Healthcare and pharma industry is booming. Not sure if it is good news for humanity, but it is good news for medical assistants. Never before could you find that many job openings in the field, all around the United States. And though many people decide to get a medical assistant certificate and pursue this career each year, interviews have definitely become easier–simply because hospitals, clinics, and all sorts of medical practices need assistants, and cannot afford to send you home just because you struggle with some tricky question, such as the one about your strengths and weaknesses. They just do not have as much choice as they’d like to.
Anyway, it doesn’t mean that you can afford to answer their questions with silence. If you apply for a job in a good place, or one that pays an above-average salary to medical assistants, you will still compete with other people for the job. And you have to make a good impression. Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to this typical interview question. In my selection you will find answers for both novices and experienced medical assistants, as well as some unconventional answers. Pick one you like, and adjust it to fit your situation and the message you try to convey in the interviews.
7 sample answers to “What are your strengths and weaknesses” interview question for medical assistants
- I would pick emotional intelligence as my greatest strength. Having an ability to easily recognize how people feel, it helps me to always say the right words or do the right thing with the patients. What’s more, it helps me to avoid conflict situations and waste my energy with things that do not deserve my attention. From my weaknesses I would pick punctuality. It happens to me often that I am late for a meeting, and I know I cannot afford something similar in the job. I can assure you that I will try my best to be more punctual, if I get this job.
- Communication skills, especially listening. People generally enjoy talking to me, because they feel that I am really present, and listening to their message, and do not wander somewhere in my thoughts like most people do when having a conversation. I believe it will help me a lot in my job of a medical assistant, both in communication with healthcare professionals and patients. My biggest weakness are my computer skills though. I prefer working with people to working with computers, and one can feel it when it comes to the speed of my work. However, I want to improve on my weakness, and believe that practice makes perfect. If I spend enough time working with computer here, I will definitely get more efficient with them.
- Experience is my greatest strength. I’ve been working as a clinical medical assistant for five years already. And though you can learn a lot of things while getting certified, nothing beats experience in a real healthcare setting. Measuring vital signs, preparing blood samples for lab tests, giving injections, updating medical records–you name it. Once you do things for certain amount of time you get a good grasp of the job, and work much more efficiently. On the other hand, in spite of my experience, I still find it emotionally difficult to witness certain things in a medical practice, for example extremely sick children. And it can have a big impact on my mental well-being. I know I cannot afford it as a healthcare professional, and I work with a psychologist trying to address the issue. I’ve already witnessed decent progress, and hopefully soon enough my weakness will be just a history.
- To be honest I cannot tell yet. This is my first job application in the field, and it is hard to assess my strengths and weaknesses unless I work in any field for a few months at least. But I am sure I will handle certain duties better and struggle with handling others, just like everyone else. Perfect medical assistants do not exist. I can assure you of one thing though: As soon as I identify my weaknesses, I will try my best to improve on them.
- I would say responsibility and loyalty. I am someone you can count on, in both good and bad times. Had my last job for fifteen years, before I decided it was a time to try something else in life, and enrolled for the MA certification. But it has never happened to me that I came late for a shift or forgot on something important. As I’ve said, you can count on me always. My weakness is definitely lack of experience, and the fact that I’ve worked in a completely different field up to this point. But I am eager to learn and motivated to make a good career as a medical assistant. I just may need a bit more time to get around certain duties.
- My personal motto is to never stop improving. I cannot tell something is my strength, because I am never completely satisfied, and see a room for improvement in everything I do. You see, maybe my communication skills beat skills of most other job applicants, but I still want to improve on them. When I think about it now, perhaps my attitude is my greatest strength, because it helps me to always reach new heights in whatever I do. Job of a medical assistant will be no exception….
- I’m new to the field, and definitely lack practical experience with both administrative and clinical duties. However, I am a quick learner, I see a meaningful purpose in this job, and am as motivated as anyone to try my best for every patient. Which is, I believe, an important strength. Because at the end of the day this isn’t neuroscience or aerospace. Everyone can learn how to handle the duties of a medical assistant. Without right attitude, however, and honest desire to try your best for every patient, you won’t become an excellent medical assistant, regardless of how smart or experienced you are.
Express your desire to improve on your weaknesses
They do not look for perfect medical assistants, because they know such people do not exist. But they look for honest job candidates who are not afraid to admit their weaknesses and mistakes, and are willing to work on their skills. And that’s exactly what you should talk about when asked about your strengths and weaknesses.
Pick one or two strengths that are important for the job, such as communication skills, empathy, ability to handle both administrative and clinical duties, responsibility, patience, etc, and one weakness that either isn’t central for the job, or you can quite easily improve on it. And express your desire to improve on your weakness.
If you do not know what to say, refer to working experience
One strength or weakness we all have is our level of experience. Either you’ve worked as a medical assistant before (or had a similar role in healthcare), or you haven’t. In the first case it is your strength–you’ve done the job, know the duties, experienced challenges, and so on. Just like in any other interview, experience is an advantage.
In the second case, when you lack experience, you can pick it as your biggest weakness. Ensure the interviewers though that your motivation to do well and eagerness to learn will quickly make up for the lack of experience, and help you deliver a great job day in day out…
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check also other tricky interview questions for medical assistants:
- Why should we hire you as a medical assistant?
- Medical assistant interview – Tell me about yourself.
- Medical assistant interview – Why do you want to work here?
- All medical assistant interview questions.