Do Not Give This Answer to “What’s Your Weakness?” in an Interview
You really, really want the job. You know you’d be perfect for the position, if only they’d give you a chance!
But first the interview.
Your stomach’s churning just thinking about how to answer the “What’s your weakness?” nursing interview question. It IS a nerve-wracking question, but it doesn’t have to be if you’re prepared. In fact, it is a golden opportunity!
Good news! By the end of this post, you’ll be able to confidently answer the “What’s your weakness?” nursing interview question as well as know the answer not to give.
They Don’t Want to Know Your Weakness
The first thing to understand is- they don’t really want the truth!
They definitely don’t want to know your personal weaknesses (you binge on ice cream, you’re insecure, you get jealous). You won’t get points for candidly coming clean and telling them you forget your mother’s birthday.
It’s designed to see if you demonstrate self-awareness and are willing to adapt.
The manner in which you answer the question is telling. It isn’t about confessing your weaknesses, exposing yourself, and being vulnerable. It’s about demonstrating confidence, honesty and composure when asked a difficult Behavioral Interview Question.
Think of it as a great opportunity for you to shine and nail the interview! Using the guidelines below, you stay in control the entire time.
Do Not Give This Answer to “What’s Your Weakness?”
Specifically, do not say “I’m a perfectionist” only because it’s been overused as an example and you will come off as having googled your answer. Which, of course, you did, but they don’t need to know that.
By the same token, avoid “I work too hard.” Or “I’m a workaholic.” Just no.
Principles for Talking About a Negative
Then how should you answer this question?
Don’t dwell on the negative
No more than a third of your words should be spent on describing your weakness. A brief, matter-of-fact statement is best. Don’t repeat yourself and don’t go into detail.
When they think about you, you want them to have positive associations.
End on a positive note
- Frame your weakness as an opportunity you’ve identified for professional improvement and growth (self-awareness)
- Give an example of what action steps you’ve taken (positive)
- Describe the progress you’ve made in a story or example (positive)
In this way, you have skillfully turned a negative into a positive while still owning it.
What’s your greatest weakness: choosing yours
When choosing your weakness, pick something work-related and fixable.
Make sure that it’s not something critical to the job, but that it is something germane to the job.
For example, don’t say “I struggle with math calculations” because you are going to be passing medications and your aptitude and safety will be brought into question.
Don’t say “I’m no good with Power Point” because this is not a skill for a bedside nurse. It will be seen as chickening out or skirting the question.
Your goal is to present a genuine weakness that does not damage your potential for the position but also does not come across as unrealistic or staged.
What’s your greatest weakness? answer examples
“English is my second language. I read and write well, but I want to be more comfortable with idiomatic English. I’m taking an English as Second Language course at the community college.”
” I don’t always delegate as much as I should, because I always want to do everything myself! I’ve come to see that delegating is important in order to work as a team and get everything done. Every shift on my last rotation, I made it a point to delegate more each day. It’s still out of my comfort zone, but I’m improving daily.”
“I’m working on my time management skills. I’m learning to batch my duties whenever possible, and to carry enough needed supplies with me. When I anticipate what my patients might need, I’m better prepared and save time.”
Here’s the extremely popular post Top Interview Questions– a must read for anyone interviewing.
Note that none of the examples above used the word “weakness” when answering “What’s your greatest weakness?” Focus on the positive.
Be prepared with two answers, as they may ask “What are your greatest weaknesses (plural)?” You want to sound honest and authentic, not over-rehearsed.
Good luck, friend! Feel more comfortable with how to answer the “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?” nursing interview question?
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Until next time friend,
Come visit me at Ask Nurse Beth career column at allnurses.com for all kinds of entertaining and informative career questions and answers, and to submit your own question