Behind every great doctor is a kick-awesome medical support assistant. By stepping into this role, you will undoubtedly be saving lives.
Days spent wrangling critical patient data and taming wild file cabinets do not produce the best interviewers. If you’re reading this post, that probably means you need a little help prepping for an upcoming interview.
Practicing for your interview can help you to formulate the absolute best interview answers. The last thing you want is to be stumbling over your words, searching for an answer that doesn’t exist in your mind.
Luckily for you, we’re here to help!
Below you’ll find some great practice interview questions. We also included some helpful tips to ensure you’ll have maximum success at your interview.
Can you describe a time when you solved a complex organizational problem?
If you’ve spent much time around resume.io, you’ll know we’re suckers for great stories in interviews. Structuring your responses to interview questions as stories gives them shape and sparkle.
Every medical assistant candidate should make sure to prepare a story about a time they organized something. Ideally, that’s a past professional experience. However, examples from your personal life or school can also work.
Why? Your prospective boss will want to know that you’re part neat-freak and part puzzle-solver. They’ll want someone who’ll bring order to the hurricane of papers that is any doctor’s office.
Prepare well for this one. There’s a reason we listed it first. Even if this precise one doesn’t come up, you’ll be able to use examples of times you’ve organized complex systems to answer others.
What was your favorite, and least favorite, aspect of the last practice that you worked?
There’s a trap laid in this question. Do you see it?
Look to the second part, the “least favorite” aspect that the question asks for. It’s a classic faux pas of a professional interview to dwell on the negative characteristics of their last boss or workplace.
Think of it this way. Don’t we all have that friend who spends a little too much time smack-talking a mutual acquaintance behind their back? It’s a strong hint they’re doing the same thing to you when you’re not in the room.
Bosses think the same way. And employees who only have negative things to say about workplaces are rarely blameless.
Again, the right way to approach this question is with a story. Start with a story from a previous workplace that’s emblematic of its positive characteristics.
Then, don't just air all your former employers dirty laundry. Talk about something that improved because of your involvement. Maybe the workplace culture became more friendly thanks to your weekly bowling club. Maybe it became more a more diverse place once you joined the hiring committee.
Focusing on improvements gives you a way to dodge looking like an Eeyore. It also helps to make you look like a good contributor. And isn’t that the whole point of the interview?
Want to know more about some faux pas to keep an eye out for? We’ve written on it before!
Have you ever had to deal with a difficult patient? How did you handle it?
Yes, yes, I know. Medical assistants in many large practices might never deal with a patient. It’s entirely possible that you’ve never dealt with a patient in person for your whole career.
But it’s rare that an employer will complain their team is too flexible. Medicine is an inherently personal industry. There will be people involved somewhere at some point.
Now can you guess what I’m going to say next? That’s right, it’s story time. If you have dealt with a difficult patient in your professional past, share that story with a focus on the way you resolved the issue.
If you haven’t spent much time with patients, use a coworker instead. Surely you’ve had a quarrelsome coworker who required a light touch to deal with. Relating some of the strategies you used in those instances is another good way to show your interpersonal skills.
Worst case scenario, use your personal life. Talk about semi-professional groups like sports teams or volunteer organizations. Worst case scenario, share a story from your interactions with friends or family.
And, hopefully it goes without saying, don’t lie. Sometimes it’s tempting to build a metaphorical straw man for your tack sharp problem-solving skills to skewer. But trust me when I say that your lie is nowhere near as compelling as you think it is. Lying is just a great path to a rejection letter.
What do you think is the most exciting upcoming development in the world of medical record keeping?
Hopefully, I don’t have to be the one to tell you that medical record keeping is a constantly shifting field. That’s thanks to technological advances and wild changes in regulatory policy.
I know that you make a habit of staying HIPAA (see what I did there?) to the latest updates in medical record sharing policy. But in case you don’t, you should be.
Policy Medical is a good place to keep an eye on. So is HIPAA Journal. You should spend extra energy leading into an interview reading on these issues. You might get a question like this if your interviewer wants to know that you’re in the know.
And, if not, you can always sprinkle your knowledge into other answers. That's a great way to demonstrate your dedication and competence.
One recommendation: try to focus on issues that will affect the practice you’re talking to. Use a different answer at small family offices versus major health centers.
Why have you chosen to work in the Medical Support field?
Hiring Managers want to hire people who are passionate about what they do. You should have a great answer that conveys your dedication to the Medical Support field.
It is important to identify and relay specific factors that make you an excellent choice for the job. It’s also critical to convey your understanding of the mission of the facility/company.
You might say something like this:
“I have always been drawn to helping others and choosing to work in the Medical Support field was a very natural step for me.
I’m very organized, systematic, and I love working with people.
I understand what a fundamental role a Medical Support Assistant plays at [Company Name]. I am completely confident in my abilities that make me an excellent candidate for this job.”
If possible, don't just focus on general passion. Share an anecdote from the things that inspired your original interest in medicine. Did you have a sick family member? Did you spend a lot of time in the hospital as a child?
Whatever it is, this is the most important question for you to sell. If your interviewer doesn’t leave the room with a strong impression that you care, they likely won’t either.
How do you feel about working in a team environment?
Hiring Managers want candidates who can work well with others and don’t want ones who cannot. Being able to effectively work in a collaborative environment is key to most jobs, especially jobs in the Medical Support field. You and your colleagues depend on one another to make sure things progress in a positive manner. You might say something like this:
“I understand the kind of crucial team effort that is required of Medical personnel. I am happy to say that I have always thrived in team-centric environments.
When multiple people come together, working towards a common goal, great things happen. Especially in the Medical field.
Patients and families rely on us to provide optimal care and support. It is imperative that teamwork be honored and valued.”
This is also a great opportunity to flip the tables and ask a few questions. You might want to know how your interviewer would describe their team. You can even ask about ways they’d like their team to improve.
Asking questions back gives you the chance to show that you care about the quality of the team at your workplace. It shows an interest and a desire to be that positive change.
How do you handle pressure and stress in the workplace?
Hiring Managers want to choose employees who work well under pressure. They also want a team that can stand the tests of stress and time.
Work isn’t always a picnic. Showing that you can handle stress and pressure makes you a more ideal candidate. That's especially true in a detail-oriented job in the Medical Support field.
You might say something like:
“I pride myself on the ability to take deep breaths and move forward.
I’ve dealt with many high-pressure situations. I’ve learned how to cope with them in a way that allows for progress to take place. In the Medical Support fi,eld it is common to deal with a plethora of emotions and frustration.
I know how important it is to be able to keep calm.”
If you have the time, sprinkle in some specific strategies for how you keep calm. Deep breaths? A quick walk? Let the interviewer know that you understand what works best for you.
What is the most rewarding aspect of this job?
Hiring Managers want to hire people who feel rewarded by their work.
Feeling rewarded means that you feel satisfied and compelled by your work. It is very conducive to productivity. Conveying your devotion and satisfaction you gain from working in this field is crucial.
You might say something like:
“Working in the Medical support field is all about compassion for others.
I chose this profession because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. I wanted to use my skills and passions and in turn, positively impact those around me.
I have felt rewarded many times in my life. But the greatest rewards have come from knowing that I helped to make life easier for a patient and their family. It doesn’t get more rewarding than that.”
Take a little extra time to find the truthful answer to this question rather than the one that sounds nice. Why do you care? Understanding the answer to this question intimately will help you answer many questions better. It will also help you choose a workplace that will actually make you happy.
Talking the Talk
You already have the tools, the experience, and the dedication to get the job you’re looking at. The only barrier remaining is to show these things to the right hiring manager.
Remember, your the data-wrangler and file cabinet-tamer who’s already proved this is a job you can do!
The best way to make that happen is to practice practice practice. Regularly going through answers to the questions posed above will be just what the doctor ordered to help you find success in your next job interview.