A professional outfit: check. A copy of your medical assistant resume: check. Strong answers for common medical assistant questions? In progress.
Preparing for a job interview will help you impress recruiters and potentially achieve a higher salary offer. Some things, like a copy of your resume, are fairly easy to prepare. But others, like answers to interview questions, need a little more work.
Fortunately, not only do some medical assistant interview questions come up again and again, but there are common techniques that will help you prepare for just about any question.
It’s worth drafting answers for common questions, and we’ll go through some of them soon. However, it’s impossible to prepare an answer for every question that might come up — especially if your interviewer is determined to surprise you.
So as well as rehearsing common medical assistant questions and answers, it’s worth doing these things as well.
The more you know about the workplace and the job, the better you’ll be able to adapt your answers. Take the time to review the company’s website and social media channels.
What makes you stand out from other applicants? What are your key traits, and how are they relevant to the job? Thinking of this ahead of time will help you rapidly craft answers to unexpected questions.
Anecdotes are a great resource for interviews, so it’s worth outlining several ahead of time. Interviewers often ask about past experiences. Plus, even if you’re not directly asked for an anecdote, including one can make your answer more convincing.
When sharing anecdotes, use the STAR — situation, task, action, result — structure to demonstrate their importance. For example:
“Once, I was working with a patient who was struggling with a language barrier (situation). I wanted to improve our communications with the patient so they fully understood their health, could consent to treatments and were empowered to discuss concerns with us (task).
“I arranged for some documentation to be translated into multiple languages, as well as for a bilingual letter to be sent to their address inviting them to bring a family member or friend to appointments (action).
“The next time they had an appointment, their daughter came as well and she acted as an interpreter. The patient was able to ask several questions about their medication, and the feedback from both the patient and the patient’s family was positive (result).”
Now we’ve looked at general tips for preparing for interviews, let’s look at some specific questions you might be asked.
Many applicants feel nervous about this question, but there’s no need to be. It’s not designed to trick you. Interviewers just want to know if you’re self-aware and work to improve yourself.
For your biggest strength, pick something relevant to the job and give an example of the positive impact it has had. As for your biggest weakness, be honest. Don’t try to second-guess an “irrelevant weakness” because your interviewer will see through your attempt.
Instead, use the STAR technique to talk about how you have proactively worked on this weakness so that it doesn’t negatively affect your performance. For example, if you struggle with computer systems, you could explain that you’ve done a training course.
There’s no right answer to this question, but there are plenty of wrong ways to answer it. The most important thing is to be honest because it could affect the type of tasks you’re given after accepting the job.
It’s also important to not be negative. Show that you have a positive attitude and good work ethic. Even if you find, for example, administrative work to be less engaging or rewarding, you should emphasize that you understand the importance of it and still take pride in doing it well.
This might seem like a simple yes-no question, but it’s worth giving more details. Tell the interviewers about your experiences with this technical skill and emphasize how well you do it.
For example, you could mention that not only are you comfortable doing blood draws, since you do them multiple times a week in your current workplace, but you’ve also developed some go-to techniques for putting nervous patients at ease during them.
If a particular task was at first challenging for you, it’s also fine to admit to that. Just use the STAR model to explain how you tackled this issue face-on and have since improved. This can sometimes be more impressive than a brief “yes, I’m comfortable with this skill.”
This question is another good opportunity to use the STAR method to show just how well you handle challenging situations at work. Make sure the anecdote you pick demonstrates your empathy and strong communication skills, as well as your professionalism.
Alternatively, if you’re applying for your first ever medical assistant role, you can explain what you would do instead. You could also talk the interviewers through a similar situation in a different job. For example, you could mention that you used to handle upset customers in a retail role before breaking down how you would adapt that to a medical setting.
Whether you overcame a personal demon at work, made a significant difference to a patient’s health or simply reorganized processes to improve record-keeping, there are plenty of things you could talk about here.
For an answer that stands out, keep it authentic. Opt for an anecdote that you’re truly proud of, as opposed to one that you suspect will most impress interviewers. Your genuine pride will help you connect with the recruiters and talk about the situation with more passion.
Then, prepare an answer that shows why it’s something to be proud of and how much of an impact it had. Again, you can use the STAR structure to do this.
It’s not just your interview answers that recruiters will consider before deciding whether to make you a job offer. They’ll also look at your background, references and resume.
A well-designed and written resume can help you capture a recruiter’s attention and underscore why you’re the ideal candidate at every stage of the job application process.
Here at Rocket Resume, we’ve got over a dozen medical assistant resume templates to help you get started. Each one is machine-readable and can be customized in minutes to your background and the job specifications. With recruiter-approved phrasing, you can draw attention to your strongest points.
Build your resume and start applying for medical assistant jobs.