Screening Interview Questionnaire: Medical Receptionist Position | HumorOutcasts

Screening Interview Questionnaire: Medical Receptionist Position

March 11, 2014

Note:  Throughout the interview, the candidate shall receive extra points for interrupting the interviewer.


1.  Name _______________________(hint: Extra points for “Carol.”  We’re all “Carol” here!)

2.  Scenario:  You have double-booked for a doctor appointment.  How do you handle the situation?

a) Apologize to the patients (-4 pts)

b) Tell the patients the doctor is at fault for the mistake (0 pts)

c) Convince the patients that one or both of them is at fault (3 pts)

d) Pretend not to notice, assign both patients to one exam room and supply one hospital gown for them to fight over  (5 pts)

3.  What is your telephone pick-up and transfer success rate?

a) I successfully answer and transfer calls as appropriate, losing no callers    (-10 pts)

b) I put 70% of incoming calls on hold (0 pts)

c) 100% calls on hold.  Then 50% dropped randomly; 10% transferred to the ER, just because; and 30% sent to voice mail (7 pts)

d) I only answer my own cell phone, and only when I hear the “Crazy Train” ringtone. (15 pts)

4.  This job has responsibility for recording the office voice mail greeting.  Please choose the best voice mail greeting from the following:

a)    “Welcome to the offices of Drs. Jacob and Bob Marley.  Today is Tuesday, March 11, 2014 and our hours are 9-5.  We are sorry to have missed your call.  Please leave us a message and one of our specialists will return your call in 24 hours.” (-20 pts)

b)   “You’re reached Marlsburg and Markley, doctors in specialty.  Leave a message.  The doctors will respond to you after 2 days.” (10 pts)

c)    “This is Dernarse.  I’m on break right now.  Press 1 to speak to our nurse Carol.  Press 2 to speak to Carol in billing.  Press 3 to page Carol, our volunteer firefighter.” (15 pts)

d)   “…. specialists in hieroglyphics.  Due to holidays, our office will be closed from December 13, 1995 through January 5, 1996.  The voice mailbox is full.  Thank you.” (30 pts.)

5.  Which of the following is acceptable front desk conversation when patients are in the waiting room?

a)    Weather (0 pts)

b)   Your teenagers’ drug history and other indiscretions (5 pts)

c)    Any complaints involving vulgar profanity, particularly gossip about co-workers (8 pts)

d)   The story of your rough morning, including but not limited to the vomit of your dog, your heavy and irregular menstrual cycle, the breakdown of your pick-up, and your ex’s overdue child support (20 pts)

6.  What is the best way to make an appointment over the phone?

a)    Courteously, patiently, respectfully (-75 pts)

b)   Allow the patient to detail all of their ailments and woes.  Then convince them no appointment is needed.  “Have you tried zinc?  You know, like Airborne?  Start with that, and some ibuprofen.” (2 pts)

c)    “What time can you come in?  We have a 9am, 9:10, 9:15, 9:18, 9:50, 3pm, 3:07, 3:27, 3:37 the next day, 4pm, 4am the day after that…. No I’m sorry, I can’t repeat all that.”  (10 pts)

d)   Sigh loudly when the caller needs to check their personal calendar to see if the offered appointment will work for them.  Place the caller on hold for at least 3 minutes to pull up the office scheduler.  Comment at least once on each call, “I’m sorry, my computer is just not behaving today.  Oh, ok, there it is…no…no…this thing must be having a Monday.  You’re going to have to call back later.” (12 pts)


I'm practically a doctor.  Hand me the forms back and I'll complete everything for you.


7.  If a patient has a question about something on one of our 27 forms, how do you handle it?

a)    Courteously, patiently, respectfully (-100 pts)

b)   Since it is important for the patient to feel that everyone in our office is an expert, I should do my best to make the patient feel stupid and worthless.  Thus, a condescending tone is required; and the best response is often, “Well you have to answer SOMETHING.  Do you want me to just check boxes off for you and fill in anything?  Give me this.  Here, you don’t look diabetic…” (20 pts)

c)    Roll eyes, and ask for a fifth copy of ID and insurance card.   “Yes, it needs to come all the way out of that tight billfold please…” Ignore the patient’s original question.  (50 pts)

d)   Simply close the sliding window and walk away. (55 pts)

8.  Finally, what motivates you?

a)    Helping others achieve good health (0 pts)

b)   Looking at that handsome Dr. Marley.  No, the other one.  Meow.

c)    Free samples from pharmaceutical reps! (20 pts)

d)   Getting my work done ASAP so I get home and watch Lifetime with my cat Shambles snuggled in my lap (30 pts)

Bonus points:

  • Cigarette breath
  • Emotionless countenance
  • Offers interviewer a fun size chocolate bar from purse
  • Skilled in making seasonal crafts, such as desk garlands

Emily Schleiger

Emily Schleiger is a writer in the Chicago area. Her work has been published on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Reductress, Second City Network, and After surviving a short career in Human Resources, she has studied at The Second City and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. For more writing, check out and For her birthday she would love a drum set, but in the interim she’s just fine with smacking carrots against the kitchen countertop because she is adaptable like that.

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12 Responses to Screening Interview Questionnaire: Medical Receptionist Position

  1. March 11, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Sometimes when talking on the phone with the office I have to ask, “Are you still there?” Grunt or something every once in a while.

    • March 11, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      Oh I’ve TOTALLY done that. And gotten a snippy “YES!” in return.

  2. March 11, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Nailed it. Hilarious. I once waited to schedule a dental appt while the receptionist complained about her boyfriend to a tech. Customer service!!

    • March 11, 2014 at 11:24 pm

      Thank you. See, that’s the thing, we’re not really customers in their eyes, we’re pitiful beggars. We’re at the mercy of dictators dressed in Snoopy scrubs.

  3. March 11, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    I think this should be posted in every doctor’s office!

    • March 11, 2014 at 11:21 pm

      Oh, I believe it is….I think it’s rewritten as an addendum to the Hippocratic oath or something, and all the “Carol”s have to sign (employees only have to sign one sheet v. 27…), and it’s kept on file.

  4. Bill Y Ledden
    March 11, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    I hate those 27 forms. If they put me in charge I will staple all the 27 forms together and make one giant form because that will change things!

    • March 11, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      That’s it! You’ve found the solution. I wonder what they have against staples?!

  5. March 11, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Every single one of these is spot on. Have you been following me? So damn funny.

    • March 11, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      Thank you. Maybe we have doctors in common? Or all the receptionists come from the same training. The worst part of it is that you can’t give them attitude back, because the future of your health is somewhat in their hands.

  6. March 11, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Hilarious!! You have finally answered why I have bad experiences with my doctor’s receptionist.

    • March 11, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      I’m glad I could be of help. At least you know now that you aren’t alone, and you aren’t the problem.

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