Lack of Experience as my Biggest Weakness?

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    Hello all!

    I'm a new grad and have an interview for the new grad program in a hospital I currently work in as a CNA. I've been taking people's advice and sort of prepping for the interviewing (on Friday) by answering commonly asked interview questions. For my greatest weakness, is it okay for me to say that it's my lack of experience? I feel like it's a cop out or is too easy an answer but I do believe that it is my greatest weakness coming into the program. It's an ICU new grad program if that's any difference. Thanks for the replies in advance.

    Kim
  2. 7 Comments so far...

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    I think if you are going to be honest about you weakness you should have a plan to overcome it. And remember that you do have experience. Think back over your training and find something that you knew nothing about but then learned once the opportunity arose. For me it might be tracheostomy care because it wasnt something i had come across. I read about it and i spent a day course learning about it. I then had the opportunity to care for a patient with a trachy and achieved my competency. You are never going to know everything in nursing and some days you really have to be inventive. Remember that there are other staff there to help you in when you start in new units and that each unit is different. When a unit is run well and managed properly you will get the least sick patient as you have the least experience. They will know by your cv that you lack experience so make sure you have a game plan to tackle that. And tell them about past experiences you have been involved in eg an arrest on a unit and how you dealt with it etc.
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    I was using that answer, too, but don't have any job offers yet. My friend works in HR (in another industry, not health care), & she has advised me not to say anything the least bit negative, that the weakness question is a trap. Therefore, you shouldn't even say something obvious (like your lack of experience when applying for a new grad program), but should say your insatiable desire for more knowledge or that you're too passionate about caring for your patients. I'm not completely convinced anyone will buy drivel like this, but may be worth listening to an HR expert. Good luck on your interview. Sounds like you have done all the right things to get the job.
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    Quote from notqueenb
    IMy friend works in HR (in another industry, not health care), & she has advised me not to say anything the least bit negative, that the weakness question is a trap. Therefore, you shouldn't even say something obvious (like your lack of experience when applying for a new grad program), but should say your insatiable desire for more knowledge or that you're too passionate about caring for your patients. I'm not completely convinced anyone will buy drivel like this, but may be worth listening to an HR expert
    Please do not misunderstand me when I say this but the advice about the weakness questions is driving me up a wall!!!!! lol Not to say that I don't appreciate your input but it drives me insane! I don't know whether or not to put a weakness or to negate a positive aspect of myself. It's the world's worst question ever. Hands down.

    Okay so I'm attaching two answers that I'm possibly giving to the interviewer on Friday should this question come up.

    My inexperience is the most obvious answer but that’s what I’m trying to rectify by getting the position here. Also I’m afraid that a weakness would be my time management which I’ve been improving for the last year. I observed the nurses I followed for the last year and have incorporated bits of their systems into how I hope to manage my shift once I begin working. (SHOW MY SHIFT SHEET) It’s a work in progress and can only be really developed in a real working environment but I think I’ve made strides in improvement since I’ve been actively working on it.
    OR
    I think a weakness of mine is my attachment to my patients and the empathy I feel for them and their families can sometimes be too much. When I first began nursing school I was excited about going into pediatrics but I’ve learned that my level of empathy for my patients especially for the pediatrics population was emotionally exhausting and was causing me to burn out and dislike the vocation that I was so excited about. It’s why I’ve chosen an adult population and the intensive care unit. I’ve been working on keeping my emotional distance from my patients so that I don’t burn myself out quickly especially since this is a job where it’s so easy to emotionally exhaust yourself.

    Which of the two are better?
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    As someone who has interviewed and hired many new grads over the years ... I prefer your first response, the one about experience. It is real: it is an appropriate weakness for someone at your career level: and you focus on the positive by including an explanation of what you are doing to improve in that area.

    Personally, the kind of drivel suggested by post #2 [edited to correct the number of the post] makes me gag. I don't like to hear anything in an interview that sounds fake and/or like it was written by an advertising agency. Such fake answers may fool some clown in HR, but a real nurse manager knows b.s*** when she hears it -- and she doesn't want to get it from a job applicant. She wants to know who you really are -- and if who you really are isn't the right person for the job, then you should be working on improving who you are -- not trying to package the wrong product in b.s*** so that you can get a job for which you are not a good fit (which will only make you miserable and get your career off on the wrong foot, by the way.)

    Your experience answer sound honest -- and you want to appear honest in an interview. Don't sound like you are making stuff up trying to hide the truth. Any manager good enough at her job to be a good boss will see right through those fake answers and think less of your for trying to blow smoke up her a**.

    That's one of the main reasons I ask those kinds of questions in interviews -- to see if the person will give me a real answer or not. If not, then I know I can't trust them. I don't recommend hiring people I can't trust.

    Good luck with the interview! Be savy ... but be real.
    Last edit by llg on Jul 12, '10
    Meriwhen likes this.
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    llg,
    So Umm... I, the original poster, was also post #3... I'm not sure which of my responses you actually approved of.

    Thank you for your input though. I've been feeling like it's better to be honest and to emphasize that I've been trying to improve myself and how. I didn't want to play little mind/word games about how I think my "compassion is a negative". I'm glad to hear a person in your position finally give me a straight answer about the Weakness Question.
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    Oops! I'm sorry. I meant that I hate the type of fake response suggested in post #2 by notqueenb.

    I like the experience response in post #10.

    I apologize for my error.
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    Thanks so much llg. That's going to help me greatly on my interview on Friday. ^_^


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