21 Common Questions to Expect in a Medical Assistant Interview

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. Understanding common questions to expect in a medical assistant interview is crucial to prepare effectively and respond with assurance.

Below, we’ve collected some of the most common questions that are asked by healthcare employers when interviewing candidates.

How should I prepare for a Medical Assistant interview to increase my chances of success?

To really excel and learn how to pass a medical assistant interview, simulate the interview environment as realistically as possible. You can 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. During your preparation, it's helpful to review the most frequently asked interview questions for healthcare positions to anticipate what interviewers might ask. 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. Such questions are integral to understanding how to pass a medical assistant interview by revealing how you handle real-world situations. 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.

What qualities are employers looking for in a Medical Assistant?

Employers are looking for these qualities in a medical assistant:

  • Communication skills
  • Positive attitude and friendly demeanor
  • Time management and organizational skills
  • Computer savvy
  • Adaptability and ability to “think on feet”
  • Good listener
  • Attention to detail
  • Compassion and empathy

Medical assistants who work in specialized medical centers might need specific skills related to the specialty of the facility.

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! Also, feel free to ask about tips and strategies for tackling common questions to expect in a medical assistant interview, which our Admissions team can provide.