What Do People Answer When Asked, "What Are Your Weaknesses?"

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    Just curious During the interview, what are your responses to, "Tell me about your weakneses?" I've been on both sides numerous times....only two years as a nurse, but over 20 years in various management positions. While the idea is to turn a weakness into a positive, it used to annoy me when people would provide the usual canned responses. When I was asked during my first nursing interview, I said honestly, "I'm a new grad, so just adapting to a staff RN role will take time. An experienced nurse can know what needs to be done almost automatically. But, l learn fast, and I'm always investing time into my learning." Two years later, I'm still there. What about others?
  2. 14 Comments so far...

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    I always say that I'm a bit Type A and that this has caused me to have somewhat unrealistically high expectations for myself and the care that I give at times given the particular circumstances, but that this has helped me throughout my nursing career by causing me to develop excellent time management techniques and an organized way of delivering care (drawing a 12 hr. med grid on my "brain" every shift so that I don't miss any meds, etc.) The feedback that I usually get from this comment from interviewers is, "I think that most nurses are Type A!" and they seem to like it because I have had a lot of job offers over the years.
    AngelicDarkness and jmiraRN like this.
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    Good answer. I think many nurses are Type A, especially if you are applying to Emerg, OR, ICU, or critical care units.
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    I think I was in a unique situation where the managers interviewing me already knew what my weakness was because I worked on the unit as an nurse assistant for 1.5 years. I felt that saying a generic or cheap answer like, "too much of a perfectionist" would have been a bad move. I had to be honest! I think if I were an interviewer I would appreciate if someone mentioned an ACTUAL weakness and what they were trying to do to work on it...
    MommyandRN likes this.
  6. 4
    When asked about my weakness, I readily admit that I can be so task-oriented to the point that I quickly want to accomplish my duties.

    Task orientation is seen as a 'good' negative aspect in nursing because, although it may hinder the nurse from seeing the big picture at times, we all need to be honest and admit that most task-oriented workers get the job done timely.
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    If I were a LTC nurse applying for an acute care job, I would say my biggest weakness would be the obvious lack of acute experience. But then I would quickly point out that my LTC experience could also be an asset. I know how to manage time, being assigned to dozens of patients at once. I know how to deal with demanding family. I am an expert at building team work with the aides. I can perform assessments with virtually no diagnostic back up. I am comfortable with demented geri patients. I can do a lot with a little. Basically turn the question in to an opportunity to highlight what you can bring to the table. (and NOT by saying "I work too hard" or "I bring my work home with me")
    joanna73 likes this.
  8. 1
    Quote from TheCommuter
    When asked about my weakness, I readily admit that I can be so task-oriented to the point that I quickly want to accomplish my duties.Task orientation is seen as a 'good' negative aspect in nursing because, although it may hinder the nurse from seeing the big picture at times, we all need to be honest and admit that most task-oriented workers get the job done timely.
    I like this one. It's sort of a more intelligent variation of that old chestnut "I work too hard".
    TheCommuter likes this.
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    That I'm almost TOO perfect jk

    I talk about lack of experience, being nonconfrontational and having to work to address conflicts directly and right away instead of just ignoring them.

    I wonder if this question is falling out of favor because I haven't been asked it in a while.
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    *9+
    Quote from sarakjp
    I think I was in a unique situation where the managers interviewing me already knew what my weakness was because I worked on the unit as an nurse assistant for 1.5 years. I felt that saying a generic or cheap answer like, "too much of a perfectionist" would have been a bad move. I had to be honest! I think if I were an interviewer I would appreciate if someone mentioned an ACTUAL weakness and what they were trying to do to work on it...
    Yeah...I know for a while the whole "my biggest weakiness is that I am just TOO awesome." thing was in, but I've read a couple articles with hiring managers saying they are sick of those answers and that giving them makes you look like you can't accurately asses yoursef and that you are just coppying the "right" answer out of a book.
    joanna73 and BrandonLPN like this.
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    In my last interview I told them I have the tendency to second-guess myself. In retrospect, I'm not sure I should have told them that. (The 2nd sentence is a joke.) I offered an honest answer, and, in turn, I was offered the job.
    joanna73 and hiddencatRN like this.


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