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Medical Coder Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Heather Douglass

Updated August 21st, 2018 | Heather has over 20 years experience recruiting and hiring candidates,
specifically in the health care industry.
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    
Question 1 of 30
Did you take an anatomy and physiology course in school?
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How to Answer
You remember your text book answers as: Anatomy is the study of the human body, while physiology is the study of how that body works. Being familiar with anatomy and physiology will make your job easier as a Medical Coder. To break up the monotony of coding it would be nice to read about the little piggy that went to the market but instead you read about metatarsal fractures. The interviewer won't expect you to fluent in Dr. talk but will expect you to know how to do you research, use your ICD-10 as reference and be able to confirm diagnosis with healthcare professionals as needed.
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1.
Did you take an anatomy and physiology course in school?
You remember your text book answers as: Anatomy is the study of the human body, while physiology is the study of how that body works. Being familiar with anatomy and physiology will make your job easier as a Medical Coder. To break up the monotony of coding it would be nice to read about the little piggy that went to the market but instead you read about metatarsal fractures. The interviewer won't expect you to fluent in Dr. talk but will expect you to know how to do you research, use your ICD-10 as reference and be able to confirm diagnosis with healthcare professionals as needed.
Anonymous Answer
"Yes. In my college program, anatomy and physiology courses were included in the Medical Billing and Coding Program. Both courses taught about the human body, and how the body works. As a medical billing specialist, it is greatly helpful while I review medical records to resolve unpaid claims."
Rachelle's Answer
Very thorough answer. Well done :)
"Yes, when I was attending Concorde Careers Institute, anatomy and physiology courses were part of the Medical Billing and Coding program. Both courses taught me about the human body and its inner workings. As a medical billing specialist, this knowledge is beneficial while reviewing medical records and resolving unpaid claims."
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2.
How would your co-workers describe you?
This question is being asked to assess your relationships with coworkers and your role within a functional team. Your co-workers may describe you as being dependable, trustworthy and hard-working. Skip any crazy stories that might paint a different picture. Keep it work related and you'll be in the clear.

Heather's Answer
"My co-workers would say that I like to have fun with it’s appropriate and that I know how to laugh to keep morale high and tension low."
3.
What do you use as your guidance to accurately code?
ICD-9-CM is old news. Make sure your guidance is the ICD-10-CM. Ready to impress the interviewer? Let the interviewer know that you regularly use the guidance for determining diagnosis codes, describe inpatient medical procedures as well as codes that describe the causes of injuries. This will show the interviewer that it's not just a paperweight on your desk but a tool that you use everyday.
4.
As a Medical Coder, what do you think is your best asset.
Tell the interviewer what you bring to the table that others don't have. Think of one of your skills or qualities that make you valuable to the team. Give an example of how you picked up a new skill at your last job when your boss needed assistance. Demonstrating how you can step up to the plate and acquire new knowledge or skill to assist the rest of the team is a valuable quality. What qualities do you have that will help make a great contribution to the company.

Heather's Answer
"One of my best assets is that I'm a quick learner. I'm a jump in and do it kind of person."
5.
Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a co-worker. How did you handle it?
In the medical field, you may find yourself interacting with a variety of personalities on your team. Some people are easier to work with than others. Give a REAL example. Breakdown what happened and how you handled it professionally. Focus on the solution, not the conflict. If you wish you would have done something different, share it. Showing you can learn from past conflicts shows maturity.

Heather's Answer
"One of my co-workers wasn't carrying their weight, which meant everyone else had more work to do. I chatted with her one day at lunch, and she shared some personal issues that had been interfering and we agreed she needed some help with her projects. We all met with our boss and we determined a temporary solution to help her while she resolved her issues outside of work."
6.
What is the ICD-10 code for generalized anxiety disorder?
If you have F41.1 memorized then well done! The interviewer won't look down upon you for not having every code memorized but they will scratch their heads if you can't tell them where to find it. Since the ICD-10 is your bible reference it. Even better? Let the interviewer know that you have an up to date cheat sheet of the top 20 codes therapists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors are using.

Heather's Answer
" There are different codes for various levels of anxiety. I would have to check my ICD-10 to verify your request. My ICD-10 is my go-to for all coding requirements. I always have a copy handy, am very familiar with its layout and have always been able to easily find what I'm looking for."
7.
How did you bring value to your last position?
This question is similar to 'Why are you the best candidate?' Think about the strengths and skills that made you an asset in your last position. Maybe you made changes that made your job easier. Think of your strengths in action! If you are reliable, talk about how consistent your work has been and how you are in constant support for coworkers. If you have a strong work ethic, share how you accomplished a project in the midst of harsh obstacles.

Heather's Answer
"The complaint amongst my co-workers that it took too much time to pull up commonly used codes in the ICD-10 manual. We brainstormed as a group to determine which codes were used most often and I created a cheat sheet for all of us to use. This cheat sheet saved us 80 minutes per person a day in coding."
8.
Where do you see your career one year from now?
This is a short variation of the typical interview question, 'Where do you see yourself in five years?' Instead, the interviewer may ask more directly, 'Where do you see yourself in the next year?'.

Interviewing, hiring, and onboarding is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor for any company. The interviewer wants to be assured that, if hired, you will see this as a longer-term fit. Discuss your career plans, goals, and how those fit with what this company is offering. Describe your passion for this opportunity, and what you like about the company you are applying for.

Heather's Answer
"I am thrilled to be interviewing here for your Medical Coder position. I believe with the talents and skill set will be a great addition to your team. This is an opportunity I have been seeking for some time now so I plan to stay for the long term should I be lucky enough to be hired."
9.
Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to major change in the workplace.
Change is common in today's workplaces, and interviewers want to know that you have the ability to embrace change.

Perhaps your job duties changed, there was a major change in policy, you had to welcome a new manager, or your company was acquired. These situations make great examples to draw on.

Pick an example where you enjoyed the change the most, or where the end result was the most positive. Explain how this change directly affected your job, and tell the interviewer how you maintained a positive approach during the transition. Finally, be sure to mention that change is a part of the workplace today, and you recognize that your role as an employee is to embrace it, encourage others to accept it, and be ready to continually learn new ways of doing things.

Heather's Answer
"Last year we upgraded to ICD-10. I was required to learn a completely new software system in a short amount of time. To tackle this challenge, I took a weekend-long online workshop to master the program. I find that when there is a major change in the workplace it's best to take the learning curve on as a positive challenge. I encouraged my co-workers to do the same course and it was really helpful for them as well."
10.
Do you have any questions for us?
Take advantage of this question! So many times people run for the hills once the interview is over. You always think of the best thing to say once you've left the interview room. Feel free to write your questions down and bring them to the interview with you. A short list of 3 questions will help you keep on track, not ramble and not ask something inappropriate like how often you get smoke breaks.

Heather's Answer
"When should I expect to hear from you, may I contact you in a day or two?"
11.
How do you manage a large workload?
Calm, Cool and Collected....this is how you will answer this question. Depending on the size of the facility or office you are supporting you may work within a team or on your own. Now is your chance to tell the interviewer about your time management skills. Are you a list maker? Prioritizer? Walk the interviewer through a busy day as a Medical Coder and how you manage that workload.

Heather's Answer
"Each day at 8am my co-worker and I set aside 15 minutes to discuss what each other has on their plates. We are able to hear each other's work load and offer help when needed. Working together we are able to divide and conquer and avoid an unmanageable workload."
Anonymous Answer
"Each time I have a big workload, I will discuss it with my colleagues who work on the same project. We will decide what the first priority is, and make a plan, so we can help each other when needed. Working together, we are able to divide and conquer and avoid unmanageable workload."
Rachelle's Answer
This sounds like an excellent way to divide the work. Nicely done!
"When I have a large workload, I will discuss the project with my teammates. From there, we sort our priorities, estimate the time we will need, and disperse the work. Working together, we can divide and conquer, avoiding an unmanageable workload."
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12.
How do you protect the rights and confidentiality of patients?
Safeguarding patient information is your number one priority as a Medical Coder. Your answer should show that you are very knowledgeable regarding regulations and that you place patient rights and confidentiality at the top of your priority list. Let the interviewer know that you take care not to disclose this information to inappropriate parties.

Heather's Answer
"Anytime that I leave my desk, my computer is password protected and the patient charts I'm working on are put away and locked up. Each night my space is clear of patient information and my door is behind two locked doors."
13.
How would your supervisor describe you?
Characteristics you will want to highlight with your answer to this question will be one's that show a successful follower and leader. Share a story with the interviewer where your supervisor appreciated that you could prioritize tasks and manage my responsibilities daily.

Heather's Answer
"My boss tells me that I'm his go-to for ICD-10 codes and I learn new information and procedures quickly. These skills account for my promotion this past year."
14.
How many hours a week do you usually work?
Don't try to impress the interviewer by proclaiming you work over 40 hours a week, never take lunch and stay late every day. Showing you are a work-a-holic will only show the interviewer that you have poor time management skills.

Anonymous Answer
"I usually work 40 hours a week except when I need to work overtime."
Rachelle's Answer
I have reworded slightly, for clarity.
"In my current role, I work 40 hours per week. Sometimes, there are overtime hours."
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15.
How has your job change over the years you worked there?
Adapt and overcome...this is your new motto! You could use this moment to discuss the changes between the ICD-9 and ICD-10. How has your staff turnover been? Were you given more responsibility? Did you take opportunities to train others once you had the experience and knowledge about your role? This question gives you an opportunity to go more in depth about how your role has evolved. If nothing has changed much over the past couple of years in your position, focus on what you have learned. Talk about how the changes in your job have taught you new skills and helped you develop the ones you already have.
Anonymous Answer
"I have adapted and overcome changes, and I have faced some challenges, like the change from icd9 to icd10. I have learned new specialties. I have cross-trained the Coding dept, I have been able to share my knowledge with others for the coders to be able to cover each other when we are out, and reassign the specialties according to departmental needs."
Rachelle's Answer
Great! It sounds as though you have continually grown and learned new skills/knowledge.
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30 Medical Coder Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. Did you take an anatomy and physiology course in school?
  2. How would your co-workers describe you?
  3. What do you use as your guidance to accurately code?
  4. As a Medical Coder, what do you think is your best asset.
  5. Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a co-worker. How did you handle it?
  6. What is the ICD-10 code for generalized anxiety disorder?
  7. How did you bring value to your last position?
  8. Where do you see your career one year from now?
  9. Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to major change in the workplace.
  10. Do you have any questions for us?
  11. How do you manage a large workload?
  12. How do you protect the rights and confidentiality of patients?
  13. How would your supervisor describe you?
  14. How many hours a week do you usually work?
  15. How has your job change over the years you worked there?
  16. Do you consider yourself to be a leader?
  17. Would you be willing to take a salary cut?
  18. Tell me about a time when you worked with a person who did things very differently than you. How did you get the job done?
  19. What qualities to you feel a manager should have?
  20. What decisions did you routinely make at your last job?
  21. Tell me about a time you handled multiple tasks at once.
  22. Have you requested extra responsibilities in any of your previous jobs?
  23. Tell me about a recent achievement.
  24. What does S/S stand for in regards to coding burns correctly?
  25. If a claim is denied due to incorrect coding what would you do?
  26. How would you consult medical specialists for further clarification and understanding of items on patient charts to avoid misinterpretations?
  27. Have you ever worked as a Tumor registrar?
  28. Explain how your role reduces liability due to charges of healthcare fraud or abuse
  29. What do you feel is the most important skill a Medical Coder and brings to his or her workplace?
  30. Why would you feel that it is important to know the how/why a procedure is performed?
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