Mastering the perfect handshake

Interviewers usually make up their mind about the selected candidate within the first couple of minutes of the interview, however long the particular interview lasts. We believe that the first impression begins with a handshake and sets the tone for the rest of the interview.

Here are 8 tried and tested techniques to remember for having the perfect handshake for that dreaded interview!

  1. Aim for a firm handshake, but not bone crushing. A weak handshake exemplifies a lack of interest or indicates weakness. If you lack all firmness, it tells the other person you don’t care.
  2. Avoid using the “finger tips” handshake, make sure to use palm to palm contact.
  3. Shake up and down. You wouldn’t think people would need this next bit of advice, but—news flash—the motion of a handshake is up and down. In business we shake plenty of hands and it’s surprising how many times we get a left-right sideways handshake. Left-right handshakes can get quiet awkward, so please try and avoid this!
  4. Shake the hand three or four times — no more. Over shaking someone’s hand feels odd to the other person and can get quiet awkward!
  5. Make sure you make eye contacting with the other person. If you don’t do that, it doesn’t matter how firm and confident your handshake is. Lack of eye contact gives a powerful nonverbal clue, one that will set a negative tone for the interview. Here’s a tip: when you first shake hands try to figure out the color of the person’s eyes. That way you will make eye contact, guaranteed!
  6. Know when to initiate the handshake. The person in a higher position of authority or age should be the first one to extend their hand. For example, if you are interviewing for a job, the interviewer should be the one to take the lead.
  7. An ideal handshake should last 2-5 seconds. Most people prefer shorter handshakes. Ensure to follow the lead of the other person, particularly if he or she is in a superior position to you in business or social position. If the other person continues holding onto your hand longer than five seconds, politely move your hand away. Ensure to keep eye contact and a pleasant expression afterward to maintain a positive interaction.
  8. Be aware of your other hand! Most people use their right hands unless they have a reason to use their left. Your left hand should always be visible and relaxed. Ensure your left hand is not in your pocket because this appears defensive.

Take the above advice in your next interview, make sure to follow the techniques and let us know how your upcoming interviews go! Remember it’s not always about what you say in an interview, it’s also about how you come across to the other person.  The handshake is the perfect way to make a great first impression!