What Kind of Handshake Was That?

What Kind of Handshake Was ThatHandshakes are important -- especially when it comes to job interviews.


Because they're often the first and the last impression you leave. Also, interviewers believe that how you shake their (and their colleagues') hand says a lot about your personality and character traits.

I'm not sure if that's true.

Nonetheless, it's important to shake an interviewer's hand right -- i.e. in a way that conveys confidence, authority, and trust.

With that in mind...

Here are six ways you do NOT want to shake someone's hand:

#1 -- "The Floppy Dead Fish":

They shake your hand, and it feels like it's dead. Interviewers will assume you're weak and have no personality -- even though it's not true.

#2 -- "The Politician":

Here's where you shouldn't take a leaf out of Bill Clinton's networking book. He's famous for this handshake -- where you clasp both hands around the interviewers own hand, or put your other hand on his lower arm. It comes across as patronizing. Don't do it!

#3 -- "The Misfire":

This is when your hand's don't fit together properly, and it ends up becoming a "finger-shake". It feels just as awkward for the interviewer as it does for you and, even worse, it makes you seem clumsy.

#4 -- "The Bone-Crusher":

It's mostly guys who do this one. In an attempt to appear "alpha" and "dominant", they over-squeeze the interviewers hand. It makes them seem insecure and immature. You won't do this, I'm sure.

#5 -- "The Cling-On":

This happens when someone is over-enthusiastic, and forgets to let go of the interviewer's hand before he or she starts talking. It just seems... strange.

And, by far the worst one:

#6 -- "The WET Fish":

We all get nervous when we're outside our comfort zone. But when you shake the interviewer's hand, and your own hand is wet with perspiration, it makes both parties cringe.

Here's how you shake the interviewer's hand -- in a way that shows them you're confident, trustworthy, authoritative, tactful, and socially intelligent:

First, pay attention to others' body language so that you can anticipate when a handshake is coming up.

When you can "feel" that a handshake is coming, subtly take your hand out of your pocket (if it's in there -- it shouldn't be) and put it behind your back. You can wipe it against the back of your leg without anyone else seeing.

(Alternatively, if you have a few minutes where you're simply waiting, you can run to the bathroom and wash your hands with soap and warm water, and dry well. That helps too.)

Look the interviewer in the eye before you extend your hand.

Then, extend your hand slowly and steadily (not too slowly though), and make sure you clasp their hand firmly, but not too firmly. (Imagine that it's made of glass. You want to grip it tight so you don't drop it, but you don't want to crush it either.)

Finally, pump two or three times, for 3-4 seconds. No more.

Practice this with your friends and family until it's a reflex. Be firm, but not stiff; serious, but friendly; confident, but not arrogant. Learning how to shake the interviewer's hand properly is one of those little things that gives you an edge. You'd be surprised how many candidates don't get this right.

Hope this helps!

Read 500 times Last modified on Monday, 01 July 2019 08:14
Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 80,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.