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Handshakes to Avoid

Touchy feely? It happens to everyone; you meet a perfectly nice person for the first time and offer the universally accepted social gesture to shake their hand. Before you know it you’re unpleasantly affected by the poor hand to hand connection and you’re put off before you’ve even begun talking. The reality of job interviews and first impressions is that everyone is making snap judgements about you. It’s the world we live in and there is so much to learn from that initial handshake.

We meet with so many people every day and have come up with the unawesome foursome that can give awful first impressions:

The “Soggy” Handshake: I think everyone is familiar with a wet or soggy handshake, also known as the wet fish. This is extremely unpleasant and grabbing a sweaty palm isn’t something anyone is keen on doing. It’s understandable if someone is a little warm or nervous, but too often the soggy handshake is paired with an overly tight grip and an elongated shake.

The “Kiss the Ring” Handshake: this is where the person puts their hand out and all they offer for you to shake is their fingers. Most people would rather be met with French fries rather than an advance like this. A person with kind this handshake would seem to believe they’re extremely sophisticated and should be respected from the get-go, but you will most likely be seen as someone who isn’t about to get your hands dirty for the job you’re interviewing for.

The “Mini High-Five” Handshake: in which the person briefly taps your fingers to their fingers in a high-five esque fashion. I’m not too sure what this type of handshake is trying to give off, it just leaves people feeling you don’t have the time to meet with them if you can’t even offer a 6 second palm-to-palm handshake.

The “Power Palm” Handshake: Quite self-explanatory, this handshake is generally coupled with an over exaggerated body motion towards the intended hand to shake. Its sheer power can be overwhelming and can send a number of mixed messages that the recipient would rather not try and ponder.

The initial handshake is only a small part of the interviewing or job application process, however you’re trying to give off a good impression and this starts with a killer hand shake. A great wat to understand how to shake is by mirroring the motion and the handshake of the person extending their hand to you. It’s a bit like dancing, try to emulate your partner without upstaging them. If there is an element of firmness in an opposing handshake, make sure you match it with a relative firmness that is ever so slightly less firm. This shows restraint and respect. Making sure you have an adequate handshake and forgetting about any of the above handshake disciplines will assist in a stronger first impression, which can last a lifetime!


Have a look at some of our other blogs for interview Do’s and Don’ts or just general tips and tricks on smashing a first interview.

Interview questions – things to keep in mind to make sure you are the prepared to the fullest.

There is always room to ask questions toward the end of your interview. Here are some things that are good to, and not to ask. Try to have some questions prepared for your interview, it shows your interest in the role, a bit more about your general character, and suitability for the position.

Don’t ask:

  • What does your company do? – you should already be well researched on this prior to interview, and if possible what your interviewer does.
  • What will my salary be? – this generally negotiated with your recruitment consultant or once offered the position.
  • Will I have to work long hours? – this implies you are a lazy worker.
  • How soon can I take a holiday? – again, you are being interviewed for a job, not to be away on holiday.
  • How quickly could I be considered for a promotion / raise? – you are being considered for a specific role, and not to move on as quickly as possible.
  • What happens if I don’t get along with my boss or co-workers? – this implies you may have had conflict issues in the past, and could then be problematic going forward.
  • Can I arrive early or leave late as long as I get my work done? Can I work from home? – some offices have very flexible hours, however they are generally allowed after a trusting relationship has been built.
  • Do you check social-media accounts? Do you monitor emails or internet usage? – this implies you will be spending a lot of time on personal matters and not focus on getting your work done.
  • What are grounds for termination? – don’t talk about termination before you have even been hired, it can raise some concern that perhaps you have had an issue with this in the past.
  • Would that really be part of my job? – again, this can reflect that you aren’t a team player and willing to go the extra step to get the job done.
  • How did I do? Did I get the Job? – it is unprofessional and puts the interviewer in an uncomfortable situation because they will more than likely still be interviewing other candidates.

Some of those questions would have been obvious not to ask, but try to think about how these questions make you come across to the interviewer.

Here are some examples of good questions to have prepared:

  • What does your ideal candidate look like, and how do I compare? – this can show you are analytical about matching the job description to yourself.
  • Is there anything else I can provide to help you make a decision? Do you have any hesitations with anything on my CV or do you need me to clarify / elaborate on anything? –the interviewer might have forgotten to ask if you have a security clearance, or perhaps know more about your qualifications and saves time trying to chase them up later.
  • Who would I report to / what is the team structure? – this is good to show your interest in how your position works within the wider company.
  • What is the reason for the vacancy and how has the position evolved? Or is it a newly created role and why was it created? – I think this is important if it hasn’t already been addressed because if someone left, I would be curious as to why, and if maybe this job isn’t as great as advertised. Alternatively, they could be growing and shows the business is a great place to work and there is a lot of potential for career progression.
  • What does a typical day look like and what have past employees done to succeed in this role? – this shows you want to have a realistic scope of the role, and your interest to know how to excel in the position.
  • Is there anyone else you would like me to meet with, team members or other management? – this is a good question to ask if you feel the interview has gone exceptionally well, and think you would really benefit from meeting your potential team mates.
  • How do you consider this company compares in the job market against its competitors? – this questions shows you have an interest in the longevity of the company and how they are doing. It more importantly shows you have a bigger interest that just your own job security.
  • How would you describe the company culture? What do you like most about working for this company? – this question shows your interest in being a good fit with the organisation.
  • What is the average tenure? – a question to indicate how other people feel about the company and if people stay for a long time, alternatively if they aren’t able to retain staff for long periods would indicate if they are painting a different picture about the company culture etc.
  • What charities or programs do you support? – if charities and company benefits are important to you, then by all means ask away.
  • Is there anything we haven’t covered that you think is important to know about working here? – a good general closing question.

Don’t ramble off all of these questions but have one or two prepared. Remember to always thank them for their time. They have scheduled time out of their day to meet with you, and it is important to recognize that. A little gratitude goes a long way.

Looking for a new Job? Here are some great reasons why to use a Recruitment Agency.

Recruitment agencies are a great tool to aid you with your job search. Agencies specialise in different industries and job types, so make sure to keep this in mind as you start your search for a career change.

More opportunities – Recruitment agencies have access to a wider variety of roles; many organisations prefer to use a recruitment consultant rather than to go through the process of recruitment themselves. It streamlines the process for companies and candidates alike.

Access – Some companies prefer to remain anonymous when they are hiring so they use an agency to facilitate the process. Recruitment agencies can put you in touch with companies you possibly haven’t heard of, who may be able to offer you a great opportunity.

Time – You need only apply once to have access to several opportunities provided by that agency. Once you are registered with them, each consultant in the agency will have access to your CV. This will save you time by not having to continuously apply to roles advertised by that agency. In fact, they can call you about opportunities before they are advertised.

Types of roles – Contract or temporary work gives you the opportunity to work while you are in between jobs or looking for a permanent role. This is a great place to increase your skills and work experience, to try working in different industries or in different types of positions.

Market insight – Recruitment consultants can offer advice and help you understand what you’re worth. Agencies can tell you what trends are happening in their respective market place should you seek more information.



Insight and preparation – Your consultant can provide you with more insight into the company, the role, the interview, the culture, the environment and much more. These tips will help you not only boost your confidence, but understand how hiring managers see you in an interview. This will give you the best chance at securing the role.

Resume – Consultants offer support and advice on improving your resume and interview techniques. These skill sets will assist you in varying areas of your life as your career path changes and how to best highlight your skill sets.

Relationships – With an agency, your desires are more closely paid attention to, and as your career path changes, they are able to cater to you.

Confidentiality – Your personal contact details and referee details are retained until you give permission to release them.

It is Free – Why wouldn’t you use an agency?

Part-Two: Do’s & Don’ts for an Interview

Quite often we try and remember too many things before walking into a job interview. When you first turn a computer on and try to run too many applications at once, the computer will become overloaded and you’ll be pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL before you know it. Unfortunately, we cannot press those three magic buttons in a job interview when the pressure is on. As a result, we become lost, flustered and in some instances embarrassed about how your dream job interview has unfolded. To avoid all of the above, and more, be sure to remember these crucial interview DON’T’s when you venture through the spotlight to success.


Presentation – Don’t assume your interview isn’t formal, regardless of what stage you are in the interviewing process, whether it’s a first interview, lunch, coffee or labelled as the final chat before you start your new position, it is still used as an opportunity to assess your suitability for the position you have applied for.

Negativity – You should never talk negatively about a previous or current company, manager or position you have worked with or currently working with. Try to find positive aspects of your employment history and focus on these instead. It can ruin your chances making negative comments regarding previous or current employment.

Listen – Don’t take over the interview, you are there to impress your potential employer and talking over and interrupting them is only going to leave a bad impression. You are also there to listen to everything they have to say. Whether they’re asking a question or explaining the role, you should listen accordingly and answer their question directly without babbling.

Questions – Don’t worry if you answer one question badly. You should treat every question during an interview as an individual. If you answered one question poorly but the rest of the interview went smoothly, then chances are that one question won’t make a difference.

Truth – Always answer questions honestly. Explain and describe things about yourself that relate to the position you have applied for. If you don’t have strengths in the required skills, be honest and let your interviewer know that you are willing to learn or work on that specific skill. Follow up with strengths you have in another area that make you a standout candidate.

Time – DON’T be late! If you’re on time, as I said last week, you’re late! People take varying levels of offense to an individual’s punctuality. Cancel out this potential judgement of character by getting there at least half an hour early. You don’t get second chances at making first impressions.

Don’t let past rejections reflect on future offers – finding a new job can be difficult and frustrating but making sure you approach every interview as a new opportunity gives you a better attitude towards the job and greater confidence.

Don’t forget – At the end of the interview ALWAYS send a thank you email to your interviewer. This immediately puts you in front of the other candidates as it shows your appreciation for the opportunity to interview and that you are truly interested in the position on offer.


Origami folds under pressure. You do not. In fact, you are more than suitable for that role and have the skills and determination to succeed at it. Just make sure along the way you avoid doing the dreaded interview DON’T’s. As they say, practice makes perfect. Grab a friend, a family member, or even look at yourself in the mirror. Visualise yourself in that interview room, the more you do it, the better you’ll become. Good luck, but more importantly, good practicing!

Click for Part-One: DO’S of an Interview