While applying for new positions in any field is a multifaceted effort in its own right, the interview process is bound to be one of, if not the single most, challenging step that you face. This may be because you simply don’t have a lot of experience sitting in professional interviews or perhaps because situations like this can seem high pressure.
Either way, it’s extremely valuable and will work to your benefit if you’re able to go into the interview calmly and confidently. This is particularly important for students studying medical billing and coding, as the field requires not only a concrete understanding of how to perform coding, but also the ability to adapt to specific needs of individual practices. If you’re currently on the market for a position in this field or think you will be soon, take a look at these tips for interviewing for medical coding and billing jobs.
Be able to speak to your hard skills
Obviously, one of the foremost topics that is going to be broached during any interview for a medical billing and coding job is your actual expertise in the area. While interviews that occur later in the process are bound to center more on your personality and whether you’re a match for that specific practice, early ones are aimed at determining your raw ability.
Even if you’re a phenomenal student and understand billing and coding inside and out, it’s important that you consider how you will field unexpected questions during this phase of the process. According to Monster, it’s beneficial for all interviewees to be able to speak about how they feel their education will be able to translate directly to the job. Also, they recommend being able to speak intelligently and from an informed perspective about recent changes in healthcare laws and policies.1
In many scenarios, you will be given a mock situation to run through in order to demonstrate your ability to deal with changing variables and think on your feet. If asked how you would handle an entire day’s worth of claims in a short period, be enthusiastic but realistic about your abilities.
Present yourself professionally
Though this tip might seem somewhat self evident, you’d be surprised at how many job interviews don’t work out because of something that the interviewee wore or said that was inappropriate. It’s important that you give off an air of professionalism even if the workplace at which you are interviewing strikes you as more casual.
According to the American Academy of Professional Coders, you should always aim to show up to a medical billing and coding interview in professional, neat clothing that offers a very solid first impression of you to your prospective employer.2 For men, this will typically mean slacks and a dress shirt if not a full suit. For women, a modest blouse and skirt or pants are solid options. Both genders should ensure that nothing they wear is too flashy, tight or revealing before they head out the door.
Express your individual soft strengths
While our ability to demonstrate proficiency in the hard skills of billing and coding will be integral in your job search and interview processes, you can also convey value through having soft skills. Before any interview, try and learn as much about the practice, their services and their clientele as you possibly can. For example, if you’re considering working at a practice that specializes in medical care for expectant mothers, then you may want to consider some ways in which your training and personality would make you particularly valuable and useful in the role.
If you’ve completed a billing and coding internship at a clinic or practice with a specific focus, you may have better luck looking for coding jobs in practices that do the same thing considering the soft skills that you gained.
1) DeZube, Dona, ‘Medical Billing/Coding Specialist Interview Questions,’ Monster, 2015,http://career-advice.monster.com/job-interview/interview-questions/medical-billing-interview-questions/article.aspx
2) ‘Tips For Job Seekers – Medical Coding Jobs,’ The American Association of Professional Coders, 2015, https://www.aapc.com/medical-coding-jobs/job-seekers/tips.aspx