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.
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.