The CORRECT answer to the dreaded "What is your weakness" interview question...
- 0Feb 11, '13 by CC WisconsinHi all,
I have a couple interviews scheduled and I need some advice...When I'm asked about my greatest weakness, what are your thoughts on something like this:
"I genuinely care about the well-being of my patients and tend to get attached to them, which I think stems from my experience in a LTC facility."
It's a true statement, I love [most] of my patients, but I don't let that cloud my judgment. Is this an okay answer to the question? Or what ARE some valid answers?
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- 0Feb 11, '13 by SusGob711As long as it doesn't paint you in a bad image. For example, if you said your weakness is that you get attached to your patients, you need to be prepared to communicate that you know how to set boundaries for yourself and that you respect the nurse-patient relationship.
I think the biggest thing they are looking for is awareness of self. My biggest weakness is I tend to be hypercritical of myself. This flaw actually pushes me towards self-improvement and I expect a lot from myself and other people as well.
Good luck this week!
- 2Feb 11, '13 by trueblue2000This is a trap question, almost anything you say here will damage your image and will be used against you, as an excuse not to hire you. The correct answer is "I don't have any weaknesses" period. Say no more. Now, if you are afraid you will come out as arrogant, you can add "While I am not weak on any area, there are some areas that I feel I could improve on. For instance, I am reluctant to delegate care; I feel that if I didn't do myself some aspect of my patient care, it wasn't done right. I probably should learn to trust more the techs in my unit."
- 5Feb 11, '13 by Ntheboat2I don't know how much experience you have so this might not be helpful to you. However, someone else might benefit from my response.
When I was asked this question as a new grad, I would say something like, "I think my main weakness is lack of experience. I have some experience as an aide and an intern, but I'm a new nurse so there is a lot that I need to learn."
I got some really positive feedback with that response. I feel like it's a legitimate weakness in general because new nurses are an expense and can be (although hopefully not) a liability. At the same time, it's a "weakness" that you have no control over as everyone starts out as a new nurse so it's not like a personal flaw.
- 0Feb 11, '13 by CC WisconsinThanks everyone. I have always heard not to say "I don't have any" to the question, but I like the "things I can improve on" angle. @Ntheboat2, I will be a new grad in May, so I really like that answer...but do you think that would make them re-think hiring me since I'm pointing out again that I can't start until May? I also really like the "I don't like to delegate/I like to do things myself" answer as well, although I can't say that I have been able to delegate yet I have also thought about saying "interviews" as my answer...that's a legit weakness Thanks everyone!
- 0Feb 11, '13 by turnforthenurseRNYour strengths and weaknesses are a given for any interview, I think.
When I was asked this during my nurse tech interview, I went along the lines with not having a whole lot of experience. I only worked as a PCNA for about 4 months prior to getting an interview for this job, plus I was in nursing school. The HR rep LOVED my answer. When I interviewed for my first RN position as a new grad, I told them my greatest weakness was that I was a new grad and I lack experience" etc and they loved that answer, too.
- 3Feb 13, '13 by llg GuideAs someone who conduct interviews ...
You have gotten some good advice here. And you have recognized the one piece of terrible advice you have received. The "I don't have any weaknesses," response will pretty much lose you the job, if I am interviewing you. I don't want people to lie to me and I don't want to hire people who are not interested in learning and improving.
I also don't want to hire people who are feeding me answers that are insincere and/or over-rehearsed. So be prepared to give a few examples of how that weakness has played out in your life and how you are addressing it. I often ask follow-up questions after those types of standard questions that most people prepare for -- just to see if the candidate is left with nothing to say after feeding me their rehearsed script. If the candidate is sincere and discussing a real weakness, he/she should be able to handle some follow-up discussions with spontaneous answers. If they can't talk about their response spontaneously, it makes me think it was just a rehearsed answer that might not be the truth. It makes me lose my trust in the candidate -- and that's a bad thing.