Common Interview Questions for Medical Assistants
Brush off that suit jacket, put on your brightest smile, and print your résumé on the good paper: It’s time to go job hunting!
Whether you’re stepping into a professional job for the first time ever or you’re switching careers, the job interview can unnerve anyone. If you’re interviewing for a position as a medical assistant, you should expect another layer of questions specific to the job. Practice answering the following questions, and you’ll be prepared, relaxed, and ready to make a great impression.
Medical assistant-specific interview questions
You studied for at least 10 months preparing to be a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), so you know your stuff. You’ve got this! You’re ready. Still, it’s helpful to know exactly what questions to expect that are specific to your education.
“Are you a certified?” Yes! If you have your official CMA designation, be sure to mention it. If you have a different medical certification, such as being a Limited Rad Tech (ARRT), Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), or National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA); or CPR, or OSHA certifications such as bloodborne pathogens training, mention it specifically. Bring a copy (not originals) of your certification/s with you to the interview.
Related resource: 7 Reasons Why Being a Medical Assistant Is the Perfect Career Choice
“Describe your experience with patients.” If you’re a new CMA, talk about your externship. Ameritech’s medical assisting program includes a 180-hour externship, which is significant. If you have other hands-on experience, such as caregiving, talk about that as well. Describe the patients’ needs and your duties in a positive and professional way. More importantly, demonstrate HIPAA compliance by keeping all details confidential.
“What’s your experience with software and insurance billing systems?” A major part of your future job will be done on the computer, so be specific about which programs you have used; this includes medical, accounting, word processing, and email software. Don’t be afraid to mention programs that you are familiar with but may not have used extensively.
You should research the company you’re interviewing for in any industry. Look for their mission statement and values, as well as the clients they serve.
Medical assistant interview questions will also likely explore your knowledge of the practice’s specialty, patient population, and scope. For example, when interviewing at a geriatric clinic, be prepared to talk about your knowledge of transfers, experience with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and dispensing medication.
Related resource: This Is What Your Career Could Look Like as a Medical Assistant
Many companies have adopted behavioral interviewing, a technique designed to get the applicant talking about their experiences. The goal is twofold: First, they want to assess your communication skills, since you’ll be doing most of the talking. Second, they want to observe your decision-making process.
“Describe a stressful situation at work and how you handled it.” Behavioral interview questions are open-ended like that! A good response to these types of questions is the SAR approach: situation, action, result. This approach emphasises the ultimate result of the situation, where you were a smashing success!
Personality and cultural fit
You should expect some straightforward questions in the interview as well. Since you’ll be working so closely with patients and staff, it’s important for the comfort of all that the new hire fits in with the office culture. Expect questions such as:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Are you a “people person”?
- Describe your ideal office environment.
- What did you like and not like about your last job?
You may also be asked, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” This may seem like a trick question, but answer honestly. For some CMAs, working the floor is their passion; for others, it’s part of a longer career trajectory that might include more education and ultimately a different job. In any case, the hiring manager wants a qualified, passionate employee.
Medical assisting is one of the quickest entry points to a career in healthcare, and one of the fastest growing. Take the time to be choosy about your workplace: With such an in-demand certification, you can probably afford to!
Ameritech’s medical assisting program has a 100 percent student satisfaction rate and a 100 percent employer satisfaction rate. To learn more about our great program, visit our website.