2 Questions I Wasn't Expecting


two months ago, i had an interview for an rn job that i did ultimately get and accepted. i just remembered two questions that i had not before seen in the lists of usual interview questions, and i thought i'd share them here:

1. tell me about a time you disagreed with something your boss wanted you to do.

i was caught off guard by this one, because it was something i was worried would come up, as i previously left a teaching job because of this. i was worried, because i thought the right answer was, "i would ask for clarification, blah, blah, team player, blah, blah..." and, in reality, i ultimately did not agree to what my boss wanted and actually left in the middle of the year (we did not have contracts). i thought i was sunk, because the interviewer would undoubtedly be looking for a team player, and i didn't want to be counted out immediately. so i took a deep breath, and was honest. good idea. she said that she always gets the clarification, blah, blah, blah answer, and she wanted to know that i would be willing to advocate and speak up for my patients because i may be the only one in their health care team willing to do so. whew. lesson learned: don't be afraid to tell the truth, even if you think it will lose the chance for the job. if there was a conflict in your past, and you felt strongly enough to step out or leave the previous job or refuse to agree to something, then explain why you felt the way you did, and what you ultimately did because of it.

2. tell me when it's okay to call in sick.

obviously, she was asking me this because it's been an issue on her floor, but it wasn't a question i had a prepared answer for. needless to say, she wasn't looking for the nclex infection control standards, she wanted to know if i was going to drive her nuts calling in every time i had the sniffles in order to "protect the patients". not a question requiring rocket science to answer, but nevertheless, one i wasn't expecting.

of course, i got the other usual questions, mostly scenarios. not a single, "tell me about your strengths and weaknesses". and when it came to the peer interview, i asked what kind of a climate was on the floor, and how she was to work for. after a month on the floor, i still love it, and she's a great boss to work for!

good luck on your interviews!!!!


54 Posts

Thanks for sharing this! Great food for thought. I have an interview on Tuesday...who knows...maybe one of these will come up! Congratulations on finding a job you are happy with!


1,917 Posts

I hate that kind of stuff. I particularly hate the question "What's your weakness?" I know I have them but my mind ALWAYS goes blank.

Editorial Team / Moderator

Lunah, MSN, RN

33 Articles; 13,748 Posts

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 15 years experience.

There ya go. "My weakness is that my mind goes blank when I am asked that question." :)


1,917 Posts

There ya go. "My weakness is that my mind goes blank when I am asked that question." :)

Why yes, you are correct! :D

Specializes in Vascular Access, Infusion Therapy.

1. Tell me about a time you disagreed with something your boss wanted you to do.

I have had this question several times. I usually relate a simple, small potatoes story about wanting xxx brand IV catheter or having xxx supply. "I voiced my opinion to her, and deferred to her decision. It is her responsibility to make those decisions and I respect that."

2. Tell me when it's okay to call in sick.

"Whatever the facilities policy says. Some facilities do not want employees with resp illnesses to work, I will respect that. Personally I do not like to call in sick because I know that I hate it when others do it. Calling off is one of my pet peeves."


193 Posts

Asystole, I am sure that your answers were fine. I was just telling the story because she said that my answer to this question was one of the ones that got me the job. I would respectfully add that if you are always answering the same way to the same questions without luck, perhaps consider changing it up a bit. Afterwards, we talked, and the answers she was looking for were NOT the answers you might always expect. I guess that was my point with this post.

Her point on the first question was that it was something I wasn't willing to back down on, and she was glad, because it showed that I have the passion to stand up for what I believe in. She said that this meant I would be willing to stand up to physicians, etc... in order to advocate for my patient. She said specifically that people always relate insignificant stories, and that she was looking for how I truly react in an important situation. Of course, this was just my experience.