January 8, 2024
If you received a call to come in for a medical assistant job interview, you’re halfway in the door! Recruiters and hiring managers typically only call in candidates whom they believe are a good match for the qualifications they’re seeking, and the interview is used to get a better feel for the candidate and whether or not they will fit in with the medical office’s setting and culture
The interview is your opportunity to highlight your best skill sets, personal strengths an accomplishments while letting your confidence shine through. To help you prepare for your next medical assisting interview, our Career Services team at American Career College has provided
some of the most common interview questions below — both medical assistant-focused and general.
Read through these questions and start preparing your answers so you can put your best foot forward and increase your chances of landing the job!
If you have held medical assistant jobs in the past, give a quick summary of your previous roles and your key responsibilities. If you are fresh out of your training program and have not yet worked as a medical assistant, you can discuss on-site training and experience you received through your externship.
If there are specific accomplishments you achieved in past medical assistant roles, make sure to highlight those. For example, you might explain that you implemented a new patient filing system that sped up the process of checking in patients, or perhaps you saved your employer money by spotting an issue with the office’s billing process.
You can also mention your medical assistant certification and any other professional credentials that you hold.
Interviewers for medical assistant jobs may ask if you have experience in the following areas:
Be prepared to speak about your training and experience in each of these areas, as they are common duties of medical assistants. Don’t be discouraged if you do not have on-the-job experience in all of these areas. Prospective employers may simply want you to have basic training with an understanding that you will gain experience on the job.
When answering this question, one great way to frame your answer is through the STAR method. This means you answer the question in these four components: Situation, Task, Action, Resolution. This helps you provide your response in a natural story arc and stay focused on the information that matters most to the interviewer.
Try to use as many specifics as possible. For example, instead of saying you saved time on patient check-in with your new filing system, you can say you cut the average patient check-in time by roughly 30%. This helps add credibility to your answers and shows the interviewer the level of impact of your accomplishments.
Medical assistants are expected to have a high level of computer literacy due to the fact that they assist with front office administration tasks. Explain the software programs you have experience using, whether those are programs related to word processing, spreadsheets, accounting, electronic health records (EHRs), customer relationship management (CRM) software or something else.
Because medical assistants handle everything from scheduling appointments to patient check-in to billing, the interviewer will probably want to know how you interact with patients, especially when tensions are running high. Explain your approach for resolving issues with patients and give specific examples of how you put these strategies into practice in past jobs.
The prospective employer wants to confirm that you know how to operate under pressure and will adhere to your office policies while still giving the patient the best experience possible.
If you do not have enough past patient experience to reference, it can be helpful to explain how you dealt with difficult customers in other types of jobs.
Interviewers are looking for passionate employees — individuals who don’t just see their job as a job but a career. Explain why you decided to become a medical assistant and which aspects of the job you enjoy the most. If you have plans for advancing into another healthcare role in the future, make sure to bring that up, as it shows that you have ambition.
When answering this question, it’s important to keep your answer succinct. Don’t go into extensive detail about every aspect of your background, but instead give a brief overview of your educational and professional history, only sharing what is relevant to this particular job.
You want to share details that clearly show why you are a strong candidate for the role and why you are passionate about this career path. Make sure to sprinkle in some of your best professional selling points, as this is your elevator pitch!
It’s not the time to be modest when answering this question! Remember that you are selling yourself to the interviewer and you need to show that you truly believe you are the best match for the job.
Confidently state what you believe is your greatest skill set or characteristic and explain how you have applied it in previous jobs, whether or not those are medical-related jobs. For example, strong customer service skills demonstrated in a retail job are easily transferable to a medical assistant role where you will be the first person interacting with a patient.
Come prepared with three of your top strengths and specific examples of how you have used them in past roles.
Answering this question can be tricky, as you want to be honest with the interviewer but you also don’t want to paint yourself in a negative light. The best approach is to choose a real weakness you struggle with and explain steps you are taking to improve in this area, as this demonstrates self-awareness and a drive for self-improvement.
While you do want to be honest, choose your weakness wisely — it should be something that would not be viewed as an ethical deal-breaker (such as being dishonest) or something that conflicts with a key aspect of the role (such as challenges dealing with difficult patients).
The goal is to turn the negative into a positive. For example, you may say that you can be forgetful at times but have been implementing a new system of checklists and automated reminders to help you stay focused and on track.
Come prepared with three of your top weaknesses and specific examples of steps you are taking to overcome those challenges.
Employers don’t just want candidates who are qualified for the job — they also want candidates who are a good fit for their organization. Make sure to do extensive research on the hiring organization prior to your interview: read the About section on their website, read about their leadership, check out recent news coverage on their organization and read employee reviews.
Chances are you’ll find something about them that stands out, which you can mention in your interview. This research will show the interviewer that you came prepared, you understand their company and culture and you think you would be a good fit for the organization.
By coming to the interview with your own questions about the job, you show the interviewer that you have spent time thinking about the position, you are genuinely interested in the role and you are a critical thinker. Asking questions also helps you determine if the job is a good fit for your needs.
Additionally, certain types of questions give you the opportunity to show that you have done your research about the position and/or organization, which can help impress the interviewer.
Here are examples of the types of follow-up questions that demonstrate initiative, interest and a high level of awareness of the organization:
For more helpful career preparation tips, continue reading our American Career College blog! You can also learn more about how to get started on your career path with a Medical Assistant program, which can be completed in as little as nine months.
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