Medical assistants play several clinical and administrative roles in hospitals and clinics, which explains their popularity over the years. This article will look at a few questions that you should expect in a medical assistant interview. Kindly go through them and also try to brainstorm a few possible answers.
1. Why are You Interested in this Role?
There are two reasons why an interviewer can ask you such a question-to get you talking or know more about you and, from that information, come up with follow-up questions. Whatever the reason is, ensure that you offer a solid reason to convince the interviewer that you are a good fit.
I love working with patients and assisting them in their diagnosis and recovery journies. I have worked in different faraway health institutions and clinics. However, I feel that it is time to return home and give back to my society, which this job will help me achieve. I will therefore feel honored of given a chance to work here.
2. What are the Roles of a Medical Assistant?
Do you know what your work as a medical assistant is? Can you list all your mandates or what is expected of you in your workplace? Show the interviewer that you understand the job description by mentioning job-specific roles. A look at the job description of this particular position may help.
Some of the roles a medical assistant plays in the workplace include: taking vital signs, recording medical histories, gathering personal information, administering medication if allowed, assisting physicians, explaining procedures, prepping patients for different tests, and handling primary wound care.
3. What are the Qualities that a Medical Assistant Needs to be Effective?
This is another common question that cuts across different positions. The interviewer will always want to know if you understand what it takes to be good at your job. It would be best to mention some of the skills and abilities that have immensely helped you in your line of work. Also, ensure that whatever you mention is relevant to the job at hand.
A medical assistant should have excellent communication and technical skills, given that this job entails many administrative duties. Other qualities are empathy, courtesy, stress management skills, attention to detail, analytical skills, and stamina. ( These are just the primary skills. You can also mention any other relevant qualifications required for medical assistants)
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4. Mention a Challenge that You Encountered in Your Last Role and How You Managed It
This is a chance to show the interviewer that you are a problem solver. Look at all the challenges you faced in your former role and mention the most daring you managed to deal with. You will also get to sell yourself since everyone wants an employee who can solve the challenges that come with the job.
I was mainly stationed in the front office during my previous job and therefore had to deal with irate family members. However, I understood that they were worried about the patients, which turned into anger and desperation. I showed empathy and stayed calm while interacting with them, occasionally assuring them that their family members would be okay. I managed to calm down most of them.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine
What are some of the roles that you perform daily or regularly in your workplace? This is where you get to tell the interviewer that you are conversant with the job. You can mention the daily routine in your former jobs if you have been around for quite some time or find more about this particular clinic or hospital.
My day revolves around preparing, maintaining, and updating patients’ medical records, scheduling examinations or treatment visits, and attending to administrative duties such as answering the phone and sending emails. I also check, maintain, and place orders for different office and medical supplies. ( Note that your answer will differ depending on where you are stationed. The front office and the medical room has different responsibilities)
6. Briefly Describe Your Experience
The interviewer wants an overview of your time as a medical assistant. It would be best to mention anything outstanding in your career that qualifies you for this particular role. These may include some of your achievements, training, workplaces, or roles in this field. Also, point out if you do not have any tangible experience.
I finished my internship program a while back and cannot say that I have lots of experience in this job. However, my training program taught me how to handle lots of clinical and administrative duties in this job. I also got a chance to record and maintain patient information as well as administer injections.
7. Mention a Strategy and Mindset Required for this Role
Tell the interviewer a strategy that has always allowed you to succeed. This can either be a plan or the way you handle your roles. As for the right mindset, mention a belief or way of thinking that guides you as you work.
Given that this job combines both administrative and clinical duties, the best strategy that anyone can adopt is multitasking. It ensures that you can handle everything on your plate and meet the set deadlines. One should also be in a suitable mental space to deal with different patients and family members.
8. Mention the Main Challenge that You Foresee in this Role
Have you identified anything that may prove challenging if you get this job? It would help if you were honest with the interviewer, who may either solve it before you assume office or come up with a plan to make your job easier. You can also mention a possible solution, if any.
The job description dictates that I may be called upon to work anytime, including Sundays, which may be challenging since I consider it my rest day. However, I am sure that we will find a way to work out things if given this chance.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In this Job?
This is an important question whose answer will tell the interviewer what pushes you to be at your best. There are several answers that you can give, including your family. Just make sure that you do not give material reasons.
Having spent most of my early years in and out of the hospital, I feel like I relate to this job. Knowing that I am part of a patient’s recovery journey gives me the motivation to give my best at all times.
10. Mention a Time that You Failed in This Job and the Lesson You Learned
Even though you do not get to make too many errors in the medical field, you must have at least one experience of making mistakes and learning from them. This is where you will prove to the interviewer that you can take accountability for your actions and even learn from them.
I once missed a vein in an attempt to draw blood from a patient, which made him angry on the second attempt. I could feel his frustration and anger and had to ask the physician for help. This experience taught me to always properly locate the vein before drawing blood and ask for help from the physician when vein location is a problem.
11. Why Do You Think You are the Most Suited for this Job?
This is a common interview question that you should always be prepared for. What makes you believe that you deserve the job out of all the candidates. This is not a chance to gain the interviewer’s sympathy but to sell yourself by mentioning your skills and how your expertise will benefit the clinic or workplace.
I am passionate about healthcare, which informed my decision to become a medical assistant. Having spent most of my early years in and out of hospitals, my greatest joy is to help patients in their recovery journeys. I also have vast experience in this field and various skills to help me deal with patients. I am willing to let my passion and respect for the workplace guide me in executing my roles if given a chance.
12. Share with Us Your Greatest Achievement
Do you have a success story that is close to your heart? The interviewer wants to know something you did or happened in your career that you consider your most outstanding achievement. Think about the times you felt successful in this job and mention your most remarkable achievement.
My most outstanding achievement as a medical assistant is helping a cancer patient from her diagnosis to the healing stage. I was there for her, encouraged her, and even took time to visit her over the weekends. She managed to go through all these processes and was finally declared cancer-free. She recently flew back to the country, organized a meetup where she introduced me to her young family.
13. How Do You Normally Uphold Patient’s Confidentiality?
The medical community has a lot of regulations that you should be prepared for. You are barred from sharing any sensitive information about a patient unless under specific circumstances. Your answer should show an in-depth understanding of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, popularly known as HIPAA. Remember, no employer wants a series of lawsuits and a damaged reputation.
I ensure that all patients’ rights are protected, and their information kept private by following the HIPAA guidelines. I interview patients in private spaces and safely handle medical records and information. I also only use secure means when it is necessary to send or discuss patient information.
14. How Do You Normally Deal with Upset Patients?
You will meet different patients in your line for work. Most of them will be uncomfortable or anxious and bombard you with many complaints that you should be ready for. You must therefore be ready to handle all these outbursts gracefully, whether justifiable or not.
I first try to understand the issue by urging them to speak or open up and actively listen before rephrasing their complaint to ensure we are on the same page. I will then empathize and let them know of my concern with their well-being before taking the proper steps based on their complaint and finding a solution.
15. What Experience Do You Have Dealing with Electronic Health Record Software?
This is yet another common question in medical assistant interviews that sheds more light on your general experience in this field. You can name some of the software applications you are well versed in, and if possible, highlight a software the clinic uses. Show that you have vast experience with EHR software and in taking patients’ medical histories.
I do not have any tangible experience in this field, given that this is my first try at a medical assistant job. However, we used a simulation of an electronic health software during my training which had similar components ss the regular software applications used in clinics and hospitals. I also used eClinicalWorks in my place of internship and can confidently say that I have a great deal of experience using the program.
16. How Will You Ensure that You are Following the HIPAA Regulations Regarding Patients’ Privacy?
You need to understand all the HIPAA regulations as a medical assistant and know how to apply them in your work. The interviewer is therefore assessing your grasp of the importance of these regulations and how you normally apply them in your day-to-day operations.
I was trained on HIPAA and saw how medical assistants and even doctors took patients’ privacy seriously in my internship. In this job, I will only use given names to refer to the clients in the waiting area, ensure that examinations rooms are closed before starting conversations and getting clients’ charts out of public views. I will not also discuss a patient’s case with anyone else other than the doctor.
17. What is Your Experience Handling Frint Office Duties?
You should remember that this job also entails several administrative duties such as answering the phone and greeting clients. Therefore, talk about some of the front office jobs you have done or trained to do. Your answer should reveal your administrative skills, proper office training, and the ability to attend to front office tasks.
My training program focused on several office tasks. I have spent a significant part of my career greeting clients and answering phone calls. I can also have fruitful one-on-one interactions with patients, having spent most of my time at the front office during my internship.
18. Take Us Through Your Phlebotomy Training. Can You Draw Blood When Called Upon?
Part of your clinical duties as a medical assistant is to draw blood. The interviewer must therefore find out about your phlebotomy training and how comfortable you are drawing blood. Your answer should reveal comfort with taking blood and patient vitals as well as your phlebotomy experience.
Part of my training focused on drawing blood, which I can comfortably do. I managed to conduct and compete several phlebotomies on my classmates during my school days and a few during my internship’s last stages. (Do not shy away from mentioning a valid experience)
19. What Do You Understand by Good Bedside Manner?
Bedside manner refers to how you interact with patients in your daily work. Remember, your job will be to calm patients who will mostly be stressed and upset. Show the interviewer that you understand the right patient relationships and reveal some soft skills that allow you to be good at your job.
Bedside manner means being honest and direct with my patients while keeping them informed about their statuses and health. I usually focus on my body language when interacting with patients and also pay attention to theirs. I also always ensure that my behavior makes patients comfortable at all times. ( You can go ahead and say more about the body language that you have just mentioned)
20. Share with Us Your Experience Taking Patients’ Histories and Checking Patient Vitals
Your primary job as a medical assistant will be to record patient history and check their vitals. These two will ensure that the patients get the proper care. Your answer should, therefore, clearly detail your experience taking patients’ vitals and recording their medical histories as well as basic medical assistant skills.
My training program taught me everything I need to know about taking patients’ histories which I did during my internship. I have also had the chance to check patient vitals both in my internship and as a student. I am looking forward to more of such experiences.
This brings us to the end of our article. We hope that these twenty questions will put you in a better position than other candidates and help you land the job you want. Also, pay close attention to your body language and the first impression you give the interviewers. All the best!