Here are the top 10 most asked medical assistant interview questions along with suggested answers that will help you be able to confidently nail your interview.
1. As a medical assistant, how would you make sure that you are following HIPAA regulations and ensuring patients’ privacy?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) forms an important part of the job of a medical assistant, as you are required to protect the privacy of patients and prevent their sensitive health information from being disclosed without their consent. You should brush up on HIPAA protocol as it relates to medical assistants before your interview. The interviewer wants to know that you understand how important HIPAA is, and that you know how to follow this protocol in your daily work.
HIPAA protocol formed an important part of my medical assistant certification. I have always taken patient privacy very seriously and understand the importance of not disclosing information, even accidentally. I only ever use a patient’s first name in the waiting room, and I never leave a patient a voicemail without signed permission, as I don’t know who has access to listen to their messages. I only discuss patient issues with other medical professionals who are involved in the patient’s care. I never leave charts lying around or in a position where details are visible to passers-by. Patients need to have confidence and trust in me and feel able to share information fully so that they can receive the care they need.
2. Tell me about your experience as a medical assistant.
The interviewer is trying to assess what relevant experience you have. Tell the interviewer about your prior experience, where you worked, how long you worked there, and your responsibilities in that role or those roles. Don’t be afraid to tell the interviewer about any promotions or specific recognition you received in your previous roles. If this will be your first medical assistant role, talk about your internship and the experience you gained as part of the medical assistant certification program. Tell the interviewer about your education and the skills you learned which you will bring to this role.
I recently completed my internship. During that time, I got valuable hands-on experience with the responsibilities of being a medical assistant. I learned how to follow HIPAA protocol in practice, developed my communication skills working within a team of medical professionals, and gained significant experience in, for example, EKG’s and phlebotomy. I think that all this experience makes me an ideal candidate for this full-time position.
3. Have you ever had to deal with a difficult situation at work? Tell me how you handled it.
The interviewer is looking to assess your problem-solving skills. Difficult situations can arise in the workplace, and the example you give should show that you can handle such situations professionally and know how to get the situation under control. You can use the Situation, Task, Action, Result (STAR) strategy to answer the question. Talk about the Situation you encountered. Tell the interviewer about the Task you had to perform. Describe the Action you took and the Result. When answering this question, focus on the role you played in resolving the situation.
During my internship, my female supervisor asked me to join her in attending to a female patient. I went into the patient’s room with my supervisor, but the female patient was uncomfortable having me there in the room. As soon as she expressed her concern, I left the room. She later complained to the front desk that a male had been in her room. So I went with my supervisor to the patient’s room and spoke with the patient. I explained my role as an intern, and that joining my supervisor was a way to get on-the-job-experience. I gave the patient the opportunity to explain why she was unhappy. She stated that she was unhappy because we hadn’t asked her permission before I came into the room. I acknowledged that I understood her concern, and I apologized for not asking her permission first. The patient was satisfied.
4. How would you describe your computer skills? Tell me what computer skills you have.
Medical billing, coding, and being proficient with electronic health records are important to the role of a medical assistant. Prior to the interview, think about your experience with specific computer programs, such as Microsoft Office and electronic health records software.
I have been trained in using Nextgen’s electronic health records software and in medical billing. I have processed claims with private insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid. I feel very comfortable working with computers and various medical software.
5. What attracts you to the role of a medical assistant?
The interviewer wants to assess whether you see the role as simply a paycheck at the end of the month or whether you have a genuine desire to be part of the healthcare industry. The healthcare industry requires empathy, compassion, and a desire to help others. Use your answer to show why you want to improve the lives of others.
I see the field of healthcare and being a medical assistant as an opportunity to help people. I consider myself a people person and get satisfaction from being able to assist people who are going through a tough time with their health. I see this role as one where I will learn every day because of the variety of patients I will see and be able to help.
6. What do you consider to be some of your strengths?
Most people feel uncomfortable talking about themselves and how wonderful they are. This question isn’t an opportunity to brag. It is your opportunity to show to the interviewer that you have strengths in areas that are relevant to being a medical assistant. Prior to the interview, identify the skills you will need to succeed in the job. Then, identify your strengths. Think about interpersonal strengths as well as strengths in clinical skills that you may have.
One of my strengths is that I am a good team player. During my internship, I worked well with different medical professionals to ensure the provision of excellent care to the patients. Other strengths are my communication and people skills, which pair well with my clinical skills. By being a strong communicator, I can explain procedures to patients in a simple way and help to put them at ease about what is going to happen next.
7. In your career to date, what do you consider to be your biggest mistake?
It would be easy to focus on the negative with this question, but do not do that. Instead, focus on what you learned from your mistake. Mistakes happen. What is important is that you show how you learned from your mistake.
My biggest mistake so far was to underestimate the impact I can have on patients and their experiences at the clinic. Initially, I concentrated on the technical aspects of my job, but with the help of some constructive criticism from my supervisor, I have worked to develop a friendly and compassionate bedside manner with patients. I continue to work on being friendly and approachable, ensuring that the first experience the patient has with me, and therefore with the clinic, is as warm and pleasant as it can be under the circumstances. My job is so much more than being technically capable. It is critical to show compassion and give comfort to the patient.
8. What do you consider some of your weaknesses?
Use this question to highlight a weakness that isn’t relevant to the role or to show an area that you are looking to improve. Alternatively, highlight a weakness that could be regarded as a strength in the healthcare industry, such as being empathetic.
I am more comfortable in a clinical environment than on the administrative side. For my current role, I had to learn new administrative processes. I found that daunting, but as I am skilled in using technology, I learned the processes quickly. I am confident that I could get up to speed with any administrative processes in this role as well, particularly as I am not afraid to reach out for help if I need it.
9. In 5 years’ time, where do you see yourself?
The interviewer wants to see whether you are using this role as a stepping stone to something else, or whether you have a desire to stay in the industry and with the organization. If you would like to advance beyond the role of a medical assistant, it is okay to express that desire, but you will need to strike a balance between being too ambitious and not ambitious enough. Being too ambitious will suggest to an employer that you want to progress right away when you may not be ready for it. Not being ambitious enough can suggest a lack of motivation to improve and progress.
Over the next 5 years, I see myself working in a medical assistant role, consistently taking on more responsibility and progressing in my career. Most likely, I would like to go to nursing school at some point in the future.
10. What is it about this facility that made you want to interview here?
The interviewer wants to assess whether you want to work for this healthcare facility or whether any facility will do. It is your chance to show them you have researched the facility, understand its mission statement, and that you are a good fit for this particular facility. You should research the facility and the names of the interviewers online before your interview, including its website, any social media sites, and any recent news. In the interview, find ways to weave what you have learned about the facility into your questions or answers so you can prove to your interviewers that you have made an effort to prepare for the interview and really do want that particular job.
When researching job openings, I was excited to see that this facility has four different pediatricians. I have a genuine interest in working with children, and being exposed to the knowledge bases and practicing styles of four different pediatricians is an incredible opportunity to broaden and deepen my skill set and competencies in caring for children. It also increases the chances of a busy environment, where there is always something to do or someone to help, which I love.
Next 40 Most Asked Medical Assistant Interview Questions
- What do you consider to be your principal duty as a medical assistant?
- What do you like most about being a medical assistant?
- What is the thing you like least about being a medical assistant?
- Tell me about your education.
- Can you tell me a little about yourself?
- Tell me about any phlebotomy training you have had.
- Tell me about your experience with EKG’s.
- If a patient suddenly fell unconscious, describe what you would do.
- What certifications do you have?
- What experience do you have taking patient histories?
- Do you have experience in taking a patient’s vitals?
- How would your last or current employer describe you?
- Can you describe what administrative training you have had?
- A patient is frightened of needles, and you need to draw blood. How would you deal with that?
- What is your experience with patient prescriptions?
- What do you know about medical coding and billing?
- How do you prioritize between patient tasks and administrative tasks?
- How do you handle working in a fast-paced environment?
- Can you tell me about the clinical skills training you have had?
- How do you think your coworkers would describe you?
- What were your primary responsibilities in your last role?
- How do you protect patients’ rights and confidentiality?
- Tell me about a difficult situation you have had with a supervisor. How did you resolve the situation?
- Do you have any particular areas of interest?
- What further training or educational opportunities do you think you require?
- What type of work pattern are you looking for?
- What is your availability to work extra hours?
- As a medical assistant, how do you think you can add value to a patient’s experience?
- Why do you think you are the best person for this role?
- Have you had the experience of counseling patients?
- What are your priorities when counseling patients?
- Tell me about your experience working at the front desk in a medical office.\
- In your current or last role, what did you do to help reduce costs?
- Are you comfortable drawing blood? What about other invasive procedures?
- What responsibilities have you had with patients and their visitors?
- How comfortable are you answering the phone and greeting patients?
- In your current or previous role, did you have any responsibility for the oversight of medical supplies and equipment?
- What steps have you taken recently to make you a better medical assistant?
- Thinking about your strengths, which of them do you consider most important in working with patients?
- In your current or last role, what steps did you take to improve efficiency?
10 Best Questions to Ask in a Medical Assistant Interview
The interview isn’t over when the interviewer stops asking questions. They will usually offer you the opportunity to ask them questions. Always use this opportunity. Ask questions that show your interest in the role. This is also an opportunity for you to assess whether this is the right employer for you.
- What would an average day look like for a medical assistant?
- How many patients would you expect a medical assistant to see in a day?
- What is it about working here that you enjoy the most?
- In your opinion, what strengths do the best medical assistants have in common?
- What is it about working here that you enjoy the least?
- What do you see as the primary goals of this facility?
- How do you see the role of medical assistants changing over the next five years?
- How do you think a medical assistant can help the facility achieve its goals?
- What opportunities are there for further training?
- What do you consider the most challenging aspect of this role?
Interviews are nerve-wracking, but by preparing in advance for your medical assistant interview, you can make sure you provide great answers and stand out from the other candidates. You already know you are the best candidate for the role, and preparation will give you the confidence to show it.
Keith Miller has over 25 years experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entreprenuer, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.