Career Tip! The Handshake

It’s Not Complicated but it is Important – So Get it Right

When you are meeting someone in a business setting (at least in the US) for the first time, or seeing a business acquaintance that you haven’t seen for a while, a handshake is expected and appropriate. Despite the fact that it is expected, people on interviews make mistakes with this that, no kidding, can cost them the job.

Here are the basics:

  1. Stand facing that person directly, belly to belly and at a socially normal distance apart.
  2. Offer your whole hand, not just your fingers or just the first part of your hand.
  3. Make eye contact with her/him, and hold it long enough to know what color their eyes are.
  4. Tell them how glad you are to meet them or to see them again.
  5. Apply enough pressure to be firm and not enough to be squeezing. A handshake should not be painful.

If you are not sure what the right amount of pressure is, practice with friends. Believe it or not, even though many of us don’t know how to give a good handshake, we pretty much can all recognize when we are on the receiving end of a lousy one. The two worst handshakes – the limp dead fish variety or the bone crusher. They often, but not always, break down along gender lines. Don’t be one of these!

Still have questions or concerns about passing the handshake test? Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation.