The dreaded weakness interview question | allnurses

The dreaded weakness interview question

  1. 0 I have an interview coming up and I'm having trouble coming up with an appropriate response to the "What is one of your weaknesses?" question. It's not that I can't think of any, trust me there's plenty. It's just that I'm not sure what would be best to divulge. I have heard that some answers come off as BS, so I don't think it would be a good idea to say I work too hard or care too much, etc. One thing that I was thinking of mentioning that I hope wont make me look too bad is that I need to improve my skills. The nature of my program didn't allow for a huge amount of practice when it came to stuff like IV's. I've tried to do one every opportunity I've had, but still do not feel that confident in my abilities. That leads to another weakness I have, I think I lack confidence in some of my abilities which makes me hesitant in performing them. Not that I don't take all the chances I can to practice, but my lack of confidence leads to my hands shaking, second guessing myself, etc. Does that sound too horrible?? I really hate this question because I know you try to look your best at an interview, so it feels odd saying where you're not so great. Any advice is much appreciated. I am also thinking about my strength response, but I think that one might be a little easier. Any suggestions on what to say or not say for that one too? Thanks
  2. Visit  hatingthewaiting profile page

    About hatingthewaiting

    Joined Aug '07; Posts: 119; Likes: 27.

    11 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  waitingforthedream profile page
    3
    The only advice that I can give you is to answer with a weakness and make a remark on how you turned it into a positive. I used one that went sort of like this: I was a very detail oriented person who wanted things done right away to keep organized. This was my weakness as a nursing student because you were always being interrupted and things had to be put on hold. I really had a hard time with this, and worked very hard to learn time management skills. With this new skill, I learned that I must prioritize. Or something to that effect. Always take your negative and make it a postive. Good luck!
  4. Visit  86toronado profile page
    2
    A weakness that I always point out about myself is that I like to do new things myself, rather than have someone show me how to. But then I explain that I am a kinetic learner, so I really need to get my hands on something to understand it. It works for me!
    Faeriewand and hatingthewaiting like this.
  5. Visit  hatingthewaiting profile page
    1
    Quote from waitingforthedream
    The only advice that I can give you is to answer with a weakness and make a remark on how you turned it into a positive. I used one that went sort of like this: I was a very detail oriented person who wanted things done right away to keep organized. This was my weakness as a nursing student because you were always being interrupted and things had to be put on hold. I really had a hard time with this, and worked very hard to learn time management skills. With this new skill, I learned that I must prioritize. Or something to that effect. Always take your negative and make it a postive. Good luck!

    That sounds really good, I'm the same way. Did you get hired?
    NurseLoveJoy88 likes this.
  6. Visit  waitingforthedream profile page
    3
    Started last week as a new grad. And they were looking for RN's with 2 years experience. I am heading in now. Always follow your weakness with a statment of how you worked to turn it into a positive. Good Luck!!!!
  7. Visit  zofran profile page
    1
    Good luck on your up coming interview!

    I don't think it's a bad idea to say you need to improve on some of your nursing skills when asked about weaknesses.

    I said that in my interview 4 yrs ago and I got hired. I told them that my college did not offer as much clinical time as I would have liked and did not have many oppertunities to practice Foley's, iv's, etc.....

    Nurse managers should know that nursing skills are easily taught and learned with practice, it's the CRITICAL THINKING behind the skills (gosh I got sick of this phrase during nursing school!!!) that makes an RN an RN.

    As for the confidence thing.......I wouldn't say you are not confident. You made it through nursing school, you should be confident! You will become more confident as you get into the job and do things over and over. Be proud and realize you know what you should know right now as a new grad. A good strength to have is knowing when you need help and asking questions.
    hatingthewaiting likes this.
  8. Visit  2BSure profile page
    3
    I don't ask this question much anymore unless we are doing panel interviews. I find it a bit old-fashioned. Plus I am a little sick of people saying "I am a perfectionist" or some similar drivel. Before the interview I would list out what you consider to be your worst weaknesses and be able to say, for all of them, how you are addressing them. Then choose one that you can discuss how far you have come in addressing it.

    The point of the "what is one of your weaknesses" question is to illustrate that 1) you can self-identify a weakness 2) with that self-awareness, have taken some steps to either make it work for you or fix it

    Do not lie/make-up the answer to this question. Also, do not babble. In fact, answer the question quite simply, zip it and let them ask for further information.

    If you are a new grad your school might have a career consultants that can help you with this stuff to.
  9. Visit  llg profile page
    1
    As someone who has interviewed many, many students for externships and new grad jobs over the years, I think you have gotten some good advice from the previous posters. Be honest, tell how you work to keep your weakness from posing a serious problem ... and be brief.

    I like your "skills" answer. It sounds honest. However, I would recommend saying "some of my technical skills" rather than simply saying "my skills." You want to be sure to imply that you actually do have many other skills. I would also not go with the "confidence" response. It can come out making you sound like a loser. If you do use it, simply say that getting more practice with technical skills will help you feel more confident and secure. Avoid saying that you may appear hesitant and/or insecure in front of the patients and other staff. That suggests that you are going to give a bad impression to the patients and be a problem to orient -- which is really not good as it makes you appear to be the type of person who can't make it through orientation and earn the confidence of the staff and patients.

    Good luck! Keep us posted on how it goes.
    hatingthewaiting likes this.
  10. Visit  yadda_yadda_yadda profile page
    1
    I was so eager to respond to your thread!
    I used to dread this question--but have input that may help you:

    Personally, my strength & weakness are the SAME thing! My out-spoken nature
    It is a strength in that I am a phenomenal patient (and peer) advocate.:angel2:
    It can be a weakness in that 'sometimes', I forget when to super-glue those lips shut & vent when I should quitely retreat & keep my thoughts & comments to myself.:smiley_ab

    Just my

    P.S.--You;ll do fine @ your interview.
    hatingthewaiting likes this.
  11. Visit  RNperdiem profile page
    1
    Why would any interviewer still ask this question?
    Do they really want to know the truth?
    Does the interviewer think people are going to mention laziness, dishonesty, whining, backbiting, and overconfidence?
    The accepted list is limited to perfectionism, overachieving, and a few others.
    Bobosh likes this.
  12. Visit  llg profile page
    7
    Quote from RNperdiem
    Why would any interviewer still ask this question?
    Do they really want to know the truth?
    Does the interviewer think people are going to mention laziness, dishonesty, whining, backbiting, and overconfidence?
    The accepted list is limited to perfectionism, overachieving, and a few others.
    Actually, things like "perfectionism and overachieving" are generally bad answers. They sound fake and they sound as if the person is either not being honest or is not sufficiently self-aware to identify their true learning needs.

    When interviewers ask this question, they are giving the candidate and opportunity to demonstrate self-awareness, a willingness to identify and acknowledge learning needs, and the good judgment to discuss them in an appropriate way. The "I'm too perfect" style of answer makes the person look as though they are either not aware of their true weaknesses or not being honest about them. That tells the interview that the candidate's answers can not be trusted and will force the interviewer to either dig deeper with other questions to "find" the real person underneath -- or to simply "write off" the candidate.

    Everyone has learning needs. The interviewer is looking to hire someone who can honestly acknowledge that. It's also good if the person can identify ways they can work on those learning needs to improve in that area. Interviewers are also hoping that the weakness is not a fatal one. (The "I am too outspoken" response is dangerous for that reason. While being a patient advocate is a good thing, no one wants to hire someone whose outspokenness is going to cause political problems or tension within the work environment. It can work as a response if you emphasize that you have been successful at controlling yourself and are not a trouble-maker ... but some people can hang themselves with it.) It's best if the learning need (weakness) is one that is appropriate for a staff member at that level of experience and one that is fairly easy to rectify.

    That's why the "technical skills" answer can be a good one for a new grad. It's normal. All new grads have that weakness and orientation programs should already be in place to rectify it. The new grad can talk in a positive way about how she is looking forward to that orientation and plans to work hard during that period to further develop those skills most pertinent to the job. Such an answer can be quite positive and make the candidate sound like a strong person with a positive professional attitude about learning. That can be the lasting impression they leave with the interviewer who will think, "She will do just fine with that attitude," rather than ... "Oh my, we are going to have to keep an eye on that one."
    neemo, RUN_RN, mzjennx, and 4 others like this.
  13. Visit  mzjennx profile page
    0
    Quote from RNperdiem
    Why would any interviewer still ask this question?
    Do they really want to know the truth?
    Does the interviewer think people are going to mention laziness, dishonesty, whining, backbiting, and overconfidence?
    The accepted list is limited to perfectionism, overachieving, and a few others.
    Many many interviewers have asked this question. Of the 5 positions I have applied for, 4 have asked this question. But of course your honesty in the interview and critical thinking skills are very important. Of the 5 interviews I had 3 offers...

    I agree with everyone when they say to support your weakness with the positive. For me though my last interview I forgot to do so. It was a phone panel interview. I could not see the NM and charge nurse so I could not tell what they were saying or their reactions. I normally talk a lot and explain quite well, but I felt like I missed this question. I haven't received a call back for this position.

    I hope you do well.


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