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.

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