Answer all questions honestly-
It is better to be honest and transparent if you don’t know the answer to a question, and it shows that you have integrity and are willing to admit when you don’t know something.
Asking for clarification is also a good idea, as it shows that you are engaged and interested in understanding the question fully. It’s better to ask for more information than to assume you understand and give a wrong answer.
Additionally, following up after the interview with any information or answers that you may have missed shows initiative and a willingness to go above and beyond.
Have a list of references-
Additionally, it’s good to provide your references with information about the job you are applying for so they can speak to your relevant skills and experience. Be sure to thank your references for their time and let them know you appreciate their support.
Finally, make sure to provide accurate and up-to-date contact information for your references to avoid any delays in the hiring process.
Come up with your own questions-
At the end of an interview, it is customary for the interviewer to ask if the interviewee has any questions. Having one or two prepared questions demonstrates initiative and a strong interest in the company.
Here are a few examples of questions you could ask:
– Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this role?
– How would you describe the company culture?
– What opportunities for professional development are available to employees?
– How does the company measure success and progress within the role?
– Are there any current or upcoming projects that the team is working on that you can tell me about?
– Can you speak to the company’s approach to work-life balance?
– What are some of the biggest challenges facing the team/department/company right now?
– What qualities do you think are important for someone to succeed in this role?
Send thank you notes after the interview-
Sending a brief thank-you note a day or two after your interview is a simple yet effective way to make a good impression and keep yourself top of mind for the interviewer.
Be sure to personalize each note and address each interviewer by name, thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in the position.
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