Medical Assistant Job Interview: What Questions to Expect And to Ask

Though medical assisting is a popular and fast growing career, employment opportunities can be competitive. Employers want to ensure they are hiring the best, most qualified medical assistant for the job. As such, job interviews can be tough. Interviewing for a medical assisting job can be stressful, especially if you’re not sure what to expect.

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Common questions an employer will ask you include:

1. Tell me about yourself

Consider this a warm-up question. An employer may ask this simply to get to know you better. They are looking to see into your personality and what makes you tick. Answer this question honestly, but don’t disclose everything about yourself—especially if it really has no effect on your ability to be a great medical assistant employee.

Answer: Keep it simple. Talk a little about your interests, such as reading or gardening, where you went to college, any volunteer work you do or community organizations you belong to. Keep it positive.

2. What are your weaknesses or professional areas you’d like to improve?

Employers use this question to gauge how honest you’re being with them, and how well you rate your own skills. This can be a trick question, since you obviously don’t want to give an answer that can jeopardize your chance of being hired. Be sure to answer this question by noting your strengths as well as the area you’d like to improve.

Answer: Keep it positive. For instance,

“I have excellent computer skills and am proficient in word processing and Excel. However, I’ve not fully mastered Microsoft PowerPoint yet and am eager to do so.”

“I am fully trained in all clinical areas of caring for pediatrics, such as giving correct immunizations, taking vital signs and administering medications; however, I’d really like the ability to perform venipuncture on children to better my skill.”

By noting your strengths and your willingness to learn, you can make your weaknesses seem like a benefit.

3. What are your strengths?

This question allows you to talk about your strongest skills and abilities as related to the job. Employers use this question to see if your skills are a good fit.

Answer: Talk about your strongest personal and clinical skills.

4. Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult patient.

This question wants to know how well you handle conflict. Every medical office will have its share of conflict—be it an upset patient or dispute between employees.

Answer: Think to a time you handled conflict and how you resolved it for the better. If you’ve never handled conflict in the medical office, think to your college education and how you were taught to deal with difficult patients or co-workers.

5. What do you like most about being a Medical Assistant?

Employers want to know why you chose this profession. What drew you to it and what makes you passionate about it? They are looking for candidates with the most dedication and passion for the business.

Answer: Describe what you like most about your career. What brings you joy? What brings you personal satisfaction? If you have limited working experience, describe what you liked most about your training, education and externship.

6. What do you dislike the most about being an MA?

Alternately, employers want to know what you don’t like about the profession. This helps them know what areas you may need additional training or support in. How you answer is important. Keep the negative things as positive as possible.

Answer: Answer honestly, but keep it light. For instance, you may describe how you love working with patients on a personal level but it is difficult to see them in pain or suffering. Or, how you love the challenge of a fast-paced environment but have difficulty un-winding after work.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years professionally?

This question allows the interviewer to see how long you will potentially stay with the company. If you plan to go back to school or know you’ll be moving or relocating in a year or two, be honest with the interviewer. They may still be able to accommodate your upcoming life plans. Employers also want to know what your professional goals are. This shows ambition and a willingness to learn.

Answer: Be honest about your plans for the future, such as going back to nursing school. If you expect a life change that may alter your employment, let them know upfront. Also talk about your professional goals, such as to be an office manager in three years, or lead clinical medical assistant.

When preparing, also read our article: Getting Ahead: Nailing Your Medical Assistant Interview.

Search Medical Assistant Programs

Get information on Medical Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Article Written by Elizabeth Otto

Elizabeth Otto is a freelance writer specializing in medical and health articles. Otto has worked as a certified medical assistant in specialty practice since 1994 and is also a nationally registered emergency medical technician.

7 Responses to “Medical Assistant Job Interview: What Questions to Expect And to Ask”
  1. Antonette says:

    Your website has been very helpful getting me prepared for my interview. Although I have had several years experience, each Dr and office is different. It is scary every a time for interviews for me so this website has me feeling more confident and prepared to this challenge. Thank you very much for helping me to get one step closer to my career!!! :)

    • Tara says:

      I am currently in school about to be going out on my externship. I have an interview tomorrow for a site I really really would love to work at. I am in competition with 3 other classmates so i’d like an edge. Any advice you could give that would set me apart from everyone else, would be greatly appreciated.
      Tara Smith

  2. anthony galay says:

    thanks ,Elizabeth for you inconditional heal that being very helpfull for me. I am a hispanic with a littre problems about the language, but with very hight interes in progress and help other. any way I wiil have my interview for a internship this frayday.please if you have any other advice let me know. thanks again for you inconditional help. god bless you.

  3. Raunah says:

    I am going to the interview tomorrow for clinical assistant, I studied Occupational health and safety, what advice or information will you give me? Please help since it is gonna be my first time to be in the interview. Thank you

  4. malo says:

    how to answer this question. Do you have any stipulations/restrictions on your certification?
    thank you in advance

  5. Brandy says:

    I am grasped at this website it is very helpful. I Will be graduation soon as an MA, I haven’t done an interview almost 10 years i am very nervous going out there in this field. Anway I put my trust in god, I am very confident in myself. just be honest with your answers and give it your best.

  6. Charlotte Miller says:

    I find it odd that rate of pay or salaries are not mentioned. Because most places pay $14/ hour less. Lpn’s get paid more. I graduated from a 2 year College when medical assisting was a 2 year program. That was in 1987 and the rate of pay then was $12/hr. So it hasn’t gone anywhere all these years because AAMA does nothing to affect it. Plus, now with these quicky MA programs, medical assisting has been dumbed down & it’s basically a glorified secretary position. Luckily I have been at my job as a CMA-C ( clinical medical assistant, we weren’t trained in secretarial work, like now), for many years & I make an amazing income, BUT, when my employer retires & I have to look for a new MA position, I dread to think what’s out there & the low wages. If I had to do this all over again, I would never choose medical assisting. I tell anyone who thinks about going into it, not to & to choose RN, or coding, or ultrasound.

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