The Rules of Shaking Hands

Shaking hands is simple, right? You just put your hand out, grab another one, squeeze, and then let go. But, what if you let go too soon? What if you hold on too long? What if you squeeze too hard? When you are preparing for your interview, there’s a good chance you aren’t practicing your hand shake. However, you should know a few common rules of shaking hands.

No matter how many times you have shaken hands, it’s important to know how to give a proper hand shake. After all, it is one of your first impressions, and those are crucial in the job seeking process.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when shaking hands during your interview:

  • Wipe your hands off. There is a good chance that you are going to be nervous before your interview and that may mean having sweaty palms. Wipe your hands off on your pants or in a restroom before your interview.
  • Initiate the shake. If the interviewer doesn’t automatically offer you their hand, you should offer yours. It shows that you take initiative and will result in a good first impression.
  • Smile. Smiling and saying something like, “it’s nice to meet you” can take your interview handshake even further. It’s important to act like you are confident and not nervous.
  • Make eye contact. You may be tempted to look at the handshake as it’s happening, but you need to establish eye contact with the person you are shaking hands with. Doing this helps reinforce that you are confident.
  • Be firm. In the past, it was common to treat handshakes between men and women differently. But, in the 21st century, it’s important to treat everyone equally, and that means the same handshake for all.
  • Avoid aggression. Gripping too hard, holding on too long, or shaking too long can make you seem overly aggressive. It’s ideal to only shake hands for two to three seconds. If you are nervous about holding on too long, take a cue from the interviewer. When you feel them let go, you need to let go.
  • End with a handshake. When your interview is over, you may be ready to claw your way out of the room. But, before you leave, you should shake hands again, refer to the interviewer by name, and thank them. By doing this, you add a personal touch.

That may be a lot to remember right before your big interview. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to be rude or too aggressive. If you forget everything you just read, then follow the interviewer and mirror their actions.

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