on every interview i go i have problem with this question cause i feel like this question can break or make your chance of getting hired. any advice on how to approach it
Mar 8, '07
Oooh, I love that question. I usually flip it around & say something like "I've been accused of being too nice or too detailed, but I AM a nurse & consider those things a strength."
Mar 11, '07
I say my weakness as a new nurse is time management, but seasoned nurses tell me that time management is a skill that improves with experience.
Mar 11, '07
I usually try to give something that is a true weakness but that I am taking concrete steps to improve.
Mar 11, '07
As a person who likes to ask that question when I interview folks ...
I think EricEnfermero and WeeBabyRN gave great answers. They are realistic and show an honest self-appraisal -- and an awareness by the applicant that they will have to work to improve it. That's what the interviewer is looking for. The interviewer wants to see that the applicant has honest and realistically appraised their own performance and takes responsibility for improving.
Answers that sound fake ... or rehearsed ... are terrible answers. They suggest that the applicant is either unable to honestly assess themselves or not willing to be honest about thier true level of ability or unable to take responsibility for their own development. In other words, those standard fake answers show that the applicant is avoiding the truth -- and no one wants to hire someone who avoids the truth.
I think answers such as, "I am a perfectionist" "I am too nice" are terrible answers for the reasons I discussed above. The exception to that is when it actually DOES cause problems for the applicant. So, when a person gives me an answer like that, I usually probe it further by asking detailed follow-up questions such as, "How has that weakness hurt your practice?" "Can you give me a specific example in which that has been a problem." "How has that caused problems for you?" "What specific steps are you taking to address that problem?" etc. If a person can't give me a good answer to those types of follow-up questions, then I know they are just giving me a bullsh** answer to my serious question about their weaknesses. Giving a bullsh** answer to a legitimate serious question makes a very bad impression.
I often modify the question by asking them about their "learning needs" or asking them to discuss what skills they need to work on now in order to continue their development as a nurse. Most people realize that they should be continually growing, so they can't avoid saying that they have learning/growth needs. That puts pressure on them to be honest about their current level of development. They realize it sounds bad to say that they don't want to keep learning and growing.
So ... my recommendation for how to prepare for such questions is to do an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Then, when you are asked to discuss those weaknesses, frame the discussion in terms of learning needs and growth. Say that you have basic skills in that area of weakness, but that you are working on strengthening them. Such an answer shows that you are honest and that you take responsibility for your continued growth -- without saying that you are incompetent.
Last edit by llg on Mar 11, '07
Mar 19, '07
I hesitate to give away my secret answer to this question the last time I interviewed -but I got the job and kinda want to brag a bit. I'm rather proud of it. My answer was that penmanship was not my strong suit, that i have to be very deliberate about hand charting and that slows me down some and that I was very exited that this new facility used computer charting as that is something I'm very skilled with. It highlighted a true skill weakness, yet not a deal breaker for *this* particular job because they don't paper chart and I was able to show a little sense of humor & creativity (and preparation) to this dreaded question.
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