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The patient service representative serves both the staff and the public. She performs receptionist duties and greets patients. She also assists doctors and nurses by maintaining charts and making appointments. She interacts with insurance companies and other medical entities. The patient service representative position is considered a front-office administrative job, where she is in constant interaction with patients. Hiring a patient service representative can be tricky because she has to multitask while giving her all to each duty. Asking the right interview questions will help you find the right candidate.
Education and Experience
The questions you ask depend on your minimum qualification requirements. The patient service representative position, most times, is an entry-level job. You might get an applicant with a certificate or an associate degree in medical administration. If so, ask the candidate what she liked about her course work and what she found most interesting. If she has experience, ask her scenario questions about times she had to prioritize her work. If she doesn't have experience, ask her why you should hire her over somebody that does. The candidate pool will probably consist of candidates wanting to advance at some point. Ask the candidate about her future plans and how they fit into the company. Something important to note: A desirable candidate with higher education or experience will probably want a higher starting salary. She knows she is in the position to negotiate, so be prepared.
Duties and Skills
Explain the tasks and duties to the candidate. Include the importance of customer service. One of her main functions will be to greet patients and make their visit to the clinic or hospital as pleasant as possible. Ask how well she interacts with patients and how she deals with difficult patients. Another key duty includes knowledge of computer software. Ask her about her familiarity with electronic medical programs. If she has no experience, ask her about her ability to learn new programs. Discuss the technical skills, too. Can she bill patients and insurance companies? Does she have any knowledge of medical terminology? If she has none, can she learn the skills in addition to the time-management requirements critical of the job?
Addressing the candidate's universal skills will be pivotal. These might comprise the bulk of her experience. Ask about her comfort level with standard office equipment. Also, inquire about her organization and clerical skills. Can she type? Can she file efficiently? The candidate must also be a strong team player. Ask her how she gets along with others. Assess her phone etiquette. Give her a script to read and observe her attitude. Discuss how she handles conflict.
Discussing the candidate's potential work environment is critical to her job stability. If she's not comfortable, she might quit. Escort her through the clinic or department and ask her if she would feel comfortable working with you. Address the company culture and tune in to her responses. Discuss her work hours. If overtime is mandatory, she needs to know. Does she have to work weekends? These are things you must address to avoid surprises.
Michelle Dwyer is a U.S. Army veteran writing fiction and nonfiction since 2003. She specializes in business, careers, leadership, military affairs and organizational change and behavior. Dwyer received an MBA from Tarleton State University/Texas A&M Central Texas and an MFA in creative writing from National University in La Jolla, Calif.
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