Whats in a handshake?

Posted in: Graduate Jobs, Internships, Interviews

You might think a handshake is straightforward – you clasp, shake, release – what could possibly go wrong? Well, here are five types of common handshakes you might want to avoid in an interview:

  • The floppy fish: nerves can play havoc with the best of us and sadly for some this can result in sweaty and clammy palms. The best thing to do is to use the washroom before hand and to wash your hands using cold water. The other alternative is to subtly wipe your palm on your clothes to dry them a bit. A clammy palm says you are nervous which isn't the message you want to be giving.
  • The bone crushing grip: don't take the idea of a 'firm' handshake into palm crushing vice like grip! Research by Businessballs.com found that an overly firm grip could indicate a bullying nature. The best thing to do is to practice with friends, if they wince when you shake their hand then tone it down.
  • The water pump: top marks for enthusiasm but you don't want to give your interviewer whiplash or dislocate their arm. Interviews are all about first impressions and over shaking someone’s hand isn't the most positive of starts.
  • The lingerer: handshakes aren't just about pressure – duration is important too. A handshake that goes on for too long can become uncomfortable and make the other person feel awkward.
  • The finger tickler: Just pinching the interviewers fingers or touching their palm with yours is an inadequate handshake and could make you seem rude. If your reluctance to shake hands is as a result of religious or cultural reasons, then be upfront and explain your reasons from the start. This way you'll manage any awkwardness on both sides.

I think this video by Snagajob is really useful!

Posted in: Graduate Jobs, Internships, Interviews


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