What are your weaknesses?

  1. This is the question everyone dreads at an interview...at least I do. I don't want to tell them something that will turn them off from hiring me entirely. I have 4 interviews this week and I need some ideas on how to answer this question in a positive way. So tell me...what are your weaknesses and how would you describe them to an interviewer? Thanks in advance for your help.
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   JentheRN05
    Well what are your weaknesses? If you have a weakeness - maybe we can help put it into better words.
  4. by   rach_nc_03
    this is a tough one, but my philosophy is this-

    no matter what you answer (mine is usually that I get caught up in my own perfectionism), have a second half to the answer that addresses how you're trying to work on the problem. I usually say something like this:

    "I think my biggest weakness is that I tend to be a perfectionist, and I have to always think about prioritizing my time based on what's most important. As much as I may want to do x task perfectly, I make sure I reassess, throughout the day, what my priorities should be."

    I'll often follow-up with a brief example of a time when that weakness was a problem, and what I did (or should have done) to correct it. I always get a good response when I answer the question that way, and when I worked in HR, I really appreciated it when people were honest about their shortcomings.

    I also tailored that answer to address the specific environment, if I was moving into a new area- when I interviewed for a job in clinical research, I said that my biggest challenge would be learning research protocols, and ensuring that subjects followed those protocols (in bed at certain times, collecting urine so we could do strict output charting, etc.); however, I said that my background in research in the tech field gave me a good base from which to learn clinical research protocols, and as a fast learner with a lot of attention to detail, I was sure I had the necessary aptitudes to aquire those skills quickly.

    I think interviewers want to see how you *frame* your own shortcomings, and if you recognize you HAVE shortcomings- they're not looking for red flag answers.

    JMHO.
  5. by   llg
    Quote from JentheRN05
    Well what are your weaknesses? If you have a weakeness - maybe we can help put it into better words.
    Definitely. The worst answer to that question is a "made up" answer that you think sounds good. It has to be the real thing or you will struggle when they want to discuss it further with you.

    So ... prepare for your interview by doing a good self-assessment. What are your real strengths and weaknesses? If you don't the real answer to that question, you've got bigger problems than an upcoming job interview.

    After you have identified your real weaknesses, think about how they affect your work life -- and then, as rach_NC_03 said, develop a plan for how you will deal with that weaknesses so that it doesn't negatively affect your work performance.

    That's the approach that gives the interviewers the 4 things the interviewers really want to hear:
    1. You are honest and not just spouting off some fictional answer you read in a book or got from the internet
    2. You are self-aware. You demonstrate the mature, work-life readiness skill, and emotional intelligence skill of being aware of your own strengths, weaknesses, feelings, etc. and how they affect other people and your work performance.
    3. You have a plan for successfully dealing with your weaknesses that will prevent them from having a negative impact on your job performance.
    4. You have a sufficiently positive attitude about yourself and your ability to be successful at the job that you can discuss these things openly and with self-confidence -- which endears you to your audience (interviewers and colleagues).

    Good luck. Let us know how it goes.
    llg
  6. by   MrsMommaRN
    this is one you really have to think about. no one likes to think about thier weaknesses. for me i know i like to have everything done the way i like to do it and i don't like to ask for help.
    good luck with your interviews be sure to let us know how it goes. smile and be yourself!
  7. by   medicrnohio
    I appreciate everyones answers to my question. To those of you who are concerned that I am looking to the internet to get a list of answers to this questions...I'm sorry that you misunderstood the intentions of my questions. I am just looking to get an idea of how other people answer this question and turn their weaknesses into something positive. I have no intentions of going to my interview and spouting off all of your weaknesses to the interviewer. I have enough of my own that I don't have to use other peoples weaknesses at an interview.
  8. by   NurseCard
    :yeahthat:

    When I worked in Med/Surge, I ALWAYS hated asking for help, especially when it came to starting IV's. I was always so ashamed of the fact that when it came to starting them, I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.

    Other than that... just have to say that all of the above answers are great and I really have nothing else to add. =) Well, I would also be interested in seeing the OP answer the original question.
  9. by   TrudyRN
    The only right answer would be that you are just a workaholic. Or something that doesn't relate to the job at all - some skill that you won't need on that particular job. Or "I have not yet had the opportunity to pass an NG tube." or something akin to that, that is pretty easily fixable.
  10. by   TrudyRN
    Quote from llg
    Definitely. The worst answer to that question is a "made up" answer that you think sounds good. It has to be the real thing or you will struggle when they want to discuss it further with you.

    So ... prepare for your interview by doing a good self-assessment. What are your real strengths and weaknesses? If you don't the real answer to that question, you've got bigger problems than an upcoming job interview.

    After you have identified your real weaknesses, think about how they affect your work life -- and then, as rach_NC_03 said, develop a plan for how you will deal with that weaknesses so that it doesn't negatively affect your work performance.

    That's the approach that gives the interviewers the 4 things the interviewers really want to hear:
    1. You are honest and not just spouting off some fictional answer you read in a book or got from the internet
    2. You are self-aware. You demonstrate the mature, work-life readiness skill, and emotional intelligence skill of being aware of your own strengths, weaknesses, feelings, etc. and how they affect other people and your work performance.
    3. You have a plan for successfully dealing with your weaknesses that will prevent them from having a negative impact on your job performance.
    4. You have a sufficiently positive attitude about yourself and your ability to be successful at the job that you can discuss these things openly and with self-confidence -- which endears you to your audience (interviewers and colleagues).

    Good luck. Let us know how it goes.
    llg
    I disagree. She can and should do all the self-assessment you recommend. But she should not strip herself bare for the interviewer.
  11. by   medicrnohio
    Quote from JentheRN05
    Well what are your weaknesses? If you have a weakeness - maybe we can help put it into better words.
    You wanted them so here the are (well not all of them)....
    1. Patience is not one of my strongest qualities. I am, however, working on becoming more patient because I realize that most things require time to become successful.
    2. Short time periods at each position. I have kept most jobs for a year or two. I really don't know how to make this one positive.
    3. I like to be in control. Through nursing I have realized them importance of delegating tasks to others. This can be a strength too because I have realized the importance of being in control of both my personal and professional life.

    These are some of the things I have thought of as answers to this question.
  12. by   NurseCard
    Ewww... like Trudy said, I don't think you need to strip yourself bare. I'm specifically talking about the "short time frames at each position" answer. I don't think that's something you really need to tell an interviewer. It's going to be on your job application anyway, but still... I'd make the interview as absolutely positive as possible.

    The other two answers weren't too bad. Honest, yet you did put a positive spin on them. I'd just REALLY leave the "short time frames" part out. I know that honesty is a virtue, but to me, it just has no relevance whatsoever to the type of job that you can do; it only makes you look like someone who won't stick around.
  13. by   medicrnohio
    Quote from RealNurseWitch
    Ewww... like Trudy said, I don't think you need to strip yourself bare. I'm specifically talking about the "short time frames at each position" answer. I don't think that's something you really need to tell an interviewer. It's going to be on your job application anyway, but still... I'd make the interview as absolutely positive as possible.

    The other two answers weren't too bad. Honest, yet you did put a positive spin on them. I'd just REALLY leave the "short time frames" part out. I know that honesty is a virtue, but to me, it just has no relevance whatsoever to the type of job that you can do; it only makes you look like someone who won't stick around.
    I would never bring that up in an interview unless specifically asked. I just brought it up because a few people had asked what some of my weaknesses were. Thank your for your thoughts...and yes I'd like to keep some of my clothes on. Stripping bare at an interview could never be a good thing unless of course you are applying for that type of job. :wink2:
  14. by   Midwest4me
    Quote from medicrnohio
    You wanted them so here the are (well not all of them)....
    2. Short time periods at each position. I have kept most jobs for a year or two. I really don't know how to make this one positive.
    I, too, have had several jobs lasting only 1-2 years at a time---call it "specialty experimentation", if you will....Here's a way to make #2 positive(in the event the interviewer asks about the reason behind short time periods--especially if the nsg jobs were in different areas of nsg): Something like: "These positions have broadened my knowledge base and experience in different specialties. It's my feeling that the variety has helped me be more well-rounded as a nurse."
    Just my 2 cents' worth......:wink2:

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