A job interview usually begins and ends in the same way – with a handshake.
That’s two opportunities to make a connection with the employer, but what does it really say about you and is it that important to get right?
A firm handshake makes a great first impression, but truth is, it’s only part of the initial first impression. Of course, if your handshake is particularly bad, where the recruiter was basically shaking limp fingers, then it would greatly impact the first (and last) impression. Otherwise, it’s subtle body language that can positively add to the employer’s perception of you.
Should you go in for the handshake first?
Every situation is different, but much of the time, the interviewer may shake your hand on introduction. If they don’t, there’s nothing to stop you from offering a hand when you introduce yourself. Do what feels appropriate at the time and follow the steps below…
There is lots of detailed information online about the ‘perfect’ handshake for a job interview but we prefer to keep it simple.
- Avoid the ‘dead fish’ approach. Remember the limp fingers?
- Aim for palm to palm contact.
- Make eye contact as you shake their hand.
- What are you doing with the hand you are not using to shake? Make sure it’s not in your pocket.
Don’t overthink the handshake, be yourself and just use it as an opportunity to make a good connection with the recruiter.
To feel more confident about it, practice your handshake at networking events and notice how others are doing it. Interestingly, you may notice that more sensitive people like nurses and counselors tend to have a gentler handshake whereas people with high powered jobs tend to have a firmer handshake.
There are many more elements that collectively make up an impression of you during a job interview. The great thing is, all interview skills are learnable and something you can easily start mastering in as little as an hour. You can even gain professional feedback on your answers, eye contact and engagement levels before the real interview thanks to technology and dedicated apps like InterviewFocus.
Want more ways to increase your chances of landing your dream job in 2018?
Visit our Interview Tips section to find out what recruiters are really looking for and what makes them want to offer you a position you will love. It’s not down to luck, you can do this!
Make this your year for your career.