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Medical Assistant Interview
Questions

34 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brown
Updated January 22nd, 2019
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    

Question 1 of 34

What makes you feel you will be a good fit for our organization?

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Interview Questions

1.

What makes you feel you will be a good fit for our organization?

Rather than just sharing how you have gone above and beyond expectations in the past, focus on how your qualities will help you meet and exceed expectations with their organization. Discuss the reasons why will you be great at this particular job. Talk about your qualifications and skills that will help you to do this job well. If you can, match your strengths to the requirements outlined in the job description.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I know I will be successful in this role because I have been working as a medical assistant for (X) years, and have taken that time to build upon both my administrative and clinical skills. Also, I have all of my updated certifications as outlined in your job description. I am well-prepared for this next step in my career."

Darby's Answer #2

"I feel I have the education and skills necessary to become an asset to your organization and I believe, given the opportunity, I can prove that."

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2.

Are you comfortable taking vital signs on patients?

The clinical role of a medical assistant often requires taking vital signs and documenting them in the patient chart, as well as reporting any abnormalities to the physician. The interviewer wants to know that you are comfortable with this important skill.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In the early clinical stage of my education as a medical assistant, I was taught to take vital signs and what the norms should be for different age groups. I am very comfortable with taking vital signs."

Darby's Answer #2

"Yes, I am comfortable with taking vital signs. In fact, I really enjoy working the triage area of the medical clinic where vital signs and patient history is taken. It gives me an opportunity to set the stage for what the patient can expect for the remainder of his visit, which is very important."

3.

Tell me about one of your favorite patients.

As a medical assistant, you will have the opportunity to take care of many patients. There will most likely be at least a few who touch your life in a special way. The interviewer wants to know what makes a patient unforgettable to you.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I worked as a nurse's assistant before becoming a medical assistant. I remember the first patient I was ever assigned to when I was working as a nursing aide. It was my first day to work on the hospital floor with my own patients. One of my patients was an elderly man who was very frail. I had to give him a bed bath and shave his face. The bath was fine, but I was so afraid to shave a man's face. He was calm and so sweet. He talked me through every step. To some people, they may not seem like a big deal, but to me, it meant the world."

Darby's Answer #2

"One of my favorite patients ever was an elderly lady that lived in a long-term care facility where I worked previously. Every morning she wanted her hair rolled and makeup done. It didn't matter if there was an activity or outing scheduled, or if she was just going to be 'home.' She said her mother always told her to look her best no matter what and that is what she did."

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4.

Being a medical assistant often involves physical exertion, as patients may have to be transferred or lifted, or equipment moved. Are you capable of meeting the physical requirements of this job?

The medical profession can be physically demanding. Standing and walking for long stretches, assisting in lifting patients and staying awake for long periods of time are some of the physical demands of the job. Being aware of the physical demands required of a medical assistant and knowing how to handle those tasks while protecting yourself is important. Tell the interviewer that you understand the physical demands and don't forget to mention ways that you provide self-care.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Through my career, I have spent many long hours on my feet and working shifts at non-traditional times. To be able to do this with ease, I have worked hard to be in the best physical shape that I can be by exercising on a regular basis, eating healthy and getting ample amounts of sleep each night."

Darby's Answer #2

"I understand that while working as a medical assistant I will be asked to perform activities that require physical exertion. I always practice good body mechanics to help prevent injury to my patients or myself."

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5.

What are your long-term professional plans?

Knowing what goals you have and any changes you anticipate in your life will give the interviewer an opportunity to evaluate two things: 1. what positions are available that won't disrupt your plans and, 2. are you interested in having a long-term relationship within the company? Either way, being upfront and honest is always appreciated.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I would really like to find a position where I can really become established and work for the long-term. I have friends who became medical assistants with plans of continuing their education, but I am satisfied with my role as a medical assistant and want to continue along this path."

Darby's Answer #2

"I am a new medical assistant and am very excited about growing and learning in this field. At this time, I don't have any plans in the foreseeable future of going back to school or changing career paths."

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6.

Can you give me an example of one of the most difficult things you've faced as a medical assistant, and how did you handle it?

Medical assistants often perform a great deal of clinical patient care and, therefore, come across difficult cases. With this question, the interviewer wants to know that you are capable of handling the stress that come with handling difficult situations. It's OK to share a personal experience/example, but remember to only use information that will not risk compromising the integrity of a patient's right to privacy.

Ryan's Answer #1

"One of the most difficult things for me is when I am caring for someone who has no family or friends to visit or offer emotional support. Seeing patients who are sick and struggling is hard, but when they don't have anyone to visit or offer care and support to them, it often makes the situation so much harder. This is one reason that many patients seem to lose hope and stop fighting to become better. When I have a situation like this, I always try to prioritize my time and duties so that I can spend any extra time with those patients. Being able to offer support and show compassion to someone is a great feeling, and patients do appreciate the effort."

Darby's Answer #2

"When I first became a medical assistant, I had a patient who came into the clinic thinking he may have pneumonia. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. It was a very stressful time for the patient and his family. With the cancer being so far progressed when he received his diagnosis, his prognosis was not good. He chose not to attempt any treatment. I learned quickly that being a compassionate ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on are very important characteristics for any healthcare professional to possess. I spent as much time with him and his family as I could without neglecting my other patients. It was a very sobering experience for me as a new medical assistant to realize just how quickly a person's life can change with one diagnosis."

7.

Do you feel like you have strong problem-solving skills?

An interviewer is aware of the importance of a medical assistant having strong problem solving skills. Each shift brings unexpected challenges and issues. Show your understanding and strength as a problem- solver. Further, explain how you know when a physician should be called in to help with the situation.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Problem-solving is one of my strengths. I am able to move outside of my emotions, in a critical situation, and use my cognitive ability to find a solution."

Darby's Answer #2

"I do feel like I have good problem solving skills. I like to think outside of the box and try to find the best way to resolve a problem. I also try to stay aware of the fact that, although my job requires skill, I am not expected to know everything. If I reach a place in care that I feel like I need to call a supervisor or the position to assist, I always set my pride aside and ask for help."

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8.

Medical assistants often have to tend to nervous or frustrated family members, in addition to stressed patients. How do you approach offering support to your patient's loved ones?

Providing care to patients is, of course, the main objective of a medical assistant. However, family and patient supporters are naturally concerned and often anxious. Communicating your compassion and knack for comforting others will show an interviewer how well-rounded you are as a nursing aide.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Caring for family members often requires as much patience as caring for our patients. They are naturally afraid of a possible difficult outcome with regard to their loved ones. I always try to speak kindly and offer time to answer questions and give family members an opportunity to talk about what concerns them. While every day does not offer as much free time as others, a few minutes can often make a big difference to a concerned family member."

Darby's Answer #2

"I know what it's like to be the family member who is worried about a loved one requiring critical care. I remember when my father was very ill. He had some nurses and nursing aides who were very kind and approachable. He had a few that were not so kind. I always try to remember how I felt when I was the one in need of support and to treat those family members with the same kind of respect and kindness that I wanted."

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9.

Can you give me an example of how a medical assistant acts as a patient liaison?

Many times, patients are more comfortable talking to a medical assistant or nurse than a physician. Medical assistants are instrumental in helping patients feel at ease in the physician's office. Tell the interviewer how you would personally act as a liaison to help your patients.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I have found that some patients feel less intimidated when they can ask questions of a medical assistant. I believe one way to be an effective liaison is to offer assistance to the patient by going over physician instructions and explaining in detail, if necessary."

Darby's Answer #2

"One example of being a patient liaison would include asking the patient if there is anything that he/she is uncomfortable discussing with the physician and asking if they would like for me to put the information on the clinic note so that they physician will know it is a concern. Often times, simply breaking the ice for the patient takes a great deal of stress away from them and can help the physician and other staff to provide better care."

10.

How would you handle a situation if a physician was rude to you in front of a patient?

No matter what profession a person is associated with, there are times that tensions can run high. Although no one wants to be embarrassed or have someone be rude to them, especially in front of someone else, the interviewer wants to know that you are capable of maintaining your composure and handling an uncomfortable situation in a professional manner. If you have experienced a similar situation, it is ok to share the event as long as patient confidentiality is not compromised.

Ryan's Answer #1

"If a physician was rude to me in front of a patient, I would act as calmly as possible and wait until we are not in front of the patient before trying resolve the situation. Overreacting or acting out in response to someone who is being rude can only make matters worse. Instead, I would continue with the care of the patient and when finished, ask the physician if we can speak privately. At that time, I can discuss my feelings about what has happened and try to come to a resolution to prevent another incident from happening."

Darby's Answer #2

"I had an incident like this happen when I first began work as a medical assistant. The physician I was working with raised his voice at me when I was talking to a patient. Although it upset me, I remained calm and assisted him with the rest of the exam. After the patient left, I told my immediate supervisor what happened and asked if we could schedule a time to discuss the issue with the physician. My supervisor told me that the physician had received some bad personal news that morning and was probably projecting his frustration toward me. She talked with the physician and later the physician apologized to me. I accepted his apology and told him if there is anything I can do to help lighten his load while he is dealing with other things, to let me know."

11.

Have you ever had a patient be combative toward you? If so, how did you handle the situation?

Unfortunately, there are times when a patient may be more difficult to care for than others. The interviewer wants to know that, when faced with this type of situation, you will be able to maintain your composure and handle the incident professionally.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I think any healthcare provider who has worked very long in this profession will tell you that, at one time or another, he/she has had a patient who was not very cooperative. I had a patient throw his food tray at me once. While I was not happy about having oatmeal all over my outfit, I took a minute and talked to the patient to find out what was really going on. I found out that the patient had reported an allergy to oatmeal and had asked the nurse the day before to make sure that dietary knew of the allergy. When he received his breakfast tray, he became upset and threw it at the first person he saw. I cleaned the mess, ordered him a new tray, and noted his chart of the allergy. He was later apologetic."

Darby's Answer #2

"I have not had a patient become combative toward me yet. I would like to think that, if/when I am faced with a situation like that, I will remain calm and try to get to the source of the aggression. Many times people act out in fear and if I can be patient enough to find out what is really going on, perhaps I can help my patient overcome that fear and be more at ease, not only with me, but with all of the care team."

12.

What are some administrative skills you have that you think could be of benefit to you in this position?

As a medical assistant, your experience with administrative skills is a great asset. This is a good chance to give yourself a pat on the back, so to speak. Just remember, highlight your skills, but be prepared to follow through with proficiency if you say you are able to perform a particular skill.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I actually worked as an administrative assistant before I chose to become a medical assistant. The skills I learned during that part of my career are something that I have been able to utilize as a medical assistant. Some of those include accessing and documenting information in electronic health records, transmitting electronic physician orders and obtaining reports from labs and other outside sources."

Darby's Answer #2

"I took classes in business computer applications where I learned different computer skills and programs. I feel like I can use these skills to become an asset to the administrative side of this role as a medical assistant."

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13.

If a patient were to tell you that he does not agree with a doctor's orders, how would you respond?

An interviewer will often ask a question like this to see your response. It is OK to have an opinion. However, it is best to be very careful with how you respond to a patient's complaints. Feeding into a patient's feeling of negativity could cause a bigger problem to result. Remember, always listen to a patient's concerns, and then direct your thoughts/concerns to the appropriate person in a supervisory position. This type of question gives the interviewer a chance to see how you may handle a conflict.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Many times patients say that they don't agree with a doctor's orders because they do not understand the order. If a patient were to tell me that he has a concern about an order, I would ask what the concern is first, to make sure he has an understanding of what the order is and why the physician chose it. If I can explain an order/procedure to a patient in a way that he can understand it, I will. If I feel like the patient's concern is not based on lack of knowledge, but that he truly disagrees with an order, I will tell him that I am going to speak to my supervisor so that his concerns can be addressed."

Darby's Answer #2

"If a patient were to tell me that she disagrees with a doctor's order, I would ask her what her concerns are and bring that information to my supervisor's attention. While the issue may be a lack of understanding on my patient's part, it is always best to have someone in authority be able to address concerns, especially in the event that the physician should be contacted and the order reviewed."

14.

What patient population do you think that those working in the healthcare field may find the most difficult to work with?

Being a medical assistant means that you are caring for people, often at their worst. Diseases and disabling conditions often cause a change in their personality and outlook on life. The interviewer doesn't just want to know that a particular patient is difficult, but how you approach giving effective care to that patient.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Some of the most difficult patients to work with are often those who have the middle or latter stages of Alzheimer's disease. It's not that I don't know how to care for them. The difficulty comes with seeing the changes that occur in these patients. Many of them have no memory of people they knew and loved. In the end, they lose their ability to care for themselves at all. It is a very disheartening condition to see someone affected by."

Darby's Answer #2

"Some days are easier than others, no matter what type of patient I am caring for. I think one of the most difficult to work with are those who have suffered some kind of injury or illness that has left them paralyzed or unable to speak. It is difficult because it is obvious that these patients want to do for themselves, but some part of their body doesn't allow them to. I try to be encouraging and offer assistance as needed."

15.

Walk me through your daily work routine.

The interviewer knows your responsibilities as a medical assistant, considering they may have even helped write the job description. They are looking to hear how you approach your daily tasks. Is your routine something you came up with or is it something you do based on doctor's orders? Start by explaining the first thing you do, including washing hands, getting organized, checking in with doctors, etc. Show that you are conscientious and perceptive.

Ryan's Answer

"Beginning the day, we double-check the schedule. Make sure the office would not have a long-wait time for patients. I double check the beds and make sure all of the tools and equipment is in place and sanitary. Then the first patient comes in and we began our day."

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