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30 medical assistant interview questions (and sample answers)

30 medical assistant interview questions and sample answers featured image

Medical assistants play a key role at any healthcare facility, acting as a connection between patients, doctors, and administrative staff. They keep things running smoothly and ensure patients receive the best care.

Finding the right medical assistant for your practice is essential – but it’s not an easy task. The ideal candidate would need a blend of clinical and administrative skills to perform well at their job – but identifying them amidst a sea of resumes can be a daunting task, and not the ideal way to find the perfect hire.

Therefore, to accurately evaluate candidates, we recommend using a combination of talent assessments and interviews. Once you identify top candidates with the help of skills tests, you can invite them to an interview and ask them targeted medical assistant interview questions to gain deeper insights into their strengths and weaknesses.

These tools help you get an objective overview of your talent pool and find the perfect candidate for your role, bias- and stress-free. 

In this article, you’ll find the most important interview questions to ask medical assistants, along with skills tests you can use to filter unqualified candidates.

Top 15 medical assistant interview questions and answers

In this section, you’ll find our selection of the best 15 interview questions for medical assistants, along with our guidelines on what to expect from candidates and how to evaluate their skills. 

1. What do you find most rewarding about being a medical assistant?

Work in healthcare is challenging, so candidates need a strong intrinsic motivation to provide expert care to patients and the right admin and clinical support to doctors and other staff. Look for candidates who express a genuine passion for their careers.

They might share stories about how helping patients feel at ease during medical procedures or seeing patients recover brings them satisfaction. This reveals their empathy and dedication to the medical profession.

The best candidates should also mention teamwork and show their awareness of the importance of their role within healthcare teams. 

To check whether candidates’ expectations align with what you can offer them, use our Motivation test. To gain deeper insight into their interpersonal skills, ask them to take a Communication test.

2. How do you stay organized and prioritize your tasks on busy days?

In any hospital or clinic, things can sometimes get hectic – so, it’s essential to hire people with excellent time management skills who can manage a heavy workload when needed. 

Candidates might go into detail about their personal organization systems, such as using patient scheduling tools, apps for time management, checklists, and more. In addition to that, you should look for applicants who are able to explain how they evaluate the urgency and importance of each task.

Use our Time Management test to check how well they can prioritize, plan, and complete tasks and projects within schedule. 

3. How do you manage a large volume of patient appointments?

Use this question to dig deeper into candidates’ time management and communication skills. 

Experienced medical assistants will stress the importance of clear communication with patients about expected wait times and are able to take into account the complexity and urgency of each case. 

They could describe situations where they had to juggle conflicting appointments, showing their ability to think on their feet and stay calm under pressure without compromising the quality of patient care.

4. What experience do you have with electronic health records (EHR) systems?

Expect candidates to name the EHR systems they have experience with, such as: 

  • Epic (also known as Epic EMR)


  • NextGen

  • Oracle Cerner

Encourage candidates to discuss how they have used these systems to streamline patient care processes and reduce errors – or talk about specific challenges they've faced with EHRs and how they overcame them. 

5. How do you approach learning new medical software or technology?

Learning new medical software or technologies is essential for healthcare professionals to stay current and provide the best care to patients. Here are some key strategies candidates might mention: 

  • Taking part in structured training provided by the software company or the medical institution

  • Using online resources, such as tutorials, how-to videos, and forums

  • Integrating the tool or technology into their day-to-day work to explore its features and capabilities

  • Collaborating with coworkers who have more hands-on experience

The best candidates will also explain that they aim to make sure they’re up to date with product updates and new features. 

6. How do you handle patient questions about their medical care if you're unsure of the right answer?

Candidates should emphasize the importance of maintaining patient trust and ensuring they’re able to provide accurate information. If they’re unsure about something, they should tell patients they’d get back to them as soon as possible – and get in touch with another team member to obtain the necessary details. 

They could also talk about how they follow up with patients to ensure they have all the information they need, demonstrating a thorough and conscientious approach to patient care and communication.

7. How would you handle a situation where you made a mistake in a patient's records?

The best candidates will demonstrate accountability, attention to detail, and strong moral principles when dealing with errors. 

A skilled medical assistant will understand the importance of accurate patient records for effective care and acknowledge the mistake without trying to hide it. They should explain their process for rectifying errors, including immediately informing their supervisor and checking with them whether the mistake has implications on patient care. 

They might also explain how they’d consult the facility's policies on correcting patient records to ensure compliance with legal standards. 

Some candidates might also talk about the measures they would take to prevent similar mistakes in the future. This approach shows a proactive attitude towards improvement and would be an asset for any healthcare team.

Use our Attention to Detail test to evaluate candidates’ meticulousness when processing information. 

8. How would you manage a situation where a patient refuses treatment?

Skilled medical assistants would use empathy and clear communication to address such situations. They should also be aware of the importance of patient autonomy. 

Expect candidates to explain they’d seek to: 

  • Understand the patient's perspective and concerns regarding the treatment

  • Engage in a calm discussion to provide them with comprehensive information about the risks and benefits of the prescribed treatment plan

  • Explain the potential consequences of refusing treatment 

  • Explore alternative options when applicable

The ability to remain non-judgmental, supportive, and focused on the patient is crucial. 

9. Tell me about a time when you contributed to improving a process at your workplace.

Expect skilled candidates to share a specific example that shows their initiative, problem-solving skills, and ability to work well with others. 

They should explain the problem they identified, such as inefficiencies in patient flow or excessive paperwork. Then, they should describe the steps they took to address the issue, including: 

  • Gathering input from colleagues

  • Researching best practices

  • Suggesting changes in workflows

  • Implementing new tools or technologies

Importantly, candidates should discuss the specific impact of their work, such as improved patient satisfaction, reduced errors, or faster paperwork processing.

10. Describe a time when you had to tell bad news to a patient.

This is a delicate task, so candidates should approach it with compassion and be prepared for questions.  

They should mention the importance of choosing an appropriate setting for the conversation, explaining the situation in clear terms, being sensitive to the patient’s reaction, and offer comfort and additional resources, such as counseling services or support groups. 

Answers should illustrate the candidate's emotional intelligence, their ability to handle difficult conversations, and their commitment to supporting patients.

12. How do you approach a situation where a patient is unhappy with their care?

Candidates should begin by listening to the patient's concerns and acknowledging their experience. They should then investigate the issue, gathering the information they need to understand the root cause and find possible solutions. 

Expert medical assistants would then provide the patient with a choice on how to resolve the issue, reestablishing trust and giving them a sense of agency and control. 

Use our Problem Solving test to assess applicants’ ability to identify problems, think critically, and come up with appropriate solutions to ensure patient satisfaction.

13. How would you approach a situation where you were not familiar with a medical procedure?

This question enables you to identify proactive learners who are not afraid to seek help when needed. 

Candidates should understand the importance of acknowledging their lack of experience with specific procedures and asking team members for assistance. This approach helps maintain the quality of care and, most importantly, patient safety. 

They might then explain their process of learning new procedures, such as: 

  • Seek training and consult with more experienced team members

  • Check manuals and instructions

  • Use online medical resources 

  • Practice under supervision until they’re confident in their proficiency

Look for responses that show candidates’ resourcefulness and dedication to ensuring a high standard of patient care.

14. Describe how you handle tasks that are outside your usual responsibilities.

This question helps you further evaluate candidates’ flexibility, critical thinking skills, and willingness to learn. Strong candidates will not be afraid to step out of their comfort zone to support their team.

Skilled candidates might explain that they would: 

  • Assess what the new task entails

  • Identify gaps in their knowledge or skills

  • Seek out support or resources to tackle it effectively

They could mention specific instances where they took the initiative to handle tasks outside of their usual scope of work and maintain excellent patient care. 

15. How do you ensure attention to detail in your work?

The work of a medical assistant requires a high degree of accuracy, so a strong attention to detail is essential. Look for answers that  elaborate on the candidate’s use of checklists, protocols, and double-checking mechanisms, especially in tasks involving patient records and care.

Use our test to evaluate applicants’ attention to detail when processing text information and their ability to be precise and meticulous in their work. 

15 additional medical assistant interview questions you can ask candidates

If you need more ideas, here are 15 more questions you can ask medical assistants to assess their skills and suitability for your role: 

  1. Do you have experience with performing laboratory tests?

  2. What's your approach to educating patients on their medical conditions and treatment plans?

  3. Do you have experience verifying insurance details and processing claims?

  4. Describe a situation where you disagreed with a healthcare provider. How did you handle it?

  5. How do you balance empathy with professionalism when dealing with patients?

  6. What strategies do you use to manage stress in a fast-paced medical environment?

  7. Tell me about a challenging patient interaction and how you resolved it.

  8. How do you ensure that you are providing culturally competent care to patients from diverse backgrounds?

  9. Describe a situation where you went above and beyond for a patient.

  10. How do you stay motivated when working on repetitive tasks?

  11. How do you work with patients when there's a language barrier?

  12. How do you manage patient expectations when they request unnecessary treatments?

  13. Tell me about a time when you had to work closely with other healthcare staff to ensure high-quality patient care.

  14. How do you manage the emotional impact of working with patients who have serious health conditions?

  15. How do you contribute to a positive workplace culture in a medical setting?

How to evaluate medical assistants’ skills

Relying on resume screening to evaluate applicants can lead to unconscious bias creeping into the recruitment process – and result in overlooking hidden talent.

A skills-first approach enables you to assess candidates’ abilities objectively and reduce mis-hires, as did 88% of the organizations we surveyed for our annual report on the state of skills-based hiring.

This method eliminates bias and helps you hire the best candidate based on their skills and talent, not the weight of their resume.

Here are some skills tests that you can use to assess medical assistants:

  • Critical thinking: The capacity to think critically and make informed decisions in a fast-paced environment is a must for medical assistants.

  • Motivation: Motivation is essential for roles in healthcare. Fill out a short survey and make sure your candidates’ expectations align with what you offer.

  • Administrative Assistant: Evaluate candidates’ administrative skills to make sure they can effectively support your team.

  • Attention to detail: A high level of precision is essential for medical assistants to ensure patient safety and confidentiality.

  • Telehealth: Evaluate applicants’ ability to deliver healthcare remotely or support your team in doing so by using the right technologies and tools. 

  • Time management: Assess applicants’ ability to plan their tasks, manage their schedule, and ensure they do everything on time. 

While skills tests are helpful in shortlisting candidates, they alone aren’t enough. Combining them with well-structured interviews allows you to delve deeper into candidates’ soft skills, communication style, and cultural alignment. Combining those two approaches enables you to streamline the recruitment process so that you can find the most suitable candidate quickly.

Hire the best medical assistant, bias free

Hiring the right medical assistant can significantly impact your practice’s efficiency, patient satisfaction, and overall success. However, an old-fashioned recruitment process where you look at resumes and try to guess who has the right skills for the role isn’t the best way to hire a medical assistant.

By incorporating skills tests and strategic interview questions into your recruitment process, you’ll get an objective edge in identifying candidates and evaluating their soft skills, communication style, clinical expertise, and culture-add potential.

Use our skills tests to build a targeted talent assessment and then invite your top performers to an interview. Ask them the questions from this article to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and find the best medical assistant for your team. 

Sign up for a live 30-minute demo today to chat with our experts or try out our free plan to see for yourself how much easier it is to recruit the perfect candidate when you put skills first. 


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