Now that you’ve done your research, gone to school, graduated, and possibly even earned your certification. It is time to prepare for your medical assisting interview. Interviews can be one of the most stressful parts of the job search. Essentially, you have a short amount of time to make an impression that will last, and hopefully, land you a job. Preparing for your interview is just as important as the interview itself. This article will cover everything you need to know about getting ready for your interview, as well as how to answer some of the most difficult interview questions.
Preparing for Your Interview Date
Before you actually had off for your interview there are number of things that you must take into consideration to ensure that you are completely prepared for the interview itself. These steps should be taken a few days ahead of the interview at a minimum.
- Dress to impress. While you won’t need to wear a full tuxedo or formal business suit for your interview you will need to be dressed nicely. Ensure that you have the right type of clothing for this interview, and ensure that it is pressed, dry cleaned, and all items are set out so there is no pickup in preparing yourself for making a great first impression.
- Take a drive. Find out what time your interview will be at and map the path you are going to drive to get there. Try to take a short drive to where your interview will be at the time of the interview a few days before the interview date. This will let you see what the traffic will be like at the time leading up to your interview as well as ensuring that you do not get lost on the way. Doing this early ensures that you will not add unnecessary stress to the drive before your interview.
- Get a good night sleep. While you may be stressed the day before your interview, do whatever is necessary to ensure that you get a good night sleep. Being well rested will not only help you quickly answer any questions that you may not be prepared for but you also look alert and awake.
- Research the company. Do some research on the company you are interviewing with. This will ensure that you have a better understanding of who you wish to work for. In most interviews you’ll be asked if you have any questions. By having a better understanding of what the company is about and what their goals are you have more information to work with when answering questions and asking questions during the interview.
- Getting your paperwork in order. Make sure that you have all the information that is required during interview such as, your resume, references, and a notepad with a pen. This will ensure that the interviewer will have a updated copy of your resume and references and will also allow you to take notes if you need during the interview.
Day of the Interview
Now that you are aware of what you need to do to prepare it is time to prepare for some of the more difficult aspects of an interview. While questions like “Tell me about your weaknesses”, are not as common today as they were at one point, there are still plenty of difficult questions that you’ll need to be able to answer. Don’t let yourself get too stressed before the interview and take a few steps to ensure that your stress levels are as low as possible before you sit down for the interview.
- Ensure you have all your paperwork. In the previous steps you make sure that you have all the paperwork you would need, so make a checklist to ensure that you do not forget any of it at home. Also put any additional things that you may need for the interview on the checklist to ensure they do not arrive at the interview missing something important.
- Leave earlier than early. In general you are going to want to leave early for your interview. So, for example, if you are going to leave 20 minutes ahead of the scheduled time to ensure the early instead leave 30 minutes at a time. This ensures that any traffic issues on the way will either not cause you to be late, or you can call ahead of the time they were scheduled to interview and let them know that you are currently stuck in traffic. In addition, by writing early you will have more time to find where you need interview and fill out any preliminary paperwork that may be due.
- Handshakes can mean more than you think. While you are probably already aware that a handshake is an important greeting which interviewer, it is important to learn about the type of handshakes and what they show about you. In general, the best practices to give a firm, friendly, and inviting handshake as you introduce yourself and learn the name of your interviewer. While this is not a major part of the interview and will likely not lead to you getting the job or not getting the job it will show confidence and ensure that you start a good rapport immediately.
- Do not forget the interviewer’s name! After you introduce yourself to the interviewer referred to them in the way that they greet you. For example, if they greet you as Mr. Smith, referred to them as Mr. Smith unless they tell you otherwise. If they greet you as John Smith, and they do not say how they wish to be referred to, feel free to ask them how they wish to be addressed. Your interview will be a discussion between you and this individual and knowing how to address them will allow you to have a better conversation that is more friendly and open.
- Be prepared for any question. No guide will be able to cover every question that may be asked in an interview. While there are a number of interview styles, they are just as many that are not standardized. You may find somebody who simply wants to talk to you and get to know you and will only ask a few traditional questions. On the other hand, you may find somebody who is going to ask you questions directly out of the book and write your answers verbatim. Be prepared for any of these, stay calm, and be yourself.
A Few Tricky Questions
- Tell me about one of your weaknesses. This question can be tricky because you are trying to get the best version of yourself and your interview but you also need to give an honest answer about a weakness. If this question does come up, use an example from as far back as you can think. Do not worry about the relevance to the job you are interviewing for, instead talk about something that was a personal challenge and how you overcame. It is a good idea to use something that will have some sort of impact on your future career but it does not need to be related directly to medical assisting. For example, if you had issues in a retail job with paperwork, explained to the interviewer the paperwork is always been a weakness but quickly explain the steps that you took to overcome these challenges. When you talk about a weakness, it does not need to be the weakest part of, just a part of you that you are overcoming and showing that you are able to adapt to and overcome your weaknesses.
- Tell me about a difficult coworker, patient, or customer. This question should be fairly easy as long as you are prepared. Depending on the length of your externship to your education you may not have a good example as a medical assistant. Think of a time in a previous job that you had significant difficulty with a customer or coworker. The key to this answer is to show that you overcame these difficulties and what you learned from them. For example, if you and your boss did not get along in the past, explain the issues and the steps that the two of you took to make your working environment better and what you learned from those steps.
- Where do you see yourself in five years? The answer here should not be that you see yourself working for that company in five years. Instead, talk about your personal goals as they relate to your career. Discuss certification registration goals, working on specific skills, moving up in whatever position you are in, and what steps you take to continue your education. Also do not talk about your personal life in the next five years. The interviewer does not need to know that you plan on having a kid, or get married, or buy a house, or any other personal goals you have set.
- What questions do you have for me about the company? Many interviewees miss this question by not asking anything at all. Through the research you did about the company, you should have a few questions you can ask. Ask about things like upward mobility, the goals of the company, and where you would fit in. This shows the interviewer that you are interested in the company and how you can make it better.