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Interview question: Tell us about a mistake you have made...

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AOX4RN has 7 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Emergency Department.

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PchezRN said:
I was in an interview the other day and was asked about a mistake I have made.

Unless they were specific, I wouldn't admit to a job mistake ;)

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NRSKarenRN has 40 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

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everyone makes mistakes ---as i tell my interviewees + remind staff that's why pencils have erasers and computer delete keys created. :)

i use this question often. looking to see if

a. person can express themselves

b. admit mistake + take accountability vs wanting to just hide issue

c. ability to learn and grow from mistake

d. turn negative into a possitive

my thread wondering why you can't get hired or promoted: resume + interview hints! has some good advice on how to answer this type behavioral question.

Edited by NRSKarenRN

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Thank you all so much for your responses.

The response forwhy I left the picu that I got on here was really fantastic so I used it and worded it in a way that came across as really positive. She also asked why I didnt communicate better with my educator. To that, I said that my break from the unit has really given me some time to reflect back upon how I can improve in terms of advocating for myself and allow myself to speak up when I need more assistancce. I ended up having to tell her that I had 15-19 preceptors, although it was hard for my confidence, I learned a lot of different methods of nursing/knowledge from different nurses and how to handle different personality types.

However, the recruiter kept pressing for why I left without shifting departments and left the hospital. I ended up saying that I didnt find another department that I felt would be similar or like what I really wanted to do; but the department I interviewed for was very similar to the disease processes I really loved and thats why I want to be there. I also said that what I considered to be most important as a new nurse is learning, trusting oneself, and gaining the confidence to be independent and that I felt like this hospital does a better job for that (from website).

The recruiter agreed that my previous hospital has a reputation for treating new nurses badly. She emphasized that they are not like that hospital and do not agree with their treatment of new grads/new nurses. She also said that the type of orientation and care that I'd get there would not be similar to my past hospital and said I'd be better suited for them.

In all, I don't think I could have answered those tough questions any better than I did. Even if I don't get this job, I think I did my best. Crossing my fingers for good luck.

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On 8/31/2011 at 3:18 PM, mmm cdiff said:

Sorry, I don't have any advice for you, but I'd also like to ask if anyone knows WHAT an employer is looking for, exactly, when this question is asked. Especially when interviewing new grads who may not have had any opportunity to make a mistake yet. 😕

That's what I was kind of thinking . why are they asking that question . to see if you admit to one or not? They would probably,think

you're lying if you say you,haven't made a mistake.

So I wonder what their reason is for asking that .

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