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Medical Transcriptionist Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated January 22nd, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    
Question 1 of 30
Is there a specialty area that you are more familiar with and prefer to transcribe reports for?
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How to Answer
While not every job will allow you to choose the type of reports you prepare, some larger medical facilities/organizations have medical transcriptionists that work within each specialty area. If you are familiar with a certain area of medicine, being able to understand what you are typing often makes for more accurate reports, as a transcriptionist can pick up any errors or the need to modify the structure of a sentence. If you have a preference, share it with the interviewer. Remember, though, to mention that you are willing to work where you are needed.
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Answer Examples
1.
Is there a specialty area that you are more familiar with and prefer to transcribe reports for?
While not every job will allow you to choose the type of reports you prepare, some larger medical facilities/organizations have medical transcriptionists that work within each specialty area. If you are familiar with a certain area of medicine, being able to understand what you are typing often makes for more accurate reports, as a transcriptionist can pick up any errors or the need to modify the structure of a sentence. If you have a preference, share it with the interviewer. Remember, though, to mention that you are willing to work where you are needed.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I think my all-time favorite area of medicine is cardiology. There is something about the heart and how it functions that has always been interesting to me. If I had a choice of specialty, that would certainly be it. However, I love what I do and I am excited about the possibility of becoming a part of your team. Having said that, I would accept an offer of employment, regardless of the area of specialty."
Darby's Answer #2
"I am a new medical transcriptionist and haven't had a chance to find a specialty that really speaks to me as a favorite. Knowing what I do, so far, I really like general medicine. So, doing medical transcriptionist for a family practice clinic would probably be something I would enjoy. I look forward to learning and growing in this field and being an asset wherever I am needed."
2.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I would really like to find a position where I can really become established and work for the long-term. I am satisfied with my role as a medical transcriptionist and want to continue along this path."
Darby's Answer #2
"I am a new medical transcriptionist 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."
3.
Are you stronger with recorded dictation or live dictation?
Being able to balance your hectic work schedule with your personal responsibilities and goals is often difficult. Psychologists today say that having a healthy work/life balance is crucial to help prevent becoming too stressed which could result in physical complications. The interviewer wants to know that you identify with the need for having a healthy life balance.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"You're right. Work can be stressful at times. I think that's true with any profession. I try to leave work at work, so to speak. I enjoy cooking and gardening and on my off time from work, I dedicate a great deal of time to those hobbies. It helps me feel productive, but not overworked."
Darby's Answer #2
"I really enjoy being outdoors. Anything that has to do with bicycling or hiking is something I could do every day. When I'm off work, I like to spend some time each week in the outdoors. It's good exercise which helps reduce stress and anxiety and helps promote good heart health, as well."
4.
Do you feel you have a strong grasp on medical terminology, and why do you think it is important to understand it?
As a medical transcriptionist, you will listen to and transcribe reports regarding patient's health each day. Although you may not be treating someone, like a physician does, the information that you type while creating a report is used to help the healthcare team evaluate a patient's condition and develop a plan of care. The interviewer wants to know that you have an understanding of what you are typing. Explain your depth of medical terminology understanding and why it is important for a transcriptionist to know the meaning of medical terms.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I believe it is very important for a medical transcriptionist to have an understanding of medical terminology. Although we are not treating the patient, our reports are used by the people who are. If something is not transcribed correctly, or the terminology points to something that is not accurately reported, it could result in a misdiagnosis of a patient or an inappropriate plan of care being established."
Darby's Answer #2
"One of the first things I learned while in school to get my certification as a medical transcriptionist was medical terminology. We started with basic terminology and medical abbreviations, and as the course progressed, so did our coursework and terminology understanding. I think it is very important for a transcriptionist to understand what she is typing so that if there are any errors, we can help to identify them before results are given."
5.
If you had typed a test report of one of your family members and knew they were waiting for the results, would you feel comfortable telling them the results?
Don't fall for this!! Many times interviewers will ask questions that have the 'do you feel comfortable' phrase to see if you will be nervous under pressure. Listen to the whole question here. A medical transcriptionist has access to patient records every day while transcribing physician's notes, etc., but only medical staff such as a doctor or designated nurse can give test results. This is where your integrity as a medical professional cannot waiver, even for a family member. Show compassion toward the person wanting results, but be confident about why you cannot and will not give them the result yourself.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I know how frustrating it can be waiting on test results. However, my job as a transcriptionist is not direct patient care. I would tell my family member that I am not allowed to discuss any information in any reports that I may see and that she has to either call her doctor's office or make an appointment to go in to get her results."
Darby's Answer #2
"This has happened to me several times through the years. I think people naturally worry about test results and if they feel like someone can give them the results quicker than they can get them by making a doctor's appointment, they want to do whatever they can to get the information. However, as I have done in the past, I would tell anyone asking me for information that I am not authorized to give out results of any kind. I would also encourage them to talk with their physician and explain that, even though I know some medical jargon and type medical reports, I am not trained on what results could mean or on how to implement a plan of care."
6.
Have you ever trained new employees, and is this something you may be interested in doing?
Employers value employees who are willing to help others and not make the job all about themselves. Being willing to train new employees and help the team work more efficiently shows strong leadership qualities. If you are comfortable with training other employees, you can say so. However, if you are not, don't be afraid to tell the interviewer.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Before I became a medical transcriptionist, I worked for a large grocery store chain and was the manager over two stores. I was responsible for hiring new employees and overseeing their training. I would be willing to mentor any new employee, as needed."
Darby's Answer #2
"I have never worked in a supervisory role, but as I gain experience, I would be happy to share my experience and knowledge with others. We all have to learn from one another and I want to do my part to make our team strong."
7.
If there were an emergency situation within your department, what would your course of action be?
Just because a medical transcriptionist does not provide direct patient care, that does not mean that you won't be in an area where a potential emergency occurs that requires you to think fast and to provide assistance to others. The interviewer wants to know that you understand your role and responsibility in the event of an emergency.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"First and foremost, patient and employee safety is a priority. Depending on the nature of the emergency, I would assist in making sure that all patients and staff within my area are accounted for and out of danger's way. If moving equipment is a necessity and all people are safe, I would move whatever equipment I can without putting myself in harm's way."
Darby's Answer #2
"If an emergency were to occur in my department, I would follow the facility's protocol. The type of emergency would determine whether I am to stay in the area and assist with evacuation of patients, employees, or equipment, or if I need to leave the area myself."
8.
Should a medical transcriptionist modify a speaker's sentence so that it makes sense?
Each speaker who dictates information for a report that is to be typed has his own way of speaking. Many times a transcriptionist may get what others may consider half a sentence, or simple phrases. It is important to remember when interviewing for this position that the interviewer has likely done transcription or is, at the very least, very familiar with what you have to do. Using your knowledge of medical transcription, how reports are dictated, and your experience as a transcriptionist to answer this question.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I think the answer to this question can vary, depending upon how the information was dictated for the report. Some doctors use the same order of information and expect transcriptionists to add the appropriate information. For example, I once worked with a doctor who would state the patient's name, date of birth, and vital signs, always in the temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiration order. He would not actually say 'temperature' or 'pulse'. I had to learn his method of dictating information so that I could type the report accurately in a way that others could read it and understand it. In these instances, it was necessary to modify the speaker's sentence to make the report accurate. However, I do not advise any transcriptionist to add information that was not part of the speaker's findings to embellish the language of the report."
Darby's Answer #2
"Modifying a report for proper grammar is acceptable. However, changing the order of a report, or any information is not. If there is ever any question, it is always best to contact the speaker for clarification and then type the report according to their response."
9.
Are you able to decipher what a speaker with a heavy accent is saying easily?
A medical transcriptionist may work with any number of physicians. Having a keen ear and being able to listen to and understand what someone is saying is a must. The interviewer wants to know that you have some experience in deciphering what someone is saying, even if there accent differs from what you are most accustomed to working with.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have been a transcriptionist for (X) years and have worked with physicians from different nationalities whose accents were varied. I have learned to minimize as many distractions as possible so that I can focus on what the speaker is saying on the recording and to replay anything that I am unsure of. If I am still unsure of what the speaker is saying, I will ask a coworker to see if they can help me decipher the speech. For the most part, I am usually able to understand different accents easily."
Darby's Answer #2
"I am a new medical transcriptionist and am still learning how to decipher some of the heavier accents. I am usually able to understand most of the speech by listening to entire sentences and/or replaying a part of the recording. I am sure with time and experience I will be able to understand with even more ease."
10.
If you discovered that a coworker was violating a patient's privacy by discussing information they learned by transcribing a report, what would you do?
Patient privacy is protected by federal law and anyone who works in the healthcare industry is required to understand and follow the law. Failure to do so can result in loss of employment, and possible criminal charges. The interviewer wants to know that you understand your role in protecting a patient's privacy and that you will make wise decisions if you feel a patient's confidentiality has been compromised.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I believe that we all should strive to protect our patient's confidentiality. If I were to discover that a coworker violated a patient's right to privacy, I would report it to my immediate supervisor. The consequences of protected information being shared could have an effect on all of us and we should all do our part in trying to prevent this events from ever occurring."
Darby's Answer #2
"I would notify my supervisor right away. The law demands that we protect our patient's private information and our patients expect us to honor that."
11.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I know I will be successful in this role because I have been working as a medical transcriptionist for (X) years, and have taken that time to build strong relationships with physicians and staff of several health organizations. Also, I take additional classes, when they are offered, on new programs to help facilitate better record keeping."
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."
12.
How do you handle conflicts with a coworker or supervisor?
Any time you work with someone else, there is a chance of having a disagreement about something at one time or another. The interviewer knows this. It's human nature for people to have their own opinions. What is important to the interviewer in this question is whether or not you are willing to compromise and work through difficult situations with your co-workers. Being unwilling to compromise or find alternative solutions to a dispute can affect everyone on the team, even if it is indirectly. Sharing a personal experience is OK, but do not embellish it to 'be the hero.'

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I believe if we think about it, each of us could remember at least one disagreement with a friend or co-worker. Although I consider myself to be pretty easy-going, I am also very passionate about my patients and the care that they receive. I have been aware of disagreements between other co-workers, but really like to think of myself as more of a peacekeeper. I feel like professional people should be able to discuss things logically and come to an agreement that is satisfactory for everyone involved."
Darby's Answer #2
"I am usually a very soft-spoken person and strive to be the 'peacekeeper.' I can't recall any specific incident of a disagreement. I would like to think if a disagreement should arise that I can remain objective and willing to resolve the issue without incident."
13.
What made you choose to become a medical transcriptionist?
Interviewers almost always ask why a candidate chose a particular career. When you answer this question, highlight some positive things about being a medical transcriptionist.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I always enjoyed working with computers and computer programs. Even though I enjoyed reading about the human body and how it works, I wasn't sure if I would be comfortable working on the clinical side of the medical field. So, I decided to choose a career
that gave me the opportunity to use my computer skills while contributing to the medical field at the same time."
Darby's Answer #2
"My love for computers and for medicine seemed to collide when I was trying to decide what career path I wanted to take. I did some research and realized I could have a part in both by becoming a medical transcriptionist."
14.
If you were given a chance to choose between working in an office setting or working as a transcriptionist from home, which would you prefer?
It is important to familiarize yourself with the requirements of the position for which you are applying before going to an interview. Some facilities that require a medical transcriptionist offer a work from home option. This helps employers to decrease overhead by not having to provide office space. If you have a preference of one setting more than the other, that is fine. Just remember to state that you are willing to work in whichever setting you are needed.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I'm comfortable in either setting, really. I enjoy working from home because I can multi-task and do some household chores throughout the day. I also enjoy an office setting because there are less distractions."
Darby's Answer #2
"I really prefer an office setting. I feel like it is easier for me to focus on my work and if I have questions, there are coworkers or supervisors to ask help of."
15.
Has there ever been a time when you had to make a decision based on good ethics when others would not?
Careers in healthcare require ethical conduct at all times. The interviewer wants to know that, even if your peers are not willing to stand up for what is right, you will be. If you can give an example of a time you had to stand up for the right, share it. Just remember to never mention names or specific information that could result in the compromise of patient confidentiality.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"When I was in college, someone in my class stole a copy of a final exam before it was given and distributed copies to others in the class. The instructor found out said that, unless the person who stole the test came forward, the whole class would be given an 'F' for their grades. I had been approached by someone with a copy of the test and I privately told the instructor that I knew who had taken the exam. The instructor was kind enough to keep our conversation private and made a new test to be administered. I didn't want to be involved in the frustration of the situation, but I also didn't want innocent students to receive failing grades because of someone else's bad decision."
Darby's Answer #2
"When I first began working as a medical transcriptionist, someone who was training me chose to email files of some records that I had transcribed to her personal email so that she could review them at home. I knew that this was a violation of patient confidentiality and could have caused me to be discharged from the training program. I reported the issue to the department supervisor."
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30 Medical Transcriptionist Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. Is there a specialty area that you are more familiar with and prefer to transcribe reports for?
  2. What are your long-term professional plans?
  3. Are you stronger with recorded dictation or live dictation?
  4. Do you feel you have a strong grasp on medical terminology, and why do you think it is important to understand it?
  5. If you had typed a test report of one of your family members and knew they were waiting for the results, would you feel comfortable telling them the results?
  6. Have you ever trained new employees, and is this something you may be interested in doing?
  7. If there were an emergency situation within your department, what would your course of action be?
  8. Should a medical transcriptionist modify a speaker's sentence so that it makes sense?
  9. Are you able to decipher what a speaker with a heavy accent is saying easily?
  10. If you discovered that a coworker was violating a patient's privacy by discussing information they learned by transcribing a report, what would you do?
  11. What makes you feel you will be a good fit for our organization?
  12. How do you handle conflicts with a coworker or supervisor?
  13. What made you choose to become a medical transcriptionist?
  14. If you were given a chance to choose between working in an office setting or working as a transcriptionist from home, which would you prefer?
  15. Has there ever been a time when you had to make a decision based on good ethics when others would not?
  16. Everyone values different traits in people. If you were the hiring official, what characteristics would you look for in the people you were interviewing for a job?
  17. What are some things that you enjoy doing in your free time outside of work?
  18. We all have areas of our lives that we would like to change or improve. What would you describe as your biggest weakness, and what are you doing to address that weakness?
  19. What is your least favorite thing about being a medical transcriptionist?
  20. There are times when reports are needed urgently and it is up to the transcriptionist to get the work done quickly. Do you work well under pressure?
  21. What do you find satisfying about being a medical transcriptionist?
  22. Do you have experience working with electronic health records?
  23. If you were offered an employer-sponsored opportunity to go back to school, within the medical field, would you accept the opportunity? If so, what would you like to study?
  24. In an effort to reward experience, salary within our company is often commensurate with an employee's work experience and history. Are you comfortable with someone making a higher salary than you, but doing the same job?
  25. Tell me about a time you had to deal with significant changes in your workplace. How did you manage those changes?
  26. What are some administrative skills you have that you think could be of benefit to this department, if you were offered a position here?
  27. Has there ever been a time that a supervisor was rude to you in front of another employee, and how did you/would you handle the situation?
  28. How would your coworkers describe you?
  29. What makes you feel motivated to do a good job?
  30. How do you handle a patient yelling at you?
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