interview weakness

  1. Hi all,

    I have an interview at a primary care office as an office nurse. I would love to get this job and get away from the hell that is the bedside. I love being a nurse and taking care of my patients but the bedside causes me too much anxiety.

    I don't do well at interviews and I always have trouble with the weakness question. It is not that I don't have weaknesses it is just if I tell the interviewer about my real weaknesses I would definitely not get the position. My weaknesses as a nurse are anxiety and being easily overwhelmed. I am sure these weaknesses are due to working at the bedside on a med-surge floor. I have trouble with stress in general but not to the extent that it is at the bedside.
    I just never know what to say at these interviews for weaknesses without saying something that will take me out of the running.
    the other question of how do I handle conflict always makes me uptight. In reality I avoid conflict if it can be avoided. I am not a very assertive person but I cannot say that on an interview.

    I was thinking of saying for a weakness how I do not like to be in charge of the floor and being a supervisor. For conflict I would say that I try to compromise.

    I am a good nurse and go above and beyond or at least do everything in my poser to take care of the patient. I also will help out a co-worker if I see they are struggling. I really need to get away from the bedside and off of the second shift before I lose it. I dread going to work each day and each shift is a struggle to get through. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    My interview is next Friday so it gives me plenty of time to prepare.

  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   nurseprnRN
    They real key to avoiding saying something that is true that would "take you out of the running" is not to rework your interview skills or learn to lie (or at least dissemble) better, but to fix the identified problem that is holding you back from doing what you want to do. Fixing poor stress management and conflict avoidance will help you in lots of ways, not just for the workplace but for your personal relationships including significant others and children. Believe me, there are a lot of useful skills for nursing that work really well with a three-year-old-- or a thirty-year-old. These are two of them.

    So. I understand you've left this off your agenda for a long time, and now your interview is in a week. Kinda short notice, but your answers may be effective in this very short run. Good luck.

    However, my advice, though perhaps unexpected, is to get yourself to a good counselor, describe what you have done here, and prepare to put in some work on these issues in the interest of improving your competence and character all around. You will be happier and more effective, and what's not to like about that? You deserve it.
  4. by   klone
    Think of a weakness you have had, and what you have done to make up for it. For example, my big weakness is being timely on paperwork and administrative-y tasks. Recognizing that as a weakness I have, I have started keeping "to do lists" every day as reminders of things I need to complete, turn in, whatever.

    For you, you could say that one weakness you have is the in ability to delegate (going back to the "don't like being in charge") - you might say that you sometimes feel like a task might get done faster and better when you do it yourself (which is taking a weakness and putting a bit of a positive spin on it), but that it's a weakness you're consciously working on overcoming and you are trying to do more delegation to CNAs, etc.

    I think that question is more for them to know if you have the ability to accurately self-reflect, recognize things in yourself that can be improved, and then actively work on trying to improve them.
  5. by   sistasoul
    Thank you for your advice GrnTea

    I have been seeing a counselor for a long time and have tried many medications for anxiety- mostly antidepressants. The meds were horrendous and I could not work as nurse due to the side effects of them. Bedside nursing exacerbates my anxiety to the 99th degree. I understand all of what you are saying and I appreciate it but I need advice on how to state my weaknesses so they don't sound so bad. I have been working since I was 11 years old (36 years) and I know the bedside is not good for my health and I know I don't suffer from anxiety like this from any other position I have held in the last 36 years. I know no employer in their right mind would hire me if I said the anxiety of the bedside was my weakness. I am not comfortable with lying and do not have a poker face so I am just looking for some advice.
    Thank you for your concern,
  6. by   netglow
    My advice is to look at your interview in a different way. Who cares what your weaknesses are! It's not about that.

    Here is what ya do. Think. What does a primary care doc need in an RN to help him run his/her practice? What are those things? Figure that out. Your strengths will be those things. Your weaknesses are what you construct to support your strengths. I'd advise you search this site, lotsa stuff about how to answer those questions.

    Remember interviewing is not about you really, it's about the people who have a job to fill. If you turn the interview around too much to being about you - beyond giving them a little taste of who you are professionally, why you are leaving bedside, etc. - you will not get the job. Be frank on your skills, and about what you are looking for. But ask a lot of questions about what your role will be as it could be just about anything - "What are you guys looking for in an RN?" If you meet with an MD, he/she won't ask stupid strength/weakness questions, LOL. That is garbage only nurses ask - and it's foolishness. He/she's gonna want to know you can triage, you can educate, your fast and efficient, you are independent, you can keep pesky whiney patients off their back - DONE!

    Anxiety often elevates when one thinks that others are focused entirely on you. Truth is, the focus is on them and what they want.
  7. by   Alexis33
    You have lots of great ideas that you can use to ace the interview. Don't doubt yourself because you can ace it. One of the things that worked for me was that I found out through small talk that there were things I did that they also enjoyed doing.
    Best to you!
  8. by   nurseladybug12
    When I was asked about weaknesses in my interview, I did not discuss broad general personality characteristics, I kept it about nursing, things that I did not get much experience with as a new nurse-delegating, communication with dr's etc and their response was "Oh, dont worry you will get plenty of practice!" so I would think about what skills you will need to work in an office that you haven't had much experience with that will be easy to train you on.
  9. by   sistasoul
    Thank you to all who have replied. I appreciate it. I have another interview at a primary care practice affiliated with my hospital this Wednesday. All wonderful replies.