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19 Medical Assistant Interview Question Ideas (With Sample Answers)
Interviews can be intimidating for people looking for a job and stressful for people looking to hire the best candidate. During an interview, both parties have a limited amount of time to present their best selves while also deciding whether the job and candidate are a good fit.
It is important to be as prepared as possible for your interview. If you are looking for a job, review practice questions and make sure you understand what kind of person the employer wants to hire. If you are the interviewer, you need to come up with questions that give you a good idea of the candidate's experience, personality, and competence.
This guide goes over medical assistant interview question ideas, how to give a good answer (for interviewers), and how to interpret different types of answers to questions (for interviewees).
Before we start, it's worth noting that if you're looking to hire for your healthcare facility, Stepful can help you hire certified medical assistants and upskill your existing employees .
Medical Assistant Interview Question Ideas
Medical assistant interview questions should help employers find out about the candidate's personality and experience and whether they will be a good addition to the team or not.
Before we dive in, if you're interested in becoming a medical assistant, check out our 4-Month Online Medical Assistant Program . Not only do we prepare you to take your CCMA exam, we also help you find a job after graduation, including preparing for interviews.
Below, we go over medical assistant interview question ideas, including why they’re good questions and sample answers for each.
1) Tell me about yourself and your background.
This gives the interviewee an opportunity to talk about their education, experience, and any other relevant information. They can also describe their personality and what makes them unique.
A good candidate might talk about their work ethic and desire to help others by working in the medical field. They will talk about their education or willingness to learn, as well as whatever work experience they have. Reflecting positively on past experiences and showing excitement about their future as a medical assistant are good signs.
Answering this question should include stating your name, work experience, positive personality traits, education, and any successes you’ve had. Candidates should not be afraid to answer this question confidently and share their successes and best qualities.
2) Why are you interested in this role?
This question can help an interviewer figure out how much this job means to the potential candidate. Someone who is interested just because they need money or it is a convenient location may not stay with the organization for very long.
Answers to this question should include why they want to be a medical assistant , why they want to be part of the company, or why they feel they are a good fit for the organization.
“I think medical assisting would be a great job for me because I enjoy caring for others and learning about medicine. I have read about your office and it seems like a great place to work. I would love to be part of working towards your mission statement: helping people live their healthiest lives.”
3) Can you tell me about your experience in medical assisting?
This question should not be skipped since it gives the potential employer a good idea of how much training the new employee will need. While experience isn’t required to be a good medical assistant, having a solid background in medical assisting can make onboarding a little easier.
If a candidate has medical assisting experience, they should be able to explain their daily responsibilities and any skills related to medical assisting they learned while working. If they have no experience, they might highlight training or any other relevant experience.
“I earned my medical assisting certification in 2019, and then began working as a medical assistant in a family practice office. During my time there, I learned a lot about managing administrative tasks, caring for patients, and staying organized. I was known as one of the best phlebotomists and people often called me for help with a difficult sample collection”.
If you have no experience, explain that you’re passionate about it and willing to learn. You might talk about other experiences such as, “I received my medical assistant certificate after completing an accredited program. Before my medical assistant training, I worked in a restaurant where I gained a lot of experience in customer service, remembering small details, and time management.”
4) Why did you leave your last job?
This question reveals a lot about a potential candidate such as their attitudes and values, and whether they are likely to take responsibility for their actions or blame others.
Answers might include wanting to get into a healthcare job or being tired of a long commute from a different office. It is a bad sign if your candidate immediately starts complaining about their old job. Even if they came from a bad work environment, complaining about it to a new employer is a red flag.
“I left my last job because I have always been interested in the medical field . I came across your company during a job search and it seemed like a great fit. I appreciate the experience and learned a lot from my last job, but I was ready to move on to something new.
5) What would you say is your biggest strength?
Every person will answer this question differently, and it helps the interviewer find out more about the candidate's personality and strengths.
Good answers will hopefully have something to do with the job. Someone who brags about their great singing voice or athleticism may not have the patience and customer service required to be a medical assistant.
“I am a very hard worker and follow through with all of my commitments. I am always ready for a challenge and do not shy away from working hard”.
6) What would you say is your biggest weakness?
This is a little bit more difficult for most people to answer. However, it gives an idea of a candidate's self-awareness and ability to admit and work on their weaknesses.
Hopefully, candidates are honest when they answer this question, and can tell you how they are working on self-improvement.
“My biggest weakness is that it can be hard for me to hear criticism. Training to be a medical assistant helped me realize that I have a lot to learn and that people who give me negative feedback are usually just trying to help. I am aware that this is a weakness of mine and I am working on being more receptive to constructive criticism”.
7) What is your favorite part of medical assisting?
Asking this question helps the employer determine what the candidate enjoys about medical assisting and estimate whether they will be likely to stay at the job for a while or if they might quickly get burnt out and quit.
It is always better to hire candidates that will enjoy their job, rather than those who are interested in the money.
“I really enjoy interacting with patients all day. I like getting to meet all kinds of different people, and it feels good knowing that I have a chance to make them feel more comfortable during their doctor's appointment.”
8) What is your least favorite part of medical assisting?
Just like the previous question, this can help employers guess how happy the candidate would be working as part of their organization.
If a candidate answers this question by jumping in with a long list of complaints about how difficult it is to be a medical assistant, that's a big red flag. Good answers present both a problem and a potential solution.
“I don’t like feeling rushed while taking care of people. Sometimes days are really busy and I don't always feel like there is enough time to really connect with each patient. Luckily, I have learned to manage my days and stay organized so that I can maximize my time with each patient.”
9) Tell me about a time when you had a difficult patient and how you handled it.
Talking about a difficult patent reveals whether a candidate can handle customer service problems, how they respond under stress, and whether they are problem-focused or solution-focused.
A solution-focused answer is a good answer. Something that shows how the medical assistant tried to help de-escalate the situation or improve the patient's experience. A problem-focused answer focuses on the difficult patient, sounds like complaining, and blames the patient for making the medical assistant's job difficult.
“I was taking care of a patient who needed blood drawn for an important test but was terrified of needles. She was crying and obviously very upset about getting blood drawn. I listened to her concerns empathetically and explained that although she had a right to refuse, the test was important and would help us keep her healthy. I had her look away and asked her to tell me a story about her dog to keep her distracted. I drew the blood quickly and she felt much better afterward.”
10) Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a coworker and how you handled it.
Conflicts with coworkers are bound to happen in any workplace. Employers want to hire people who can get along with others and can resolve interpersonal conflicts well.
Just like dealing with difficult patients, stories about difficult coworkers are better if they are solutions-focused.
“I had a coworker who was always late and it meant that I had to do a lot of the opening work by myself in the mornings. I pulled her aside after work one day to explain that I felt stressed because of the extra work. I found out that her childcare situation made it hard to get to work on time. We went to our manager and suggested that she could stay 15 minutes late in the evening to inventory supplies instead of doing it in the morning. That way, she could drop her children off and I could complete the rest of the morning tasks without her there.
11) Do you prefer clinical or administrative work more?
This question helps determine whether a candidate will be a good fit for the specific role. Someone who loves administrative work may not be happy if your job requires mostly clinical work .
An ideal candidate would prefer the type of work that is needed in the hiring organization. It would be best to hire someone who is willing to do both types of work.
“I loved working at the front desk and keeping things organized at my old job, and prefer administrative tasks. However, there are things I enjoy about both types of medical assisting , and would be happy to fill whatever role is needed.”
12) What computer skills or programs are you proficient in?
This helps employers understand how much training their new candidate may need.
Interviewees should answer this question honestly and should be able to describe a few details about each program they have used.
“I am familiar with both Cerner and PowerChart electronic health systems. I also helped my previous job keep things organized using Excel spreadsheets and we communicated using Microsoft Teams.”
13) What do you know about HIPAA and how to make sure you don’t violate the guidelines?
It is important to ask this question to find out if a new candidate will need extra training about HIPAA guidelines . Violating these guidelines can have serious consequences.
It’s okay if a candidate does not know much about HIPAA, as long as they are willing to learn.
“I am generally aware of HIPAA but not very familiar with specific guidelines. I am willing to do some extra training or at-home learning to understand it better, however.”
14) Are you trained in phlebotomy and ok with drawing blood?
Most medical assistants need to be competent phlebotomists . Someone who does not want to deal with blood or body fluids might not be a good fit for a medical assisting job.
Again, if someone is not trained, they should at least express that they are comfortable with needles and blood, and have the willingness to learn.
“Yes, I am certified in phlebotomy and feel comfortable drawing blood.”
15) Do you know how to take patient vital signs? Which ones?
One of the most important things a medical assistant does is to measure and record accurate vital signs.
Ideal candidates know how to measure blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, spO2, and temperature. They should also know what normal values are for each of these measurements.
“Yes, at my previous job, one of my main responsibilities was to measure and record accurate vital signs for each patient. These included [insert vital signs you know how to measure here] .”
16) Do you know how to do electrocardiograms (EKGs)?
EKGs require specialized training. Even some experienced or certified medical assistants may not know how to perform an EKG. A good candidate will show a willingness to learn if they do not already have the skill.
“I know what an EKG is, but haven’t had a lot of practice. It is something I would love to get better at.”
17) Do you have experience with medical coding and billing?
Medical coding and billing can be difficult to learn. Having previous experience with it is a big advantage for a new medical assistant.
“I learned a lot about medical billing and coding during my medical assistant training course.”
18) What is your ideal schedule? Are you willing to work nights, weekends, or holidays?
Depending on the facility, this question may or may not be important. Employers should be clear about potential expectations for scheduling, and candidates should be honest about their availability.
19) What is your expected salary?
This question should make sure that the employers and job candidates have reasonable expectations for salary.
Candidates should do some research before they apply so that they can request a reasonable salary for their experience, education, and location. You can learn more about average medical assistant salaries by state here .
“Since I am certified and experienced, I feel that somewhere around $18 per hour would be a fair place to start.”
Medical Assistant Interview Tips for Job Seekers
The more prepared you are for your medical assistant interview, the less nervous you will feel. Getting rid of some pre-interview nerves can help you think clearly and come up with good answers to interview questions. Confidence is a key part of having a successful interview.
Here are some tips to ace your medical assistant interview:
Write down answers to sample questions
As you prepare for your interview, write down some answers to sample questions. That way, you have at least thought through some possible questions and can have a general idea of what you would like to say.
You might want to return to your questions and re-read them a few hours before the interview to keep them fresh in your mind. Like studying for a test, the more you review the answers, the better you will be able to recall them when the time comes.
Answer using the STAR method
STAR stands for Situation Task Action Result.
It is a way of answering behavioral questions that is concise while covering all of the necessary information. Be specific while avoiding rambling or giving irrelevant details.
Describe the situation, usually some kind of problem that you faced. Then describe how you planned to correct the problem or address the challenge, and what actions you took to get you to your goals.
Lastly, talk about the result of your actions. Even if the results were not favorable, you can explain how you learned from a mistake or changed course to come up with a better solution for the next time.
Practice with a friend
Just like anything else, the more you practice something, the easier it gets. Find a friend to practice with, and discuss things that go well or that need work after the practice interview.
If you can, find someone to practice with who works as a medical assistant. They will be able to tell you about their own interview experience and give you some insight into what a potential employer might be looking for.
Research who is interviewing you
Before you go to your interview, do some research about the company. Understanding an organization's mission statement or values can help you decide how to answer questions.
If you can, find out a little bit about the person who is interviewing you. Not only does this help you prepare for a successful interview, but it can help you decide whether the job will be a good fit for your personality.
Arriving late to an interview does not give a good first impression to a potential employer. Give yourself plenty of time to find the office, get a parking spot, and take a deep breath before you start your interview.
Arriving 20-30 minutes early should give you plenty of time to find the place, use the restroom, and review some of your potential interview answers before it’s time to get started.
Be honest in your answers
If you don’t know the answer to a question, that’s okay. Simply tell the interviewer that you are not sure, but would love to learn more or could follow up with them after the interview.
A teachable employee is much better than someone who lies or makes up answers that they aren’t sure about. If you don’t understand a question, it is okay to ask for clarification.
Have a list of references
Before you go to an interview, have a list of references ready to go. Make sure you contact all of your references and ask them for permission to give their phone number to a potential new employer. You don’t want references to be surprised when an interviewer calls, especially if it is someone working with you at a job you haven’t left yet.
Come up with questions of your own
Almost every interview ends with the interviewer asking whether the interviewee has any questions for them.
Make sure you have at least one or two questions prepared. This shows initiative and that you are invested in the company.
A few sample questions might include:
- How would you describe the culture of your organization?
- What are some of the challenges your medical assistants have while working here?
- What do you enjoy the most about this job?
- Do you offer continuing education or opportunities for eventual advancement?
- How do you generally deal with employee problems or conflicts?
Send thank you notes to all interviewers after
A quick thank you note a day or two after your interview can help you stand out and keep your name fresh in the interviewers’ minds. It is even better if you can list each interviewer by name and thank them for their time.
Medical Assistant Interview Tips for Employers
It is just as important for an employer to prepare well for an interview if they want to hire the best candidate for the job.
Understand the medical assistant role
In order to ask good questions and understand answers, make sure you understand the roles and responsibilities of a medical assistant . If you know what a medical assistant does, you’ll be able to find a person with the right qualities for the job.
Ask both professional and personal questions
It is okay to ask personal questions in addition to professional questions. This will give you an idea of their personality as well as their experience.
Don’t include too many interviewers
Interviews are already intimidating. Only allow essential stakeholders to be part of the interview process. Having too many people in the room might mean there are fewer opportunities for the candidate to talk.
Explain the interview structure at the beginning
Be upfront about the interview process at the beginning of the meeting. Give a clear introduction of every person included in the interview. Then, explain that you’ll first ask questions, and then give the opportunity for the candidate to ask a few questions.
Let the candidate do most of the talking
Let the candidate do as much of the talking as possible. They may even answer several questions in the same response if you let them finish a story or may reveal something you hadn’t thought to ask about.
Be clear about your timeline for hiring
Let the candidate know when you plan to make a decision and when you expect your new hire to start working. Also, let your candidate know whether or not you plan to reach out to applicants who are not chosen.
Tell rejected candidates why they didn’t get the job
Rejected candidates usually appreciate knowing what they could have done better. Some may even come back and apply again after they have gotten more training or experience.
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- 8 Common Medical Assistant Interview Questions
8 Common Interview Questions for Medical Assistants
Graduates from a medical assistant certificate program are heading into a strong job market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , employment of medical assistants will grow 19% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
We spoke with Danielle Scheetz , Medical Assistant Program Chair in Purdue Global’s School of Health Sciences, and Cindy Deahl, from the Career Services department at Purdue Global, about the most common medical assistant interview questions and answers. Keep these in mind as you apply for open positions.
1. Tell Me a Little About Yourself
Open-ended questions of this nature can get tricky, because you don’t want to go on and on about your pet rabbit or your personal hobbies. “Focus on your experience, training, and education,” Scheetz says.
2. What Are Your Strengths?
The strengths you pick should be relevant to the medical assisting field. “For example, excelling in time management, working as a team player, and having great listening skills and compassion for others are three strengths that match the qualities of a top-notch medical assistant,” Deahl says.
3. What Are Your Weaknesses?
“Don’t say the word ‘weakness’ back to your interviewer,” Deahl advises. “Position your answer as an opportunity to improve.”
“If you are a new medical assistant to the field, an appropriate answer may be, ‘I am a new medical assistant and will need to learn your clinic’s processes; however, I feel very prepared and confident in the clinical skills I have gained from my externship and coursework.’”
You can also use this as an opportunity to discuss hard and soft skills that you've improved over time and the actions you took to improve them.
4. How Much Experience Do You Have?
Employers are looking for an answer that mixes relevant and diverse experience. If you’ve worked as a medical assistant before, describe the length of your experience. Be specific about where you’ve worked, which schools you’ve attended, and what relevant volunteer experience you may have.
“If you’re interviewing for your first job, focus on the experience you gained at your externship,” Scheetz says. “Talk about skills you performed and observed there, which you can bring to their company—things like having good communication skills, following HIPAA protocol, experience with EKGs, and proficiency with electronic medical records.”
5. Tell Me About a Difficult Situation You Have Been in at Work and How You Handled It
“This is an opportunity to display your problem-solving skills, as well as compassion and empathy,” Deahl says. “Describe the situation, focusing less on the actual problem and more on how you helped identify and resolve it.”
6. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?
Again, make sure to reply in a professional capacity. When employers ask this question, they’re looking for a career path. If your answer shows a lack of foresight, it will look like you consider the medical assistant position to be a job, rather than a career. Employers are looking for responses that suggest a long-term commitment and perhaps a path to career advancement. Display ambition and discipline in your answer and paint a realistic picture of an empowering future employee.
7. Why Do You Want to Work Here?
This is a chance to demonstrate that you’ve done your research. Before your interview, visit the company website (look for an “About” section) and become familiar with their background, vision, values, and mission statement. Learn about the company culture, study the job description, and check out their social media pages. You want to use your answer to show them you are aligned with their mission and excited to contribute to it.
8. What Skills Do You Have that Qualify You For this Role?
In some states, the absolute minimum education you’ll need to be a medical assistant is a high school diploma or GED. Other states require formal educational programs. To be competitive, certifications, experience, and relevant training go a long way. If you’re proficient with Electronic Health Records (EHR) software, be sure to mention it. Experience with Microsoft Office, medical billing (including insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid), and HIPAA protocol will also make you a strong candidate.
Before and After Your Medical Assistant Job Interview
What you do before and after your interview may be as important as what you do during your interview. These things show professionalism, initiative, and dedication.
Before your interview, make sure to take the following steps:
- Dress professionally and prepare your professional attire the night before. A good rule of thumb is business professional.
- For men, an appropriate choice is slacks with a jacket, or a suit.
- For women, a nice blouse with dress pants or a skirt, a suit, or a business professional dress is appropriate.
- You should also avoid wearing any strong cologne or perfume.
- Bring several copies of your resume, along with a printout of references.
- Map your route to the interview and make sure you arrive at least 10 minutes early.
- When you arrive to the interview, be courteous and respectful to the front desk staff.
- Prepare relevant questions for the employer. Authentic questions for the employer show your interest and may illuminate some important details.
After your interview, take these steps:
- Ask the interviewers for business cards. This will show your continued interest in the position.
- Ask what the next steps are.
- If they indicate they are in a rush to make a decision, email them as soon as you get home, thanking the employer for their consideration and stating that you’re ready to take the next step. Take the opportunity to highlight how your skill set matches the position requirements that were discussed during the interview.
- If they’re not making a rapid decision, mail a handwritten thank you note as soon as possible. This “old school” step could make you an outstanding candidate.
Purdue Global Offers a Medical Assistant Certificate Program
If you’re ready to get the competitive advantage in your career as a medical assistant, learn more about Purdue Global’s medical assistant certificate program .* Our flexible online format gives you the convenience you need to work while going to school, and you may be eligible to sit for certification exams after graduation. † Request more information today .
About the Author
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* Employment and Career Advancement: Purdue Global does not guarantee employment placement or career advancement. Actual outcomes vary by geographic area, previous work experience and opportunities for employment.
† Medical Assistant Certification: Certification and licensing boards in Washington and South Dakota have specific educational requirements for a program to lead to certification as a medical assistant, which is a precondition for employment in those states. This program meets the educational requirements to obtain certification in Washington and South Dakota. Refer to Purdue Global’s State Licensure and Certifications page for state-specific licensure information. Residents of all states are responsible for understanding the requirements of optional certification exams. The University cannot guarantee students will be eligible to sit for or pass exams. In some cases, work experience, additional coursework beyond the Purdue Global program, fieldwork, and/or background checks may be necessary to be eligible to take or to successfully pass the exams.
Sample Medical Assistant Interview Questions and Answers
Want to nail your interview for a medical assistant job familiarize yourself with these medical assistant interview questions and answers..
Doctors are often revered as the medical heroes we turn to when we’re sick or injured. But every hero needs a sidekick. If you’re looking for a job as a medical assistant, that sidekick could be you. There’s currently a high demand for medical assistants, with an 18% increase in new jobs expected over the next decade. But landing a job in this growing field requires you to ace your medical assistant interview questions and answers.
Employers in the healthcare industry look for medical assistants who are trustworthy, detail-oriented, friendly, technical, and analytical. Learn how to demonstrate these key skills and qualities by familiarizing yourself with the medical assistant interview questions and answers outlined below.
Medical Assistant Interview Questions and Answers
- Why do you want to be a medical assistant?
- Tell me about your previous experience as a medical assistant.
- What do you think makes a good medical assistant?
- Describe a time when you solved a problem involving a patient.
- What experience do you have with medical technology?
- How familiar are you with HIPAA protocol, and how will you protect patients’ confidentiality?
Medical Assistant Interview Question #1: Why do you want to be a medical assistant?
The “ Why do you want this job? ” question may seem simple, but your answer could dictate the course of your interview. In your answer to this medical assistant interview question, show that you’re dedicated to the job and passionate about helping patients.
Here are a few other things to consider when forming your answer:
- Your goals as a medical assistant.
- What you like about being a medical assistant.
- What led you to pursue a career as a medical assistant.
How You Could Answer
“I was drawn to the medical field because I find satisfaction in helping others. Plus, I have a natural inclination for it—I’m an intuitive and empathetic person. I feel like being a medical assistant is a good start to my medical career. I would like to continue growing in my career and eventually move into a more advanced position. In the meantime, I enjoy working in a fast-paced healthcare environment, assisting doctors and other medical professionals, and providing patients with the right care and information.”
Medical Assistant Interview Question #2: Tell me about your previous experience as a medical assistant.
You likely listed your previous professional experience on your medical assistant resume , but hiring managers will want to know more during an interview. When answering this question, discuss your duties in depth and provide good examples of your previous work.
Focus on the following when creating your answer:
- Your key duties.
- Notable achievements.
- Learning curves.
“I have worked in a hospital setting for the past three years, assisting doctors with basic medical tasks. My day-to-day responsibilities typically include checking patients’ blood pressure and other vital signs, recording patients’ personal information and medical history, assisting with physical exams, scheduling medical appointments, preparing blood samples for laboratory testing, and issuing physician-directed injections and medications. Some skills I’ve gained on the job include specimen collection, electronic medical recording, and administrative follow-up.”
Medical Assistant Interview Question #3: What do you think makes a good medical assistant?
Providing your perspective on what makes a medical assistant effective shows employers what qualities you bring to the table. Your answer could include soft skills (e.g., organization and problem-solving) and personal attributes such as empathy for patients who may be physically, emotionally, and mentally vulnerable.
Ask yourself the following questions when creating your answer to this medical assistant interview question:
- Which qualities do you think are most important for the job?
- Which soft skills do you possess?
- What strengths do you possess as a medical assistant?
“From my experience, empathy is one of the key qualities of medical assistants. You must be able to understand someone else’s perspective, especially when you’re working with patients from diverse backgrounds. Plus, you must practice compassion when working with patients. Additionally, medical assistants should possess excellent communication, problem-solving, time-management, and interpersonal skills. Lastly, medical assistants should be dependable, open to constructive criticism, and able to learn.”
Medical Assistant Interview Question #4: Describe a time when you solved a problem involving a patient.
As a medical assistant, you’ve likely encountered moments when things didn’t go according to plan. Employers want to know how well you can work with these challenges, and especially with unhappy patients.
Questions that ask you to describe a problem and how you solved it are known as behavioral interview questions. For medical assistants, this means you need to demonstrate your ability to solve problems while remaining calm.
Think about a problem you encountered on the job, and describe the following details when providing an answer:
- The patient’s circumstances.
- What you did to solve the patient’s problem.
- The outcome of your actions.
“The most challenging situation I experienced as a medical assistant happened on a day our facility was short-staffed. I had to attend to several patients at the same time, some of whom became impatient and irritable. I focused on one patient at a time, while communicating the circumstances with the remaining patients and their families. As a result, I was able to help the doctor meet each of the patients’ needs. While it was a stressful situation, I remained as calm as possible under pressure.”
Medical Assistant Interview Question #5: What experience do you have with medical technology?
Medical assistants often work with electronic medical records software, EKG machines, computerized blood chemistry analyzers, and laboratory technology. Since technology is usually part of the job, many employers will only hire candidates who have some technical experience.
Provide the following details when answering this medical assistant interview question:
- Medical technology you have used in previous jobs.
- Technology you have received training on.
- Technology you’re familiar with.
“When I first entered the medical assistant field, I had no formal training with medical technology. Most of the training I received was on the job. I was first trained in how to record patient information and update medical records. As I progressed in my career, I received training on EKG machines, laboratory testing equipment, and computerized blood chemistry analyzers.”
Medical Assistant Interview Question #6: How familiar are you with HIPAA protocol, and how will you protect patients’ confidentiality?
A full understanding of HIPAA regulations is critical for anyone entering the healthcare industry. A lack of understanding can create liability issues for medical facilities and companies. Employers may only consider you for a job as a medical assistant if you’re familiar with HIPAA protocols and patient confidentiality.
Be sure to provide the following details when creating your answer:
- What you know about HIPAA.
- HIPAA training you received.
- How you would apply HIPAA protocol to your job.
“From what I understand, HIPAA is a federal law that protects sensitive patient information from being disclosed without patients’ knowledge or consent. I received HIPAA training during my medical assistant training and internship and during my certificate program. When meeting with patients, I ensure that any conversations involving sensitive information are conducted in enclosed rooms, and I never discuss any sensitive patient information with anyone other than doctors.”
12 More Common Medical Assistant Interview Questions
- What were your primary responsibilities as a medical assistant?
- What type of responsibilities did you have with patients and visitors?
- Did you assist with any medical office procedures?
- Did you counsel patients?
- How did you add value to the patient experience?
- Were you responsible for oversight of equipment and supplies?
- Tell me about your computer skills.
- What have you done at your current/last company to increase revenue, reduce costs, or save time?
- What have you done recently to become a better medical assistant?
- What makes you a great fit for this position?
- What type of work schedule are you looking for?
- Would you be available to work extra hours if needed?
Ready to Put These Medical Assistant Interview Questions and Answers to the Test?
Once you’re confident that you can answer any medical assistant interview question that comes your way, upload your resume to Monster and start applying to medical assistant jobs that interest you. Plus, when you upload your resume, we’ll make it searchable for job recruiters in the medical industry—so they can reach out to you whenever new medical assistant opportunities open up.
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Job interviews are stressful. While you’ll never be able to remove all of that stress, you can cut it down by spending some time preparing for your meeting.
Research the company, go over your resume and note the highlights you want to hit, and, most importantly, run through some practice interview questions .
Even though there will always be a few questions you aren’t ready for, having an idea of how to answer most of them will help keep you from being blindsided throughout the entire interview.
In this article, you’ll find 35 of the most common questions you might encounter in an interview for a position as a medical assistant and some sample answers.
Medical assistant candidates should review HIPPA and confidentiality policies along with medical terminology so you are able to give clear and concise answers relating those topics.
Interviewers should be on the look out and assess the candidate soft skills such as attention to detail, problem-solving, and analytical skills.
Looking for a job? These position are hiring now near you:
- Medical Assistant
- Clinical Medical Assistant
- Medical Assistant Externship
- Registered Medical Assistant
- Medical Assistant/Phlebotomist
25 Common Medical Assistant Interview Questions and Answers
Tell me about yourself . This is a common interview question that many interviewers use to break the ice. Just remember that while they do want to get to know you, your professional side is most important to them, so stick to talking about those aspects.
I’ve been working as a medical assistant for four years now, and I absolutely love getting to work with patients and making doctors’ and nurses’ jobs easier. I enjoy building relationships with both my patients and my colleagues, because I believe that showing that you truly care about someone is a vital part of serving them.
Tell me about your experience as a medical assistant. When you answer this question, talk about your relevant jobs , volunteer work, and education. Be sure to describe what you learned from each one. This could be a hard skill like drawing blood or it could be a soft skill like communication .
I graduated from Westview Tech early this year, and while I was there, I spent four weeks in a clinical setting where I practiced being a medical assistant. After that, I got a job at Stillwater Medical Center, where I worked for three years. I learned how to balance administrative and patient responsibilities by covering the front desk for a few hours every day, I got daily practice performing blood draws and EKG tests, and I was even able to help train a few employees.
What is your greatest strength as a medical assistant? Now is the time to tastefully toot your own horn. Recruiters truly want to know what makes you the best person for the job, so don’t be afraid to tell them that.
Just make sure you can back it up and that you talk about how you’ve put your skills to use to better a company, not just how awesome you are.
Thanks to some wonderful mentors and training, I’m able to keep my cool with difficult patients by seeing the situation from their perspective. Once they see I truly do understand and care, they’re much more likely to trust me as we work to find a solution or reach an understanding.
What is your greatest weakness as a medical assistant? Nobody’s perfect, and your interviewers know that. They just want to see that you know that and that you’re working on overcoming those imperfections.
When you answer this question, be truthful and always end by talking about how you’re working to improve or systems you’ve put into place to cover for your weaknesses.
I tend to get lost in whatever I’m doing at the moment, which is great for whoever I’m with right then, but it also means I easily lose track of time. Because of that, I’ve set a quiet alarm on my watch to go off every thirty minutes to keep me aware of how much time has passed and to remind me to think about what I need to do next. Since I started doing this, I’ve been able to complete all of my tasks on time and still be present with my patients and colleagues.
Tell me about a time when you dealt with a difficult patient. The best way to answer a behavioral interview question like this by using the STAR method . STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result, and it serves as a guide for how to structure your answer.
When I was volunteering on a humanitarian trip, we had a young patient who refused to let us take her vitals. I asked her if she had ever been to the doctor before, and she said she hadn’t, so I realized she must be frightened. I let her hold the blood pressure cuff and put it on me so that she could see it wouldn’t hurt her. Once she saw that, she allowed me to put it on her and take the rest of her vitals.
How do you balance your administrative tasks with your patient-centered tasks? Often, medical assistants need to wear more than one hat, so employers are going to want to see that you can successfully juggle a wide variety of responsibilities. Be specific when you answer and explain exactly how you keep track of everything.
I keep a small notepad and pen in my pocket so that I can jot down to-do’s as I go. As soon as I have a break between patients, I move to knock out as many high-priority administrative tasks as possible so that I’m not behind and have room for unexpected assignments. I also try to come in a few minutes early so that I can get everything in order before I start working with patients.
Tell me about a mistake you made while working as a medical assistant. How did you handle it? Again, your interviewers know that no one is perfect, so there’s no need to pretend that you’ve never made a mistake.
Saying you’ve never made a mistake is actually a red flag, because they’ll think you’re hiding something. Talk about what happened, how you responded, and what you’re doing now to prevent it from happening again.
My first clinical was supposed to start at 6:00 a.m., and I slept through my alarm and woke up at 6:05 a.m. I quickly called my instructor to apologize and let her know what had happened, and I got ready and went over as fast as possible. After the shift, I apologized again to my instructor and the hospital supervisor and asked if there was something I could do to make it up. They asked me to stay and do some extra filing, so I did. The next day I set several alarms, and I asked my friend to call me if she hadn’t heard from me by 5:30. I eventually figured out a system so that I didn’t need the back-up phone call, and I haven't been late for a shift since.
What do you like best about being a medical assistant? Interviewers want to hear what you’re passionate about in your work. Be honest about your answer, and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.
I love the fast-paced environment. I thrive when I get to run from one thing to the next, and the days fly by for me. It’s even better that I get to be busy while helping people. I’ve had jobs before that kept me busy but didn’t have anything to do with people, and I find I enjoy my work a lot more when I get to improve others’ lives.
What is the most challenging part of being a medical assistant? Just as they know that you aren’t perfect, recruiters know that no job is all sunshine and rainbows.
They want to know which parts are less enjoyable for you in order to get to know you better and to be able to help you grow. Again, be honest in your answer, but end on a positive note so that you don’t sound like you’re just complaining.
Keeping up with my to-do list while dealing with difficult patients is challenging, especially on busy days. I’m getting faster at handling these situations, though, and I’m learning when to ask for help. If I were to work here, I’d also want to ask some more experienced medical assistants about how they handle this.
Where do you see yourself in five years ? This is a common question for any position, and it’s your interviewers’ attempt to get a better understanding of your goals and dreams . They also want to see if you’re intending to use this position as a stepping stone or want to be in the same job for the long haul.
In five years I’d love to be on my way to becoming an RN while still working as a medical assistant. I’ve been researching programs that would allow me to do that, and there are quite a few out there that are designed to pair with a full-time job.
Why do you want to work here ? This is the time to put the research you did about the company to good use. Talk about the company’s values and how they align with yours or about something else you noticed that attracts you to the organization.
The company’s values of integrity and collaboration resonated with me, and then when I started seeing testimonials from employees about how the company truly does live them out, I knew I wanted to be a part of this organization.
How do you ensure your patients are getting the best care day in and day out? Recruiters want to hear about your commitment to excellence and what philosophies you have for your work. Explain what you do each day to make sure you’re at your best, whether that’s a physical step or a mindset.
My goal is to treat each and every patient as if they’re my only patient. While I don’t always do this perfectly, having this goal helps me stay focused, present, and thorough with every person I see throughout the day.
How do you make yourself a better medical assistant? Companies want employees who are always working to grow and improve in their work. Talk about classes you take, mentors you seek out, and other ways you continue learning.
At each job I have, I try to find someone experienced to mentor me, and I regularly ask my supervisor and coworkers what I can do to improve my work or to make their jobs easier. I’m also signed up for a conflict resolution class, because that skill set will be highly beneficial when dealing with difficult patients.
What would you say is your primary responsibility as a medical assistant? Interviewers ask this to get a better understanding of how you prioritize your responsibilities and to see if you would fit well with their culture. Be honest, because if you don’t fit, chances are you wouldn’t have been happy in that environment either.
My primary responsibility as a medical assistant is patient care. That means making them comfortable from the time they walk in and administering tests with the utmost quality and care. I believe that while the administrative side of things is also important, those tasks don’t matter if we aren’t treating our patients right.
Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. How did you handle it? Sometimes work gets crazy, and your future employer wants to know how you’ll handle the stress . Again, be specific and use the STAR method to answer.
One day at my first job, we had two of the three medical assistants who were supposed to be working with me call in sick. That meant I had to take on twice as much work for the day, which was a lot for someone who had only been in the position for six months. As soon as we heard the news, my colleague and I made a game plan for how we were going to cover everything, talked to our supervisor about what low-priority tasks we could drop for the day if need be, and got to it. It was a stressful day, but we saw all of the patients on time and still finished our necessary administrative tasks.
Are you trained in phlebotomy? It’s common for interviewers to ask about your technical skills in an interview, and this is one that will often come up for a medical assistant. When you answer, give them more than a “yes” or “no” answer, and go into detail about your training and experience.
If the answer is “no,” then talk about how you’re willing to learn the skill and the steps you’d take to do so.
I’m not, but I’d like to learn, and I’m actually planning to enroll in an evening phlebotomy program next month at Central Technology Center. Do you know much about their program, or do you have a different place you’d recommend?
Have you performed an EKG test before? This is another question that’s easy to answer with one word, but don’t do it. Expound on when you performed one or which job required you to do it on a regular basis. If you haven’t, explain why and that you’re willing to learn how to do it.
Yes, at my first job at Mercy Hospital, I actually gave them nearly every day. I even became the person that other medical assistants came to for help with the tests.
Are your CPR, AED, and Emergency Treatment certifications up to date? It is more acceptable to give a short answer to this question. If the answer is “no,” though, make sure you explain your plan to renew them.
Currently they are, but my CPR certification is set to expire in three months. I’m enrolled in a class in two weeks to renew it, though, and the others won’t expire for another year.
Tell me about your experience taking vitals and medical histories. Be specific when you answer this question, and try to incorporate something that you learned from your work in this area, a skill you have that sets you apart, or a quantifier that illustrates your expertise.
I’ve taken vital signs and medical histories at each job I’ve had, and I’ve only gotten better at it over the years. I’ve probably taken over a thousand of each at this point.
What is your experience with medical billing and coding? Again, be as specific as possible to paint a picture of your skills for your interviewers.
I didn’t do a lot of medical billing and coding until I started the job I currently have, but now I do both for about four hours every week. I actually took a class that my employer provided so that I could cover those roles as needed.
Tell me about your experience in office administration. Medical assistants often have more than a few administrative responsibilities , so recruiters want to make sure you’re willing and able to handle those as well.
I actually worked as an administrative assistant for two years while I was in college. I scheduled appointments, booked flights, wrote and distributed memos, answered phones, and welcomed visitors. Because of that experience, the administrative side of being a medical assistant is like second nature to me.
How do you make sure that you’re following HIPAA guidelines? Protecting patient privacy is vital to being a successful medical assistant. When you answer this question, make sure you include specific steps you take to make sure you aren’t stepping out of bounds.
To make sure I establish good habits, I never refer to patients by anything but their first names, and I only open patient records in my office or in the exam room with the patient to make sure I don’t get in the habit of working on them where others could see.
How do you handle patient complaints? No matter what industry you work in, you’re going to have customers who complain to you, and your employer wants to know that you’ll handle those appropriately. If you can, tell a story about a time you handled a situation like this, but at the very least lay out the steps you’d take if it did happen.
While I was working at my last job , I had a patient who complained that I had badly hurt her during a blood draw. While I knew that I hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary and even had a nurse confirm that, I also knew that arguing wouldn’t solve anything. I apologized to the patient and asked if I could get him an ice pack to help with the pain. He said no, so after I left I went and talked to my supervisor to see what else I should do. She went in and also apologized and offered some ice and a topical medication. He accepted and was pleasant the rest of the time he was in the facility.
What is your ideal work schedule? Will you be available to work some nights and weekends? The medical field often requires some evening and weekend work, and your potential employer is going to want to know what you’re willing to commit to. Try to be as flexible as possible, but if you have something you need to work around, communicate that now to avoid future surprises.
I’m willing to work any day, whether that’s weekdays or weekends. As far as nights go, I do have two children that I need to take care of in the evenings. I’m still willing to work night shifts , but I’ll need to find someone to watch them when I do, so I’d ask for at least two days’ notice, if possible, whenever you do need me to work during those times.
Why should we hire you Companies want to know what sets you apart as a candidate , and who better to tell them that than you? Hit one or two main points and communicate them confidently, but be sure to explain how your qualifications would benefit the company.
My time as both a medical assistant and an administrative assistant has made me a well-rounded worker who can handle a wide variety of tasks at a moment’s notice, and believe that I could put that experience to work to help make this office as effective and successful as possible.
10 Additional Medical Assistant Interview Questions for Employers
Can you describe the process of taking a patient's vital signs, including the specific measurements you would typically record and how you ensure accuracy?
What steps would you take to ensure patient confidentiality and maintain HIPAA compliance in a medical setting?
Walk me through the process of preparing a patient for an electrocardiogram (EKG) test, including the necessary equipment, patient positioning, and any precautions to be taken.
How would you handle a situation where a patient exhibits signs of distress or discomfort during a medical procedure? Provide an example and explain how you would respond.
Describe your experience with medical billing and coding. What codes and guidelines are you familiar with, and how do you ensure accurate and timely submission of claims?
Explain your knowledge and experience in administering medication, including dosage calculations, routes of administration, and documentation procedures.
What infection control practices and protocols do you follow when preparing a patient for a minor surgical procedure? How do you ensure a sterile field and minimize the risk of infection?
How would you handle a patient who is non-compliant with their prescribed treatment plan? Describe a situation you have encountered in the past and the steps you took to address it.
Can you discuss your experience and proficiency in performing phlebotomy? Include the types of blood collection methods you are familiar with and any additional precautions you take for patients with special needs.
Walk me through the process of conducting a patient's medical history intake, including the specific information you would gather and any follow-up questions you might ask.
How to Prepare for a Medical Assistant Interview
As a Candidate:
Review the job description. Review the job description and create a list of qualifications, skills, and responsibilities for needed for the job. This will help you come up with examples from your past to use in your interview answers.
Review HIPPA and patient confidentiality. Before the interview, be sure that you are aware of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations and the importance of the confidentiality. This will also help you be refreshed on the act in case you are asked questions related to it.
Research the company. Research the company and who will be conducting your interview. You should be familiar with their mission, values, services, and any recent news or developments. This will also help you align their values with your own personal values in your interview answers.
As an Interviewer:
Assess soft skills. Soft skills are crucial when you are a medical assistant so make sure you assess and evaluate the candidates soft skills. Important ones to look out for are analytical skills, attention to detail, and interpersonal skills.
Create interview questions. Make a list of medical assistant behavioral and technical interview questions. These questions will allow you to evaluate the candidates knowledge and how they may react in specific situations.
Prepare to answer questions. The candidate should ask questions so it's important to know about the organization, work environment, team dynamic, or career progression opportunities.
- Zippia Careers
- Healthcare Support Industry
Sep 1, 2023
21 Common Questions to Expect in a Medical Assistant Interview
After you have completed your medical assistant training and are contacting potential employers for job interviews, you’ll want to be fully prepared.
Anticipating some of the questions that medical offices will ask you in a job interview will help you answer confidently.
Below, we’ve collected some of the most common questions that are asked by healthcare employers when interviewing candidates.
You might want to practice answering these questions in a mock interview, so your answers are quick and confident.
1. Tell me a little about yourself and your background.
This is an open-ended question. To keep the interviewer's attention, limit your answer to about 30-60 seconds. Answer this question as it relates to your education and work history. Include your skill set, strengths, and how a company would benefit from your background.
2. Why are you interested in this role?
Why do you want to be a medical assistant? Your preparation and research should become apparent here. Give one or two reasons why you are interested in the company, and what in particular piqued your interest. What is the most compelling thing you can describe about your personal experience with the company, its products or its employees? Possible answer include the company's reputation, the job description itself, for a desire to get in the medical field.
3. What previous experience do you have in medical assisting?
If you are a new medical assistant graduate, speak about your educational training, externship, previous work experience and volunteer experience as it relates to the job description. Point out similarities by connecting your experience(s). Remember to communicate your knowledge and skills with confidence.
4. What are some of your strengths?
It is important to match at least two or three of your skills and strengths to the needs of the position. Avoid cliches or generalities; offer specific evidence.
5. What are some of your weaknesses?
One way to answer this is to accentuate the areas that you want to learn more about. Avoid pointing out a weakness that might be a major obstacle to landing the job. For example, state that you haven't had a chance to do as many of XX tasks, but you're excited to get a chance to do more and improve your skills, and then explain how you're qualified for the job nonetheless.
6. Do you have any relevant computer skills.
In today's business environment, computer literacy is a must. The interviewer wants to see how comfortable and/or familiar you are with computers and learning new software.
For example, electronic health records are a big part of medical billing and many medical assistant administrative tasks involve navigating computer software and patient medical records are primarily recorded via computer, as electronic health records (EHR). Being familiar and comfortable using a computer is an integral part of the job.
7. Why did you leave your last job?
Concentrate on the opportunity you had when you left your previous employer. The interviewer is listening to see if the candidate is going to be easy to work with and whether they are in this job for the long haul or not. How you answer this question might say something about your attitude about personal responsibility. Some advice: try not to talk badly about your last employer. Even if the work environment was toxic, don’t complain about specific circumstances. The interviewer might think you will turn around and say negative things about this medical office if they hear you say bad things about your last job.
8. What is your favorite part of medical assisting?
With this question, the employer is trying to find out if you will have the mindset to be a medical assistant long term, and gauge whether you will be well suited to the work. What they are looking for is a genuine interest in doing the medical assistant’s work, and not someone who is simply in it for a paycheck and nothing else. They may also be checking to see if you have true care for taking care of patients.
9. What is your least favorite part of medical assisting?
Mostly, the interviewer is watching to see if you respond with a long list of complaints. They want to see if you are going to be happy working for the organization. If you do present a negative aspect, be sure to also present a way you might solve or deal with that issue.
10. How do you handle stress in a fast-paced work environment?
This is a typical behavioral-based interview question, so follow the STAR format. Many times,a medical office can be stressful, if you deal with agitated patients, or it is a particularly busy day. Think about how you will deal with stressful situations before they happen, so you don’t respond impulsively.
11. Tell me how you would deal with an agitated patient at the front desk.
This is a behavioral-based interview question. This question reveals your character traits, abilities, and skills. Craft your answer to showcase your strengths and demonstrate your ability to handle conflict and follow directions. For example, think of a situation, task, and then focus on what actions you took and what results you obtained to diffuse the situation and calm down the patient or if not a patient a customer. Remember to always maintain a professional demeanor.
12. Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a coworker and how you handled it.
This is a common behavioral-based interview question for any employer, not just in healthcare.It is important to demonstrate your ability to skillfully manage conflict and being able to work together as a team, even when you don’t get along with someone, is part of being a professional. Solving interpersonal issues calmly will help the office run smoothly, while delivering exceptional patient care. Employers want to see that you are calm, collected, and collaborative, and not a person who deals with interpersonal issues emotionally. Dealing with a co-worker that has an issue with you is another form of problem-solving.
13. Do you prefer clinical or administrative medical assistant work more?
In some medical offices, there might be different medical assistants who do mostly administrative work or mostly clinical work. This question may be assessing where a candidate would be the best fit. Ideally, a medical assistant is ready to do both clinical and administrative work.
14. Do you know how to follow HIPAA guidelines in your work as a medical assistant?
Every medical facility and medical professional must follow HIPAA guidelines to protect the personal health information of patients. Be sure to study up on HIPAA before you go in for your interview, so you are fully prepared to show understand how to follow those rules.It is also important to know that HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
15. Have you been trained in phlebotomy? Are you comfortable drawing blood?
Many medical assistants will need to draw blood from a patient at some point. By getting phlebotomy training alongside medical assistant training , you will be a more useful candidate for a medical assistant position.
16. Do you know how to take patient vital signs and document their medical histories?
One of the most useful and important things medical assistants do is take vital signs and add that information to a patient chart. Accurately recording vital signs like blood pressure, pulse, heart rate, respiratory rate, spO2, temperature are things every medical assistant should know how to do.
17. Do you have any experience with medical coding and billing?
When medical assistants have some knowledge of medical coding and insurance, that can help them work within the medical team more effectively.
18. Are you willing to work nights, weekends, or holidays?
Normally, this question will come up if you are interviewing for a job at a hospital. In physician’s offices, this will generally come up less frequently. It all depends on the medical facility to which you are applying. Your response should match closely the position you’re applying for and should reflect a realist understanding of the work and time required. In most cases, those with the least seniority have the least amount of control over their preferred shifts. As you gain experience and tenure, this can change. If you are applying for your first medical assistant job, it will be best if you present yourself as a team player.
19. Why do you want to work at this facility?
It is important to talk about how the position and company vision corresponds with your career goals. You should research the medical facility to which you are applying and be able to tell them things you admire about the organization. If the pay is higher than normal, don’t mention that, as it might seem you only want to work there for the money. Instead, mention the other aspects of the medical organization that you find inspirational or practical.
20 Why are you the best candidate for this position?
Speak confidently and honestly. You should reiterate your training and experience, as well as your soft skills and desire to help others will make you a valuable asset to the medical team. Medical offices are looking for candidates that are willing to learn, easy to work with, fully qualified and trained, and can handle difficult patients without losing their cool.
21. What is your expected salary for this job?
This is a question most job interviews ask candidates. The reason is to make sure both the candidate and employer are within the same range of salary expectation.
You can look on various job websites within your area to see what the salary ranges are for medical assistants. Many sites also list the median salary ranges for medical assistants in each of the fifty states, and selected cities. Preliminary research will allow you to have a reasonable expectation of salary for an entry-level medical assistant.
Become a Certified Medical Assistant in About 42 Weeks
The Medical Assistant Program at Campus, formerly known as MTI College, prepares students to become a certified medical assistant in about 42 weeks. Students who complete the medical assistant training program will also have access to Campus’ job placement assistance service. Our expert staff will provide alumni with the resources to find a job upon graduation by assisting with resume writing, job interviewing advice and techniques, and various other resources to find medical jobs around the Sacramento area.
Our medical assisting students learn medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and pharmacology. Each student in the Medical Assisting program is required to finish a 200‐hour unpaid off‐campus Medical Assisting Externship along with standard course requirements to graduate. To become certified as a Medical Assistant, the classroom work can be completed, followed by a 5-week externship.
If you would like more information on the Medical Assisting program at Campus, fill out the form on this page, or contact our friendly Admissions team today!
Top 10 Medical Assistant Interview Questions
Employers hiring medical assistants are looking for candidates with a mastery of both clerical and personal skills.
Those looking into a medical assistant program can expect rigorous training in both medical and healthcare administrative skills. It will be your job to record patient information, answer questions about healthcare insurance and policies, prepare rooms for doctors and nurses, and even take vital signs.
Experience in all these duties will help you land the job, but it’s always best to prepare for more specific questions too. Expect questions on healthcare procedures, situational responses, and questions pertaining to your personality as a good fit for the business.
California Career Institute takes great pride ensuring the success of our students. That’s why we’ve chosen the most common questions that employers are likely to ask. See the list below and develop your own responses based on this information before you go to your next medical assistant interview.
Can you handle stress in a fast paced environment?
The job requires thinking quickly on your feet. Coming up with a solution to problems on the spot is a highly sought after skill.
Provide an example of an agitated patient and how you helped them before they left the office .
Most of a medical assistant’s job is helping patients. That means you need experience helping people. Don’t worry if you’ve never had a medical assistant job before. Make any past customer service experience relatable to the position.
How would you treat a patient that suddenly fell unconscious?
It seems random, but you might get a similar question. Typically, the employer wants to see what you would do in a situation where immediacy and action are required.
How should you calm an upset person at the front desk?
Hospitals and other facilities want a calm and soothing atmosphere. It’s necessary to master the art of calming people that are upset, especially in a place that gives a lot of tough news.
What type of person are you?
If you want to succeed as a medical assistant, you should have the right temperament. Generally, a hiring staff wants someone calm, quick-thinking, a people-person, and a quick learner.
What makes you a good candidate for this position?
This question is asked by most employers, not just in a medical assistant interview. Why should they hire you over the next person? List your accomplishments and experiences that would make you the best choice.
What made me consider this Company?
This goes along with the question above but gives you an opportunity to show off your knowledge of the company. You must research the facility before the medical assistant interview. Even a little knowledge will show your dedication and proactive nature.
Is medical assisting just a pit stop?
Hiring mangers want people to commit. Unlike most 9-5 jobs, this industry doesn’t try to use you up and spit you out. They want you to be comfortable and stick around. Tell them your plans for the future in a way that expresses you intend to stay.
Have ever given injections?
Practical questions, such as these, are posed to gauge how much experience you have. Having experience performing these basic medical procedures might help them choose you.
How do you solve a conflict between yourself and a co-worker?
A hospital is first and foremost a team. When people aren’t working well together, patients suffer. You’ll express how to calmly deal with an angry co-worker and resolve the issue in a timely manner. Employers don’t want a ticking time-bomb.
California Career Institute wishes you luck in your medical assistant interview.
Haven’t started an MA program and have any question? The pros at CCI have all the answers. Contact us today.
Top 25 Medical Assistant Interview Questions (Sample Answers Included)
Mike Simpson 0 Comments
By Mike Simpson
The interview, it’s the most important part of your job search. If you nail the medical assistant interview questions that they throw your way, you could soon find yourself with a shiny new name tag. That’s the dream anyway…
If you don’t know how to showcase what you have to offer, your interview journey is gonna be different.
A lot different.
Struggling with medical assistant interview questions and answers feels a lot like riding an overburdened donkey along dangerous switchbacks on the side of a cliff. The fear of falling is real.
But don’t let your anxiety get the best of you . You have the power to choose your interview destiny. The key is preparation. (Which starts with going over the job description with a fine tooth comb!)
And that’s what we’re here to help you do!
How To Answer Medical Assistant Interview Questions
Demand for medical assistants is on the rise. Between 2018 and 2028, the job growth rate is expected to be 23 percent . That’s well above the average across all professions. Plus, unemployment is low, sitting at just 3.5 percent when 2019 came to a close.
What does that mean for you? That opportunities abound. You just have to make sure you’re ready to grab the bull by the horns and make it bend to your will. And what will that take? Preparation.
How do you prepare for a medical assistant interview? How can you make sure you answer medical assistant interview questions in a way that captures the attention of the hiring manager? By knowing what to expect and having a formula for success, both of which are discussed here.
Figuring out what the hiring manager will ask is the easy part. Most medical assistant interview questions are, to a degree, predictable. The company is looking for specific skills and traits, and some questions are best for discovering that information.
However, knowing the questions isn’t enough. You also need a strategy, a solid approach for providing the “right” kind of answers. What’s that formula? It’s a combination of the STAR method and the Tailoring Method.
We’ve talked about the STAR method before. But, for those who are new to it, here’s an overview:
STAR stands for Situation , Task , Action , and Result . It’s essentially a storytelling approach. You set a scene, discuss the duties you had, outline the actions you took, and close with the outcome. Easy peasy.
Tailoring is a lot like customizing. You know the company wants a particular kind of person. They have an ideal candidate in mind. There are must-haves that they can’t do without.
You need to speak to those needs and desires. Craft a value proposition the hiring manager can’t ignore by showing that you are the solution to their problem. Give them clear examples and stories that show you walk the walk.
Then, align those stories with the company’s needs. Make them applicable.
Quantify the details. Make every word count. It isn’t about what you’ve done or what the company can do for you; it’s about what you can do to help your prospective employer thrive.
We also wanted to let you know that we created an amazing free cheat sheet that will give you word-for-word answers for some of the toughest interview questions you are going to face in your upcoming interview. After all, hiring managers will often ask you more generalized interview questions along with their medical assistant specific questions!
Click below to get your free PDF now:
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Top 3 Medical Assistant Interview Questions With Sample Answers
Don’t expect the interview process to be easy. Hiring managers have to find a great fit, so they are going to dig into some complex topics. But don’t let that stress you out. It actually helps you in the long run.
On a 5-point scale, when an interview is a 4 in difficulty, employee satisfaction rises . So, that challenging conversation isn’t a bad thing. It just means you’ll likely be happier if you’re selected.
Now that you know how to answer medical assistant interview questions, it’s time to take what you know and apply it to real-world scenarios. What does that entail? It’s simple. Get to know the questions so that you can create standout answers.
Here’s a look at the top three medical assistant interview questions and answer examples that can serve as a guide.
1. How do you protect patients’ rights and protect confidentiality requirements?
The medical community is dominated by more regulations than you can shake a stick at, with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) being a biggie. Providers want to avoid lawsuits and keep their reputations intact, so they want to know that a new hire will help and not hinder that goal.
“I ensure patient confidentiality and protect patient rights by following all HIPAA guidelines. For example, when interviewing patients, I make sure that they are conducted in private spaces. Additionally, I take medical record safety seriously, ensuring all records are secured in areas that prevent unauthorized access. Further, I rely only on secure methods for sending or discussing patient information”
2. How would you describe your primary duty as a medical assistant?
Medical assistants have a ton of responsibilities, so choosing just one as a focus is a daunting task. However, it gives you a chance to discuss where your priority lies and to position yourself as an asset.
Plus, you don’t have to talk about only one duty. You can actually squeeze a lot of information into this medical assistant interview question and answer. Just tap on a few responsibilities before honing in on the big one.
“During my medical assistant career, I’ve had a range of responsibilities. Along with updating patient records and performing initial exams, I’ve also spent time scheduling appointments and much more. However, I think my main duties are twofold. First, providing exceptional patient care is a core responsibility. Second, being an asset to the physicians and other members of the team, assisting with their daily duties, is paramount to overall success.”
3. How do you handle upset patients who present you with a complaint?
Not all patients are going to be happy. Many are anxious and uncomfortable, so their stress levels are high . This can lead to outbursts, some of which may be justified while others seem less so. But it’s your duty to handle the situation properly, so hiring managers want to know that you can do so gracefully.
“First, I give them the floor. I can’t provide them with the right kind of assistance if I don’t fully understand the issue, so active listening is key. Next, I rephrase their complaint so that I can confirm we are both on the same page regarding the problem. Then, I use empathy to ensure they know they are being heard and that I’m concerned about their well-being and what to find a solution. Finally, I take appropriate steps based on the nature of the complaint, becoming an active part of securing a solution.”
22 More Medical Assistant Interview Questions
Here are some additional medical assistant interview questions you might encounter during your job search:
- Tell me about your medical assistant experience, including internships and education.
- What is the biggest mistake you made as a medical assistant? How did you fix the issue?
- Describe your ideal work schedule. Are you open, or do you have restrictions? Would you be available for extra hours if needed?
- Which of your strengths serves you best when working with patients?
- If you are given two tasks, one involving a patient and one administrative, which do you do first and why?
- Do you have electronic health records experience?
- Can you describe your previous experience with medical billing and coding?
- Do you have experience working at a medical office front desk?
- Are you trained in phlebotomy? Are you comfortable with handling blood draws?
- If you had to do a blood draw on a patient with a fear of needles, how would you proceed?
- Tell me about a time you had a challenging situation with a patient. How did you handle it?
- What’s your experience with taking patient histories?
- Do you have prior experience taking vitals?
- Have you performed an EKG test before?
- Are your AED, CPR, and Emergency Treatment certifications current? If not, do you have a plan for renewing them?
- How do you handle the pressure of working in a fast-paced medical environment?
- If a patient were to suddenly fall unconscious, what would you do?
- What do you do to ensure the patient experience is of the highest quality?
- When counseling patients, what’s your main priority?
- Are you planning to take any continuing education or other relevant courses?
- What steps do you take to make yourself a better medical assistant?
- What do you like most about being a medical assistant? What do you like least?
5 Good Questions To Ask At The End Of A Medical Assistant Interview
Now that you know a bit about what to expect with medical assistant interview questions, it’s time to look at the other side of the equation. As an interview wraps up, you’ll get a chance to ask some questions yourself. Turnabout like this, after all, is fair play in an interview.
While your first instinct might be to get things finished up and say “no,” resist that urge.
You’re being given an opportunity. Don’t waste it.
Asking questions lets you show that you are genuinely interested in the job. Plus, you can find out details you don’t already know, some of which help you decide if this is really the best place for you. Remember, you’re interviewing them, too. You need to make sure it’s a good fit.
- What do your top medical assistants have in common?
- What does an average day for a medical assistant look like at this company?
- What does the patient volume look like on an average day? What about a peak day?
- How do you expect the role of medical assistants here to change and shift over the next three to five years?
- What are this institution’s primary goals? How can medical assistants play a role in achieving those objectives?
NOTE: For more great questions to ask in an interview check out our article !
Putting It All Together
Going to any interview can be nerve-racking. That’s just the nature of the beast. But, by being prepared, you can make sure that you nail the medical assistant interview questions and stand out from the crowd. Just work your strategy to create great answers and practice, practice, practice. Have your examples at the ready. And, remember, you’re a great candidate. You just have to show them that you are.
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- What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
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Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com.
His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others.
Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page .
About The Author
Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page .
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