The Importance Behind the Handshake

We all know how important first impressions are, especially on an interview. When walking out the door for an interview, we check our clothes for lint, fix our hair and practice that winning smile. Something we don’t think about too often though, is what happens as the interviewer is taking that first look at us. Usually, we are shaking their hand.

From the moment you meet the interviewer, they are assessing your appearance and body language to determine if you are a good fit for the company. A weak handshake can be just as harmful to your successful interview as having dyed green hair or a dirty shirt. Your handshake is the interviewers first glimpse at your personality and can set the tone for the rest of the interview. Think of it as your first opportunity to seal the deal.

A couple tips for a good handshake:

  • Stand up to shake the interviewers hand if you are already seated.
  • Confidently walk up to the interviewer with your head level and your hands at your side. Make sure you keep your hands out of your pockets. People don’t trust people with hands in their pockets.
  • Smile. And smile like you mean it. If you are over doing it the interviewer will feel like you are faking it.
  • Make good eye contact so that the interview feels they can trust you. Don’t stare at them but don’t look at your shoes or over their shoulder. Making eye contact as you approach lets the interviewer know you want to engage with with them.
  • If your hands are sweaty, try to wipe them on something before you shake hands.
  • Make sure you are shaking their right hand with your right hand.
  • The pressure you are applying to the interviewers hand should be equal or slightly more than the pressure you are given.
  • The handshake should be under 10 seconds, three-five shakes up and down.

Just like everything else, practice makes perfect. Practice on everyone you meet. Plus, you never know if the next person you meet will be a future boss or coworker…but that’s a different story for a different blog…Happy Handshaking!

-Aliza H.

Career Development

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