In most nursing interviews, the interviewer will likely ask about your strengths and weaknesses.
How you answer this question gives them insight into how you view yourself and your job.
So, the way you respond to it is important. Here is a list of ten tips for preparing a great answer about your strengths and weaknesses.
Nursing Interview Questions About Strengths And Weaknesses
Below are the tips to answer the “what is your strength and weakness” question you might get in a nursing interview.
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1. Pick A Strength You Want To Highlight.
Strengths are considered positive character traits, including talents, skills, or knowledge that each person has.
Everyone has many strengths, but you cannot start reciting a list of strengths in an interview.
Choose a strength that aligns with the job description to demonstrate self-awareness and suitability for the role, increasing your chances of excelling.
2. Answer The Question In A Confident But Humble Manner.
Nobody likes a know-it-all. So, you don’t want to appear boastful when you present your strengths.
At the same time, you don’t want to be seen as a person who self-deprecates too much.
Striking a balance to appear confident without going over the top is key when preparing your answer to the question about your strengths and weaknesses.
To do that, you should keep your answer short, name your strength and give an example of when it has worked effectively.
Be aware of your body posture and tone of voice to present yourself as confident and self-aware as you answer.
Preparing your answer ahead of time will prevent you from becoming flustered when asked.
3. Know What Strengths Interviewers Are Looking For.
To choose a strength to discuss, you can choose one derived from three skills considered indispensable in nursing.
- Knowledge-based skills like working knowledge of specific computer programs, excellent clinical competency, and technical ability.
- Transferable skills include organization, problem-solving challenges, staying focused under pressure, and leadership.
- Personal traits like being trustworthy, a team player, hardworking, or dependable.
Once you have identified your strength, pair it with an example of how you used it as a nurse.
“The opportunity to work in an ICU department requires someone with effective stress management skills and the ability to work under pressure.
One of my strengths is assessing critical situations and responding quickly. I can manage stress well and think clearly to maintain efficiency even under pressure.”
4. When You Cannot Recall Your Prepared Answer In The Interview, Fall Back On Your Experience.
Sometimes, even though you prepare for an interview, anxiety may make you forget what you want to say. If that happens to you, the best way to come up with a great answer is to reflect on your experience.
If you have clinical nursing experience, you have a great advantage because you have already faced the challenges of the job and have a great variety of situations that you can use to highlight your strengths.
If you are a newbie looking to start your first nursing job, don’t despair. You already have clinical experience from nursing school. U
se the anecdotal experience of what you learned during clinical and point out that you try to do your best with each patient.
This way, you will let the interviewer know that you know your strengths and limitations and have the right attitude to improve your skills.
5. Pick A Strength That Is Central To The Job And A Weakness That Is Minor.
A good rule of thumb is that when you decide which strength and weakness to highlight when asked, you should always talk about a strength that supports the main function of your position.
At the same time, pick a weakness that will least affect the job you are applying for.
For instance, you could say something like this:
“I am good at communication with patients and medical personnel.
I choose words that patients will understand when I explain the treatment plans, and I use proper medical terminology when communicating with colleagues.
This way, I know everyone understands what I am trying to say. However, I still struggle with computer charting, especially when using unfamiliar software.
Since charting is an integral part of my job, I am committed to improving my computer skills by taking online courses to teach myself how to use the newer software.”
6. Discussing Your Weaknesses
It is not easy to own up to your shortcomings. Yet, nobody is perfect, and that goes for nurses too.
The best way to mention a weakness to your interviewer is to follow it by saying how you are working to overcome it.
By mentioning that you are doing something to overcome your flaw, you show the interviewer that you are committed to growing professionally and will make a great candidate for the job.
After all, weaknesses are growth opportunities.
7. Don’t Ruin Your Chances Of Getting The Job
Some things should be left unsaid.
So, when you are asked to describe your weaknesses, try to avoid saying something like, “I don’t have very good time management skills, so I tend to come late for every shift.”
Even if that is the case, try to add something positive to that statement. Usually, something that you are doing to overcome this weakness.
For instance, you can say that you are working on improving your time management by setting your watch and the alarm clock at home 15 minutes early to ensure you arrive at work on time.
8. Avoid Criticizing Yourself.
The interviewer is not asking you to name your weakness to expose you as a bad nurse. The aim is to assess whether you can self-reflect and how you act under pressure.
Don’t talk badly about yourself or ramble when explaining your weakness.
Prepare to answer this question beforehand and let the interviewer know how you are working to overcome your shortcomings.
9. Be Authentic In Your Answer.
Some nurses want to make a good impression during the interview and concentrate on saying what they think the interviewer wants to hear instead of stating the truth.
If you feel that your strength is too insignificant and your weakness too overwhelming, avoid saying things that appear impressive but do not reflect your true self.
Even if you feel you don’t possess any strengths that will be useful to highlight, stay authentic in your answer. If you are a good listener, for example, stating that will be more beneficial for your career rather than pretending that you know how to insert a central line or intubate a patient.
10. Let The Interviewer Know How Your Strength Or Weakness Relates To Your Job.
Explain to the interviewer how your strength or weakness makes you a nurse who can provide excellent patient care.
Don’t just say, “I think my strength is my compassion and empathy for others.”
Elaborate by adding, “The compassion I feel for others helps me provide excellent patient care because I understand what my patients are going through.”
Every nurse needs to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
In the interview setting, try to overcome your natural anxiety when faced with this question by preparing well beforehand.
Ensure you highlight all the steps you have taken to rectify your shortcomings when discussing your weaknesses, and don’t over-embellish your strengths.
Staying authentic will make a positive impression on the interviewer.