Do Not Give This Answer to “What’s Your Weakness?” in an Interview

Do Not Give This Answer to “What’s Your Weakness?” in an Interview

Nursing interview preparation and what not to say about your weakness

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 very well can be your 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

You got this!   How to answer “What’s 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.

They want to know that they can count on you to do the job, and to see how you handle yourself.

The manner in which you answer the question is very telling. It’s a test to see if you have insight, how you handle a dilemma/trick question, and if you are honest.


Be Confident

This isn’t about confessing your weaknesses, exposing yourself, and being vulnerable. It’s about gracefully demonstrating self-awareness, confidence, 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. Here’s how:


Don’t 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.

Yes, it’s long been touted to “turn a weakness into a strength” but be careful about being too obvious with that, it’s also turned into a cliche.

  • Don’t dwell on the negative
  • End on a positive note


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.”


More TIPs

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?


Join the conversation in the nursing community today!

Originally posted on on January 13, 2015

About the Author: