A good handshake

Published: 25 Apr 2014 By Julia James

Discussing the importance of a good handshake may feel like old news but many people I meet still don’t shake hands with confidence and this is something that will be noticed by employers. There is no doubt that first impressions count. Along with looking smart and maintaining eye contact a good handshake is integral to the formation of this impression. So why are people neglecting to remember this?

A good handshake is critical for portraying the qualities people look for in an employee. Over the years studies have demonstrated an important relationship between the features of a good handshake (duration, strength, eye contact etc) and a good first impression. A strong, firm handshake suggests you are confident and reliable whilst a weak handshake suggests you are shy, quiet and lacking self assurance. Your handshake must be a confident one!

Here are five top tips on perfecting yours.

1. Sincerity and positivity will get you far. Smile and make eye contact when you shake the employer’s hand, this will convey warmth, trust and openness.

2. Don’t wait for the interviewer to put their hand out to yours, reach out first and introduce yourself. They will appreciate your confidence.

3. Don’t diminish your presence by sitting down, stand up to shake their hand.

4. Shake hands with a firm grasp (without crushing their hand!). Studies have shown an optimum handshake lasts about three seconds, so make sure you don’t hold on for too long.

5. Shake the interviewer’s hand again when saying goodbye and say a few words like ‘it was great meet you’ and ‘thank you for your time’. This will again highlight your confidence.

A good handshake will highlight the qualities you have to be a successful candidate. Employers may well want to shake your hand again, and they’ll need you around for that!

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