These sample questions—and answers—will put you on the right track for presenting yourself professionally
If you’re in school to become a Medical Assistant, you’re working towards a job in this important healthcare profession. As your training program comes to a close, you’re probably doing all you can to line up job interviews. An essential part of this process is preparing for the conversations you’ll be having with prospective employers. And like so many things in life, a key to becoming good is practice!
We’ve put together a list of sample questions you’re likely to hear during an interview. Read through them and start thinking about your answers. Maybe make some notes to yourself and then ask a friend to quiz you so you can say your answers out loud. The more you do this, the more comfortable you’re likely to be during the real interview.
Here are some sample interview questions, and possible ideas for how to answer:
What medical assistant experience do you have?
If this would be your first job in the field, then describe the training you received while you were in school. Talk about the skills you learned and the experience you gained during your internship—which counts, even if it was unpaid. For example:
“I graduated from Seacoast Career Schools’ Medical Assisting program in January. Before that I worked as an intern medical assistant at Portland Regional Medical Center for 180 hours, between October and December.”
What experience do you have taking patient histories and vital signs?
Talk about any training you received in how to handle these tasks, and include a description of any experience you may have had during your internship. For example:
“While I was in school, I received training in how to take blood pressure, weight, temperature, and pulse. We practiced these in our lab at school. There were also several community events where I volunteered and had the chance to take people’s vital signs. During my internship, I was able to take patient histories, so I feel comfortable speaking with patients in this way and recording the information in their records.”
How do you feel about drawing blood?
It’s important to reassure the interviewer that you aren’t nervous about doing blood draws. A good approach is to explain the training you received in phlebotomy. For example:
“I am now comfortable with blood draws, having spent several terms practicing my technique during my training program. We practiced on our fellow classmates, and I found I got good feedback from everyone.”
What office skills do you have?
It’s good to be prepared to talk about experience you have working in the front office of a medical practice, especially if this is part of the description of the job for which you are interviewing. For example:
“I learned a lot of front-office tasks through the course of my training program, including scheduling, keeping patient charts, and interacting effectively with patients. I’m also comfortable representing the office on the phone, answering questions and taking messages.”
What do you know about medical billing and coding?
It’s fine to describe what you learned about billing procedures during your Medical Assistant training. For example:
“During my training program, I learned about various systems for billing and how to process a claim with private insurance companies as well as Medicaid and Medicare. We studied the ICD-10 and CPT, so I became familiar with the medical coding used for different procedures and diagnoses.”
Tell me about your computer skills.
To help yourself remember the names of the individual software programs you might have learned during your training, write them down before each interview. That will help you remember them if the interviewer asks you this question. For example:
“In school I did a fair amount of training with Electronic Health Records software, which contains many of the same elements as the commercial software that many medical practices use. My internship was at an office that used eClinicalWorks, so I gained experience using that program in particular. One of my classes provided training specifically on software used for medical billing and coding. I also have a lot of experience using the Microsoft Office suite of programs.”
What do you know about following HIPAA protocol?
Be prepared to talk about HIPAA privacy regulations as they might pertain to work you would do as a medical assistant. For example:
“My program provided a foundation about HIPAA. During my internship, I observed how strict each of the medical assistants were about maintaining patient privacy. For example, we were careful to use patients’ first names only in the reception area, to keep examination doors closed for privacy, and to keep patient charts out of view. I am also very aware of the need to avoid discussing patient matters in public places, and to have those discussions only with the healthcare providers attending to that particular patient.”
What would you say are your strengths?
This is a typical interview question, so it’s good to be prepared. You don’t want to brag, but to be straightforward about those clinical skills you’re most confident about. You can also touch on interpersonal skills that would be relevant to the job. For example:
“The lead instructor of my phlebotomy class told me I have very good clinical skills. I feel especially confident giving injections. I also have good people skills, and find that they come in handy putting patients at ease before a procedure.”
What weaknesses do you have?
A good approach to this question is to focus on an area in which you hope to improve. For example:
“During my training, I found I was stronger in my clinical responsibilities than in the front-office administrative duties. However, I’m always working to become more experienced with technology. One thing I know about myself is that I am able to learn new office procedures quickly.”
In addition to questions that are specific to medical assisting responsibilities, you should be prepared to answer more generic interview questions, such as about:
- why you want to work at this particular company
- where you see yourself in 5 years
- what makes you a good candidate for the position
Your responses should demonstrate that you’ve done your research on the organization, are familiar with the responsibilities of the job description, and are committed to staying in the same position for a respectable amount of time. Overall you want to convey that you’re thoughtful about your answers and serious about wanting to do a good job—in whatever position you decide to take.
Interviewers will often leave time at the end of the conversation for you to ask questions, so you’re smart to have some in mind. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Good luck on your interview. If you prepare and practice, you’ll soon be on your way to your first medical assisting position!
This post is part of the weekly blog of Seacoast Career Schools. We are committed to helping all of our students as they strive to reach their professional goals. Contact us today to learn more, either online or by calling 800-758-7679. We also invite you to schedule a tour of one of our campuses in Manchester, NH, and Sanford, ME.