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Prepare for a Medical Assistant Interview

Prepare for a Medical Assistant Interview

The key to success in interviewing for a medical assistant job is matching your interview answers to the specific needs of the medical practice. To that end, expect interview questions about your hard skills and practice-specific knowledge as well as questions designed to uncover whether you’ll be a good fit for that practice. Here’s a guide to help you prepare for your next medical assistant job interview. 

Hard-Skills Questions 

Typical questions about hard skills include: 
  • Are you a certified medical assistant? 
  • What experience do you have with Medent (or other electronic medical records software)? What have you used that software to do?
  • What other software are you proficient with?
  • Which insurances have you billed?
  • Tell me about your HIPAA knowledge.
  • What OSHA training have you taken?
  • What front-office tasks did you handle in your last position?
  • What phlebotomy skills do you have? How do you feel about needlesticks?
  • Tell me about your experience with prescriptions. Have you managed refills electronically, charted prescriptions, worked with pharmacies?
  • Are you certified in CPR?
  • What phone and voice-mail systems have you used? 
  • Have you taken patient histories, or did your doctor like to do that herself?
Practice-Specific Interview Questions for Medical Assistants

Medical assistant interview questions will also likely explore your knowledge of the practice’s specialty, patient population and scope.

Suppose you’re interviewing at a dermatology practice with a high volume of teen patients. Questions might include:
  • How many years of experience do you have in dermatology? 
  • What was the scope of your duties in your last practice? 
  • What procedures have you assisted the doctor with? 
  • Can you tell me about a case when you had a particularly difficult time dealing with a teen patient and his parent?
  • What decisions were you able to make on your own at your past practice?
  • Tell me about your patient education duties at your last job.
  • How many other techs and medical assistants did you work with in your last job?
  • What was the daily patient volume at your last position?
Interview Questions About Cultural Fit

Another popular line of questioning concerns the environment in which you like to work – also known as the “fit” questions. Employers ask these questions to obtain clues as to whether a job candidate will be happy working in its practice, says Andrea Crawford, director of career services at Kaplan College in Chula Vista, California.

“Someone who worked in a fast-paced clinic and thrived there isn’t going to be happy in a slow-paced clinic,” she says. “They’re going to be bored.”

Expect questions about the challenges the medical assistants in this practice face. For instance, if the office gets backed up, the practice will need someone who can communicate well with patients in the waiting room, so a typical question might be: 
  • Tell me about a time when you had an irate patient. How did you handle him?
In a high-stress office, you might be asked: 
  • How do you handle stress?
The answer you want to give involves balance, whether that comes from taking a five-minute break to walk around the building or through outside activities like yoga.

In a multidoctor office, you may be questioned about how you would prioritize workloads and tasks as well as how you multitask in your current position. To give a strong answer, discuss how you get things accomplished and how the way you’ve made decisions in past positions should also work well at the employer’s practice.

As a closer, the employer may ask:
  • What did you like and not like about your last practice?
The employer is listening for indications as to whether you’ll thrive in its practice. If you love to do the procedures the practice does most often and you fit culturally, you’ll be happy and well-matched to the practice, reducing the likelihood that the employer will need to interview your replacement in the near future.

Learn more about healthcare careers.

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