What if we had to tell the real truth when asked about our weaknesses? - page 2

by RNperdiem 9,902 Views | 65 Comments

The standard advice during interviews when this question comes up is to pick a mild fault and put a positive spin about how you are dealing with it successfully. I suspect interviewers foolish enough to ask this question hear a... Read More


  1. 11
    If I was really going to be honest:

    "Don't expect me to follow 'rules' that I don't agree with/don't see the point of just because "that's how we do things here", I'll speak my mind and challenge you every time."

    "Don't expect me kiss your behind, I don't care about winning brownie points."

    When I really get asked this question, I make up some nonsense that's partly true but can be spun in a positive way. I absolutely ABHOR this question... the interviewer knows the interviewee is going to lie. I remember discussing this with a friend when I was interviewing last year and we both agreed that no one would ever tell the honest-to-God truth when asked this question in an interview- she said her biggest weakness is that she's always late (which is true, I usually wait between 20-40 minutes for her when we go anywhere) but that she would never admit to that in an interview because that would undoubtedly lead to her not being hired.
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    As my boss, I will tell you what I think and not sugarcoat it. I will be direct/frank/hardline with you, but that doesn't mean I can't sugarcoat or soft sell it to others when I need to.

    And yes, this has gotten me into tangles in the past, at least until they get used to me
    anotherone, GrnTea, serenitylove14, and 2 others like this.
  3. 8
    Quote from RNperdiem
    The standard advice during interviews when this question comes up is to pick a mild fault and put a positive spin about how you are dealing with it successfully. I suspect interviewers foolish enough to ask this question hear a lot about perfectionism and workaholic behaviors.
    For fun I thought about what I would say if I had to speak the real truth with no softening or anything else.
    Would I really say that I am generally unassertive and conflict avoidant.? There is a lazy streak present where I am always tempted to take the easy way out. I work part-time because I can and would rather not deal with all the stress of full-time work; it also lets me avoid staff meetings and nursing committee requirements. Hire me and you can be sure I will never be voted nurse of the year.
    What would you never say for that interview question?
    LOL
    That is funny.

    Weakness:
    - Expect me to find a way to not attend staff meetings, i.e., organized b--ch sessions.

    - I can supervise. Doesn't mean I like to. The whole supervisory aspect of nursing was something that I hadn't foreseen. So far? I dislike it. I absolutely see and respect our nurse aides as professionals. However, some of these people? My God...it's enough to make you lose every last bit of your professionalism. Management needs to stop hiring any and everyone and start pushing some aptitude tests. I'm so serious. These individuals create more work for the other aides AND the nurses. They're not new aides, either.

    - I can lead. I just don't want to. Some do well in the background and that's me. I'm the backup. I'm the quarterback. I'm the support, not the lead. I'm not the performer on-stage. I'm the assistant pulling the strings, feeding lines, sewing up hems, screwing around with spreadsheets, on the phone with promoters and making the magic happen.
    I am pushed into leadership positions because... I don't know why. People misread my talents. I excel at leading (seemingly) because I'm anal, a bit of an authoritarian (leadership style), good at solving problems and very good at managing 'things'. I don't seek leadership/management positions unless I have to, however, because I hate having to manage 'people'.

    - I am a work-horse and I've never considered that a virtue. I care way more than I should about organizations and such. It's very easy to guilt me into picking up extra shifts. Probably because I spent so much time in the military. I have a weird need to be 'loyal to' an entity. LOL
    I am used to being 'voluntold' to do things. I am used to orders and it's not about mindlessly following orders. It's more, like, if something needs to be done and it's within your ability to do it...then you just do it. You step up and 'handle' it.
    You move 'with a sense of purpose'. Going 'above and beyond'... is what you're supposed to do.
    ...and I am trying to change this about myself. Really.
    That sort of attitude doesn't work in civilian world. In civilian world, being like that doesn't get you anything but 'used'.
    I'm just being honest, here.
    The more experienced nurses aren't like that, I've noticed. They're more hard-nosed about everything. I was asked and agreed to work a position. Well, we were short-staffed the days before and I was feeling sick. They told me, "Just call in. Staffing is a management issue. Don't kill yourself for this job. It's not like you're fighting for your country. It's not that serious..."
    I did the shift anyway because I thought, "Well, what about the patients? What about the other nurses that have to pick up the slack...?"
    I think I need to be more like my experienced coworkers. They'll tell you in a heartbeat what they're 'not gonna do'. LOL

    - I have issues with delegating. I sometimes don't know how to pass the reigns.

    - I'm not a true people person. I'm an introvert. Not sure how or why I like healthcare...because people don't do anything but sap me of my energy.
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    You know, I've tried liberating myself in interviews that I knew I didn't actually want the job once I was acquainted ( ~5 min into interview) with the interviewer, just to see if the hiring personnel really wanted a risk-taking candidate. Only, the question was, "Why did you get into this line of work?" I said that I did it for the money. It was true. It was unexpected. It was risky. It was, by most accounts, uncouth. Turns out, no one "honestly" wants the truth.
    uRNmyway, Halcyonn, serenitylove14, and 4 others like this.
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    My true weakness? Hmmm....I really find that after many yrs of nursing, Id rather be surfing at AN then working in your hospital! tee hee hee
    DizzyLizzyNurse, anotherone, wooh, and 6 others like this.
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    Thanks for the laughs guys. This thread had me really chuckling!
    RNperdiem and netglow like this.
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    When asked what my biggest weakness is I have a very standard answer: "My biggest weakness is also my biggest strength, I have perseverance and persistence which are great qualities but sometimes I have to sit back and respect peoples choices, even if I know they are wrong" -- it's a great weakness that isn't a bad one to have honestly.
    Genista, not.done.yet, anotherone, and 1 other like this.
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    As a hiring manager, I do ask "Tell me about your weakness". Within reason, I really don't care what answer you give me but those of you NOT hiring would be amazed at the number of people that tell me "I can't really think of anything" or "I don't really have any weaknesses". This response tells me 1) they are not prepared for an interview or 2) They really think they are that perfect and it's gonna be H___ for the rest of us to deal with them...managers and coworkers alike!


    As an employee at an interview, I do not share that I tend to be a clock watcher. I have been salary for several years now and I'm just not going to work 60+ hours because I'm salary and you think you can just take advantage of that. I will work my tail off, skip breaks, skip lunch, whatever it takes but when my 8-9 hours is up I plan to be out the door unless the sky is falling.
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    I have problems with authority. I'm not politically savvy. Apparently I roll my eyes all the time without realizing it. I'm usually on time-ish and as long as the leaving shift gets out on time, I don't sweat being a minute or 5 late. I don't think I've ever stayed in one position more than a year. I love me some good gossip. I carry grudges. I will shop online if there's nothing else to do. Sometimes I will say what I'm thinking to families and patients and it's often not beneficial to Press Gainey scores. When can I start?
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    Honestly? I'd admit that I'm like the little girl with a curl in the middle of her forehead: when I'm good, I'm very, very good, and when I'm bad......well, I really, really suck. There's no middle ground. I'm either gung-ho and git-r-done, or I move at the speed of smell and whine "I don't wanna!" Fortunately, it's about 75/25 in favor of git-r-done.
    not.done.yet, LLDPaRN, anotherone, and 5 others like this.


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