How to Answer "What's Your Greatest Weakness?"

You got the call and you have an interview set up for your dream job! Congrats! Yay!...But...wait. Now you have to prepare for the interview. Here's one question that trips up a lot of candidates, but is one you can nail if you are prepared. Nurses Career Support Knowledge

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You are reading page 2 of How to Answer "What's Your Greatest Weakness?"

FloridaBeagle

217 Posts

Specializes in Peds, Neuro, Orthopedics.

I'm having a hard time coming up with honest answers to this one. The truth is that I'm quiet and not much of a chit-chatter. I'm trying to think of how to spin that in a positive way, but in these days of patient satisfaction scores, I'm thinking no one wants to hire a someone like me. I've googled some answers I can give, but they'd be lies. Any ideas?

mirandaaa

588 Posts

Specializes in PCT, RN.
Beagle62 said:
I'm having a hard time coming up with honest answers to this one. The truth is that I'm quiet and not much of a chit-chatter. I'm trying to think of how to spin that in a positive way, but in these days of patient satisfaction scores, I'm thinking no one wants to hire a someone like me. I've googled some answers I can give, but they'd be lies. Any ideas?

Just say that you're quiet and aren't big into participating in small-talk but that makes you an excellent listener and cuts down on time you spend talking, which gives you more time to get your work done.

IMO!

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab.

That is what I told my wife when she was interviewing. You have to take your weakness and put a positive spin on it. You first have to have some humility and admit you know your flaws, but more important what are you doing to fix it. I don't care if you have something wrong, we all do, but what are you doing to better yourself after your self realization.

Mindylane

334 Posts

I, unlike many of my nursing peers, do not have a type-A personality. I'm more reserved, and some people might interpret this as a lack of confidence. But that has given me the opportunity to be a good listener for my patients and has allowed me to hone in on my assessment skills since I am always listening rather than speaking (I used this at an interview and got the job. And it's 100% true).

Postpartum RN

253 Posts

Specializes in Postpartum, Med Surg, Home Health.

This is a great post, thanks everyone

berttravels

17 Posts

I just interviewed last week and was really struggling with this question, knowing that they would ask me. Of course I wanted to be honest as well. I do think they are just looking for self reflection. I ended up saying that I have a tendency to allow more experienced staff to talk down to me. I learned that I can pull the staff member aside off the unit and tell them I didn't appreciate the way I was being spoken to, and maybe next time they could address me differently. In the end, sometimes the rude person is embarrassed or didn't realize how they were coming off. My interviewer seemed to agree that this was important because we discussed that one person can have the ability to affect the whole vibe on a unit with negativity. Obviously this question is only one question in what was a very long interview, but I was offered the position.

Newbie_RN17

121 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Emergency.

As a new grad, I always said that I knew time management would be a weakness of mine but that I was working on it. It seemed to work well and I was definitely telling the truth!

3**835Y

38 Posts

I always say something to the effect........"My weakness is remembering to explain to the patient/family exactly what I'm doing when I'm providing a procedure. I sometimes forget that whether the task is simple or difficult, not everyone is on the same level as me."

That answers their question, it's quick, and simple. Plus....it makes you look super confident in your abilities and shows you care about the patient/family.

cubs fan

3 Posts

I've been a nurse for 40 years and am amazed that this question still gets asked in the format presented. It's really lame and is one of my marks of a lazy or inexperienced interviewer. Better ways of asking this are in the format of the suggestions you gave, specifically, "What is one thing that you are trying to improve on in your work?" Sounds less threatening.

gonzo1, ASN, RN

1,739 Posts

Specializes in ED, ICU, PSYCH, PP, CEN.

I say that everyday when I get off work I go over my shift and reflect on what went well, and what I could have done better.

Tooimpatient

94 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg.

Here's one I always struggle with, "Tell me about a time you've had a conflict with a coworker". I hate being on the spot and in some interviews I've quickly answered that I get along well with everyone and I am laid back, and honesty haven't had any conflicts. Truth be told though, in my nursing career I've had a conflict with one nurse when I was new, and she really did pick on me. I went to my manager about it and now we work together as a team when needed but we do not speak on a personal level or cut up like I do with the other nurses. But we do get along for work-sake. Would this be a bad response? I never know if they truly want to hear of conflicts or if they're looking to hear that you don't have any because you get along well with others.

MrChicagoRN, RN

2,593 Posts

Specializes in Leadership, Psych, HomeCare, Amb. Care.

Tooimpatient, As a manager, I get suspicious if someone's never had a conflict, or if they can rattle off a grocery list of complaints. If you deny ever having a conflict with anyone, I wonder if you aren't being truthful, or if you let people walk all over you. Your example is excellent.

Its fine to say, "I usually don't have conflicts, but there was this one time..." You addressed it, resolved it, and now you two interact in a professional manner.

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