Getting Ahead: Nailing Your Medical Assistant Interview
Once a medical assistant (MA) has completed their training they may begin their search for employment. MA find employment in doctor’s offices, clinics and other health care facilities. They have the opportunity to work a variety of shifts. Preparing for an interview may maximize a MA chances of being offered a position with an employer. MA must compete with their peers for jobs in their field. Practicing the interview, preparing answers to the most commonly asked questions and picking an outfit that represents professionalism are all steps one can take to prepare for their interview.
- First impressions are an important part of the interview process. Putting together the right outfit that achieves a professional look is the first step when preparing for a MA job interview. One should choose an outfit that gives the individual a professional appearance. Business attire such as a suit or dress shirt and slacks/skirt should be worn to an interview. Ties and jackets should be worn if available.
- A MA should make sure their interview outfit is clean, free of rips or frays and freshly pressed. Dress shirts should be tucked in and buttoned completely. An untidy appearance may cause an interviewer to think less of the individual, causing them to choose another candidate for the position.
- Jewelry should be simple rather than flashy so it compliments the attire instead of drawing attention. Casual clothing including jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes should be avoided.
- Even though a MA is interviewing for a health care provider position, scrub uniforms should also be avoided. Women should apply makeup tastefully, achieving a more natural, rather than glamorous, look. A person going to an interview should make sure their shoes are clean and polished.
Things to Take to an Interview
A MA should take a few simple things with them to each interview. An updated copy of their resume that is free of errors or typos should be taken to the interview. Taking a resume allows the MA to give the interviewer a copy if needed. It also allows the MA to review their resume, giving them a chance to refresh their memory regarding their work history, skills and experience. Reviewing the resume can be done in the waiting area or the car prior to the interview. A MA should take proof of any certifications or licenses, such as their AAMA license or CPR card. They should also take a pen and notebook so they can write down any necessary information. One should carry their interview supplies in a briefcase or professional looking bag. Black laptop travel bags make good substitutes for briefcases.
Research the Company
Researching the company one will interview with is a good way to show employers interest in working for their company. A MA can research a company by performing an online web search or by talking to someone they know who works there. Some employers may ask, “What do you know about our company?” during the interview. Those whom research the company prior to the interview will be more prepared to answer this question, making a good impression with the individual conducting the interview. Having knowledge about the company may also allow the person being interviewed to be less nervous because they are properly prepared.
Practice the Interview
A good way to prepare for an interview is to practice. Ask a family member or close friend to help you practice. Have them ask the most common questions asked by employers at interviews. This allows the MA to practice their prepared answers. The MA can practice asking any questions they have about the position. The medical assistant should also try on the outfit they picked out to make sure it is suitable for the interview.
Prepare Answers to Common Questions
MA should get ready for an interview by preparing answers to the most common questions asked by employers. Stumbling through answers to questions may give the interviewer the wrong impression. Having answers prepared for commonly asked questions allows the MA to answer with more confidence and less nerves, showing the interviewer that they are comfortable and competent. Lists of commonly asked questions and answers can be found on-line. A MA should keep answers to questions posed by the interviewer truthful, simple and to the point. They should prepare answers that provide information pertaining specifically to them and not just generic answers, such as those found online, which may apply to any MA.
We have a whole article on what questions to expect and to ask in a medical assistant interview. Examples of common interview questions include:
- What made you decide on a career in MA?
- How would you resolve conflict in the workplace?
- How would you deal with an irate patient?
- Are you certified by the AAMA?
- Have you taken any specialization courses?
- What do you know about our company?
- Which of your past jobs did you like best and why?