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Nursing Interview Questions and Answers: How to Answer Strengths and Weakness Question

how to answer nurse interview strengths and weakness question

By Moira K. McGhee, Contributor

Studying lists of nursing interview questions and answers allows you to formulate your responses before an interview and be better prepared for tough questions. Two common nurse interview questions that are the most difficult to answer involve your strengths and weaknesses. Potential employers use questions about your strengths and weaknesses to learn more about your character and qualifications. While there isn’t a “right way” to answer these questions, there are wrong ways to answer them you should avoid.

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Nursing interview questions and answers about strengths

When preparing for nurse interview questions about your strengths, focus on your strengths that match the skills listed in the job offer. Avoid using a long list of random skills without any definitive examples of how you put those skills to use. Instead, list three to five of your strongest skills as they relate to the job, and back these skills up with examples that demonstrate how your strength in these areas made a difference in the past. This tells the interviewer what strengths you bring to the table and how you’d potentially use these strengths to make a positive impact in your position.

An example from Registered Nurse: All Guides about RN Schools and Programs uses leadership qualities, an optimistic approach and interpersonal skills as three potential strengths. Their suggested response was a straightforward answer of: “I have outstanding leadership qualities and interpersonal skills, which help me to coordinate well with my colleagues.”

Always use strong, confident words to describe your strengths, but avoid sounding cocky. When phrased correctly, it’s a great opportunity for you to stand out among candidates.

Nursing interview questions and answers about weaknesses

Answering nurse interview questions about your weaknesses is even more difficult. Nobody wants to admit they have weaknesses, but everyone does. Telling an interviewer you don’t have any weaknesses makes you sound conceited and could cause them to question your honesty. They expect you to have flaws; it’s how you answer, not what you answer, that matters. Typically, the interviewer wants to know if you’re self-aware of your flaws, if you’re honest about them and what steps of self-improvement you’ve taken to correct them. Make a list of three areas of weakness in which you know you could use some improvement. Be honest, but don’t mention essential skills.

PracticalNursing.org emphasizes there are several ways to approach the weakness question, including putting a positive spin on it. Do this by stating a weakness you had but have since improved. Their example involved an interviewee who admitted to a previous weakness of not being organized. However, she’d since learned ways to organize her day by developing her own time management system with help from a former co-worker who had admirable time management skills.

Denying you have weaknesses is much worse than owning up to them. Remember, interviewees don’t expect you to be perfect, but they want you to assure them you’re aware of your shortcomings and working to improve them.

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