Medical receptionist takes care of greeting and scheduling visitors, calling patients to remind them of their appointments, answering and routing phone calls, billing the customers, and keeping the reception organized and smooth.
But what questions you may face in an interview for this interesting job? What should you expect, and how to make the best possible impression on your interviewers? And who will succeed at the end? Let’s try to understand it together. We can start with the questions you will face.
Why did you apply for this job? Why do you want to work as a medical receptionist?
Try to refer to your skills, and enthusiasm for the job—something your future employer can benefit from. You can also say that you read the job description carefully, and can imagine yourself taking care of all duties—with ease, and with smile on your face–and on the face of the patient you are attending.
You can even refer to your past jobs (in customer service or directly behind the receptionist’s desk), saying that you enjoyed these jobs, and would love to continue on your journey. They should have the feeling that you really want the job—and do not apply just because you can’t secure a better one at the moment.
I believe that people enjoy talking to me since I am a good listener and can identify needs of the others. I am also organized in work and enjoy doing things which receptionists typically do. What is more, I like to help people, and to somehow belong to the team of healthcare professionals allows me to see a meaningful purpose in my job.
May also interest you: Medical assistant interview – Tell me about yourself.
Why do you want to work for our practice/clinic/hospital?
The research you did will pay off at this stage of an interview. For sure you found something you like about them—either the services they offer, or the employee benefits, or the values and goals they follow. Simply something that resonates with you—and it can be also the way receptionists carry out their job.
You can also say that you got a recommendation from a friend, stressing that they said good things about the place and working conditions. And if you found nothing good, and got no recommendation, you can simply say that you like the location of the place (near your apartment, good traffic connection, etc), or give other logical reason for your choice…
I’ve visited this place several times, and I always liked what I saw. The receptionists were kind, the place had great organization, and the entire clinic was modern and beautiful. This tells a lot about people who run the place, and I’d be proud to work for them.
* For more sample answers, consider checking this article.
Tell us something more about your working experience
If this is your fist job application, or if you are coming from a different field altogether, ensure them that you know what is expected from a good receptionist, and feel ready to handle the job after initial training (which you will get anyway, regardless of your level of experience and years you’ve spent in the field).
If you had some jobs before, try to speak positively about your experience. Mention some lessons you learned, and how these jobs prepared you for the role of medical receptionist (any administrative or retail or customer service job has a lot in common with this one).
I worked as a hotel receptionist before, for one year. I learned to work with a scheduling software, and I understood better how to please various types of customers. I also learned how to handle difficult situations in work, such as conflict or pressure. I believe it was an excellent preparation for the role of a medical receptionist. Would you like me to elaborate more on my experience, for example narrating what I did in a hotel, on a typical shift?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Communication skills, organization skills, understanding for the functioning of reception and medical practice. Your strengths should be relevant to the job. On the other hand, you should mention weaknesses that are not central for the job, or not important at all. Receptionist doesn’t have to possess leadership skills. They do not have to excel in managing other people, or handling advanced computer programs.
And if you go with a weakness that is somehow important for the job (even slightly important), be sure to tell them how you try to improve on your weakness.
I do not want to sound overconfident, but I do not think I have any real weakness as a receptionist. My leadership skills are really bad, and I struggle with physical work, but these things aren’t really important for a good receptionist… at least in my view they aren’t. On the other hand, people enjoy to me, and I excel in all types of common office tasks. What’s more, I am very organized and work and have great attention to detail. Hope to benefit from my skills in this job.
* Check also 7 sample answers to this question: Medical assistant interview – What are your strengths and weaknesses?
This is a routine job. How do you plan to motivate yourself?
The key is to ensure them that you do not mind routine work. You can even say that you do not consider the job routine, since every patient is different, and even the same people come to the office in a different frame of mind each time.
You can also say that you had routine jobs in the past, and did not struggle with motivation. Most jobs are routine, and each of us struggles with motivation sometimes. But if you know why you go to work, and if you see a meaningful purpose in your job, it should be easy for you to avoid a serious crisis of motivation.
To be honest, for a sensitive person, for someone who isn’t a prisoner of their own mind, no job is routine. Let me explain… While we may take care of the same duties every day, people change, and even if they do not, their moods do, and the circumstances of the day, and basically everything. I enjoy these subtle differences, and believe they make our working life colorful, regardless of how routine a job may seem for an outsider.
What are you goals in five years time?
Medical receptionists can get a raise, but typically there aren’t any career growth options for them…. Tell your interviewers that you will be happy to have this job in five years time. Alternatively you can say that you prefer to live in a present, and do not think much about your future jobs.
After all, nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. I may be dead in five years time, and the same is true for you, and for the person who interviews you for the job. It’s not sad–it’s just how it is…
While it is a good idea to tell them that they can count with you in a long run, you do not have to stick to your promise. Nobody will blame you, if you leave their practice after a year, or even after a month. Job hopping is a reality of today’s employment market, and all of us have to count with the possibility of seeing our best employees leave us.
To be honest, I do not like to think much about the future. Life taught me that things change quickly, and that it doesn’t make much sense to plan for five years, let even for longer. Just look at the recent pandemic and how it impacted all of us… At this moment my goals are clear: I want to work as a medical receptionist, and do a good job in my position. It would be nice to find myself still having this job after five years of a good service. But whether it will happen is not entirely in our control.
Describe a conflict you had with one of your colleagues.
Most likely you will experience some conflicts in the job. Some patients will try to argue with you, or some colleagues may not like this or that thing you do–for both logical and irrational reasons, since at the end of the day we people are emotional beings. While describing a conflict you had in the past (with a colleague, with a guest, with your boss), try to point out that you tried your best to avoid it, and once it happened, you tired to settle it quickly.
It is also good to emphasize that you understand that conflict situation belong to every workplace, and try not to take them personally. Conflicts should not affect you negatively in your job.
I remember one from my last job in retail. A colleague was playing with their smart phone all the time, not really helping the rest of us. He was working longer in the company and most other employees were scared to say something, but I decided to step up and confront them, in a friendly way. Their reaction was rather hostile, hence I backed up, instead of going into some emotional arguments, which just isn’t good for anybody. I decided to report my observations to the manager instead, and let them take action.
Do you have any questions?
A good job interview is a dialogue, and you should always ask them some questions. For example, you can ask about the patients they have, abut the computer software they use for scheduling appointments, about their business hours, about the traffic connection to the place, the next step of the hiring process, etc.
Asking questions shows that you care, want to know more, and are interested in the job after everything that has been said and done in the interview.
More interview questions for medical receptionist
- How would you deal with an angry customer?
- What are your expectations on doctors and other staff at this healthcare facility?
- How do you imagine a typical day in work?
- Tell me about a time when you developed your own way of doing things.
- Tell me how you organize, plan, and prioritize your work.
- What have you found to be the best way to monitor the performance of your work?
- Can you work with MS Office? What computer programs are you familiar with?
- Imagine the following situation: Two patients come to an office, both of them having an appointment at 9am. You realize that you made a mistake and scheduled both of them at the same hour. What will you do?
- What are your salary expectations?
* If you are not sure how to answer the questions, have a look at an eBook I wrote for you, the Medical Receptionist Interview Guide. Multiple brilliant answers to each question from this article (and more) will help you find the right words in every moment of the interview, stand out with your answers, and walk away with a new employment contract.
Good relationships are crucial
You should try to create a good relationship with your interviewer. In many cases, the doctor you’d work with will lead your interview. Ensure them (with all you say and do) that it will be a pleasure to work with you.
- Show respect and recognition. Doctors like to be respected–exception just proves the rule. Compliment them for something (for their practice, cozy office, great reputation, anything else that catches your eye).
- Smile. Keep an eye contact with the interviewers, and try to speak openly about your life and professional career.
- Show motivation. Some job applicants consider job of a receptionist their last option, applying because they can not get any better position. Even if you find yourself in the same boat, you should do your best to not make it obvious in the interviews.
- Speak with enthusiasm about your new job, your future, the particular clinic or medical practice where you apply for work. Show them that you want the job, and are actually looking forward to start working as a medical receptionist.
Conclusion, answers to all interview questions
Interview for a position of a Medical Receptionist belongs to interviews with average difficulty. Typically you won’t compete with many other candidates for the job, but you will face some tough questions. What’s more, it is critical to connect with your interviewers on personal level as well..
If you are not sure how you’d do that, or how to answer the questions, have a look at eBook I wrote for you, the Medical Receptionist Interview Guide. Multiple brilliant answers to 25 most common interview questions for medical receptionist will help you connect with the hiring managers, stand out and outclass your competitors, and walk away with an amazing employment contract.
Thank you for checking it out, and good luck in your interview!
Matthew Chulaw, InterviewPenguin.com
* You can also download the full list of questions in a one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:
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