The importance of a handshake is much more than you can imagine. While a handshake is a nonverbal form of communication, don’t be fooled by thinking “it” doesn’t speak volumes about the person shaking hands.
Having a good handshake can mean the difference between getting the job or not. Decisions are made about our personality and character based on a handshake all the time, which is why it is so important that YOU master the art of handshaking.
No matter how well prepared you are for the interview, if your handshake is bad, your first impression will take a hit. But the right handshake will do far more for you than designer clothes ever could. So save your money and learn a bit more about the art of handshaking.
Four Types of Handshakes To Avoid
Don’t lose points with someone you are trying to impress before opening your mouth!
The Wimpy Noodle: This one is particularly common among women, but it’s perhaps the worst—a limp, lifeless hand extended and just barely shaken. It’s the type of handshake that can ruin a meeting before it even begins.
The Hand Crusher: This grip can actually make the other person wince in pain. Some have been taught that the stronger their grip, the more seriously they will be taken—and they clamp down as if their life depended on it. Be careful of your own strength.
The Alpha: In this case, the hand is extended palm down—seems subtle, but it conveys the intention of having the upper hand in the interaction.
The Double-Handed Clench: The classic two-handed handshake (also known as The Politician’s Handshake)—when you feel your partner’s left hand closing in on your right hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, or neck. The only time this is OK is when the person you’re meeting is already a good friend (and even then I’d reserve it for those times when you want to convey special warmth).
The Steps to a Good Handshake
Follow these steps to learn the key ingredients of a gold-star handshake.
- Be Prepared
When meeting people, keep your right hand free. Shift anything you’re holding to your left hand well in advance—you don’t want to have to fumble at the last moment.
- Consider Your Body Language
If you’re seated, always rise before shaking someone’s hand. If you’re standing, keep your hands out of your pockets—visible hands make you look more open and honest.
Face the person and make sure to use plenty of eye contact, and smile warmly.
- Get in Position
Angle your thumb straight up to the ceiling when reaching to shake a hand. Open wide the space between your thumb and index finger.
- Make Contact
Give a hug with your hand.
- Shake It
Shake from the elbow, not the wrist.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice with friends or family before a job interview or networking event.
A Fortune 500 CEO once said that when he had to choose between two candidates with similar qualifications, he gave the position to the candidate with the better handshake. Make sure you have the best handshake possible.
Check out the great information about handshakes in the infographic below:
Need some help?
Call your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider at Career Find and schedule a meeting to differentiate yourself from other applicants as you move forward with your job search.