What questions will they ask you in an interview? How to make a good impression on your interviewers? And what decides the winner at the end of the interviews?
Simply, how to prepare for this challenging experience, and walk away with a new job contract?
You will find the answer on my website that specializes only in medical assistant interviews. My name is Anita Stosur, I have worked for medical recruitment agency H20 for six years, and today I will try to help you to succeed in your interview. Welcome!
Competition in your interview
The popularity of this career has been growing in recent years. Statistics from the past twelve months indicate that in average, more than ten people applied for every single medical assistant job opening, advertised in the United States.
Nevertheless, you should focus only on your interview answers and presence–since that in the only thing you can control. You can not control the answers of other applicants, nor the preferences of the HR managers…. Prepare the best possible interview answers, and ensure you did the most you could to get a job.
What questions will we ask you in an interview?
Typical medical assistant interview starts with a few personal questions. Interviewers try to learn something about your personality, motivation, goals, and they try to asses your communication skills. They will use some of the following questions (click a question to see longer analysis and sample answers to the particular question):
Why did you choose this career? (What do you want to accomplish as a medical assistant?)
Try to focus on your dreams, and strengths that make you a great candidate for the position. Do not talk about your salary, or education, as a reason for your job choice. Try to convince us that you really want to work as a medical assistant, that you did not choose this career just becasue you could not study anything better, or becasue you could not get a better job.
Show us that you consider your job a mission, that you understand the role medical assistants have in healthcare–which is indeed an important one. Speak with enthusiasm about your profession, convince us that you really want to do this work…
You can approach this question in two ways. You can either list the typical duties of a medical assistant (you find them on the job description): Scheduling appointments and greeting visitors of the office, composing dictated letters from the physician, either on a typewriting machine or on a computer, completion and submission of insurance forms, handling telephone and mail and email, patient’s charts typed up etc.
Alternatively you can summarize the duties in a single sentence: Medical assistant should assist the physician with anything they may need in their work, and they should help to maintain a good atmosphere in the medical practice…
Other screening (personal) questions (answers in the eBook)
- Tell me something about your relevant working experience.
- What are your goals? (Where do you see yourself in five years time?)
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why should we hire you, and not someone else?
- What motivates you in this job? (This job is repetitive. What would motivate you to do it well, day in day out, for many years?)
If the interviewers don’t feel good about you, if they do not like your communication skills, or attitude, they will screen you out. In no way should you underestimate this part of an interview… Try to listen carefully to the questions, talk to the point, and show some enthusiasm and motivation to work hard.
Tell me something about yourself
Some interviewers will use just a single personal question, the famous “tell me about yourself” question.
In this case, I suggest you to speak about relevant things, such as your education, experience, attitudes, and values.
You can add a detail or two from your personal life, for example describing what you enjoy doing in your free time. Not that the information matters, but it shows us that you are a human being, and have your life outside of work (healthy life-work balance is crucial for your performance in work).
When the screening part of an interview ends, hiring managers will proceed to ask you some behavioral questions. They will inquire about various situations that belong to a daily job of a medical assistant.
Have a look at the questions below (click a question to see an analysis of the question, and sample answers):
Clinics and hospitals are healthcare institutions, but they are also business entities. Patients are clients nowadays – without them, the institution would not exist. And if they are not happy about the service, they will go and spend their money at another healthcare facility. Your interviewers do not want to see them go…
Try to convince them that you understand the importance of a great service, and that you plan to treat every patient as a customer.
Say that you would apologize, promise a better service to the customer, and that you would try to remember what happened, to learn the lesson, and to deliver a better service next time…
Interviewers try to understand your attitude to work, and to handling pressure. Can you admit your weaknesses? Can you admit that you struggle in work? And do you know how to get over it, so you can continue delivering an exceptional (or at least satisfactory) service to the patients, regardless of the emotions you experience?
It is a behavioral question–you should speak about a situation that has already happened. If you can not recall anything from your past jobs (or perhaps you apply for a first job), talk about a situation from school, or about your preparation for AAMA exams.
Your attitude matters to the interviewers, not the particular situation you narrate…
Mistakes belong to every job–even if health is at risk. It is impossible to live, and to work, without ever making a mistake. Show us that you are aware of your mistakes, and that you have learned from them. For example:
Once I completed a wrong insurance form, and the insurance company did not pay us. I made the manager angry, but I learned from my mistake, I and never repeated it again, always double checking the form…
Other behavioral questions (answers in the eBook)
- Describe a situation when you had to deal with an irate patient (person, customer).
- Give an example of a time you made a point to go above and beyond with customer service.
- Describe a time when you have effectively resolved another person’s request.
Technical (job-related) interview questions
In the final stage of a typical MA interview process, we will try to assess your ability to perform administrative and clinical duties. The following questions will help us with the task (click a question to see sample answers):
Greeting is not only about saying good morning. That’s just the beginning. Good medical assistants should continue with asking about the details of client’s appointment.
Talking a little with the patient before their treatment is a good way to assess their stress level, and their mood. It helps us to understand how to perform the clinical duties in a most appropriate way.
Show us that you understand the importance of details, that you know that every word you say, and every gesture you make, have some impact on the patient…
If you have never completed the form (which is unlikely), try to convince us that you are eager to learn, and that you believe you will handle the task.
If you have an experience with completing insurance forms, you should speak nicely about the experience, and say when you learned to do it. You can even name the principal sections on the form, just to ensure us that you know what you are talking about.
If you have experience with software, such as accounting software, medical practice management software (for keeping medical records and scheduling appointments), word processor (such as MS Word or equivalent), you should tell us how long you have been working with each program, and what you can do with it.
Show us that you understand the importance of the software, and how it can make our work more efficient. You can also say that you are good with computers, and will easily learn to work with any software.
Other technical questions (answers in the eBook)
- Here is a medical record. Can you describe the sections on it?
- Can you prepare an invoice?
- Have you ever performed ECG?
- Have you ever performed phlebotomy?
- What do you imagine when you hear “assistance during physical examination”?
Average is not good enough
I hope that our website has helped you to get rid of stress, and to prepare for some questions we will ask you in your medical assistant interview.
But if you want to be sure you’ll get this job, if you want to be sure you did your best to outclass your competitors in an interview, you should have a look at my eBook, the Medical Assistant Interview Guide.
I will show you winning interview strategies, and multiple brilliant answers to twenty most common medical assistant interview questions.
New job contract, great feeling, and decent salary. All of that is waiting for you at the end of your interview. Will you do everything you can do, to succeed in this interview?
Your Personal Interview Coach, author of the website