Why a Handshake Is Important In a Job Interview

Why a Handshake Is Important In a Job Interview

You probably only have one opportunity to impress a hiring manager. And that means that everything you do during your interview matters. If you don't have a strong handshake, your interview could be over before it ever starts. Learn more about the importance of a handshake and find out how you can impress the hiring manager with a simple shake of the hand.

Every Detail Matters

During a job interview, the hiring manager only sees you for a short period of time. In about 30 minutes, the hiring manager needs to dive into your soul and see if you're a good fit for the position.

When someone needs to make such a quick decision, they evaluate everything. Your body language, eye contact, and speech impacts the manager's decision. Only after evaluating all the factors can a hiring manager determine whether or not you're a viable candidate.

So, it should come as no surprise that a hiring manager will scrutinize your handshake. If it's weak, the manager is likely to view you as weak. If it's confident and strong, the manager is more likely to see you as confident and strong. If you haven't already perfected your handshake, now is the time to do it.

The Benefits of a Good Handshake

What exactly does a handshake tell you about someone? There are a few benefits of having a great handshake.

Make a Connection

In a short interview, there's not much of an opportunity to build a connection with a hiring manager. You don't have time for small talk, and the professional setting makes it challenging to form a bond.

Fortunately, a handshake makes it easier to connect with a person. As soon as you shake their hand, you develop an intimate connection. You instantly feel closer with the other person.

In a proper handshake, you make eye contact with the other individual. This is another opportunity to form a bond. The hiring manager won't feel like such a stranger, and it might be easier for them to open up to you.

Smash the First Impression

Typically, the first thing you do during a job interview is shake the interviewer's hand. Because of this, your handshake is your first impression. It's the first thing a hiring manager sees of you and the first thing they judge you on.

Of course, not just any handshake will smash the first impression. You need a good handshake. If you have a firm and solid shake, you're off to an ideal start. This shows the hiring manager that you're capable and confident.

It doesn't matter if you answer every interview question correctly. If you didn't have a strong handshake, the hiring manager will only remember that. It's extremely difficult to overcome a weak handshake at the start of a job interview.

Share Your Personality

The handshake is also an opportunity to express yourself. Because you need to dress professionally for an interview, you don't have a chance to showcase who you really are. Your handshake is one of the best ways to show who you really are.

If you're an extrovert, your handshake will reveal that. Even if you're an introvert, you can still let your handshake do the talking. Smile and give the handshake of a true leader.

Show Respect

Ultimately, a handshake is a sign of respect. You should start and end the interview with a handshake to show the hiring manager that you have respect for them.

With that said, there is an exception to this rule. If the interviewer is sitting far away from you and doesn't seem receptive to a handshake, don't reach out. There are times when interviewers don't want to shake hands.

Demonstrate Confidence

Your resume is all talk. Although you might be extremely successful as an employee, the hiring manager hasn't seen you in action. They don't know if you can truly perform at the level you say you'll perform at.

That's just another reason your handshake matters so much. If your handshake exudes confidence, the hiring manager is more likely to believe that you're successful.

How to Improve Your Handshake

Before your next interview, check out these tips to improving your handshake. You might end up impressing the hiring manager so much that you get a job offer!

Clean Your Hands and Nails

This might seem like an obvious tip, but it's worth mentioning. If you have an interview, keep your hands "handshake ready." Remove any dirt from your nails and use lotion to keep your hands from being too dry.

If you have sweaty hands, wipe them off before you go into the interview. Most importantly, try not to stress about anything. If you're nervous, it'll show in your handshake.

Extend Your Hand at the Right Time

How much do you know about handshake etiquette? You should always wait for the senior person to extend their hand first. During an interview, the hiring manager should make the first move.

When it's time for you to reciprocate, make sure you don't place your palm downward. This is often seen as an insult or aggressive. Typically, you should shake with your right hand. In some cases though, you may need to use your left.

Be Sincere

When you shake hands, do a sincere gesture. This could mean making eye contact, smiling, or nodding. If you're someone who doesn't like eye contact, pick a spot on the interviewer's face and focus on that.

Greet Them By Name

If you did your due diligence, you should know the hiring manager's name. When you shake hands, greet them by their name. You could say something like, "Great to meet you, Beth."

Be sure to use the right name and the proper title when you greet the interviewer. If they go by doctor or another title, use it instead of just their name.

Aim for the Web of the Hand

You might be wondering how to actually go in for the handshake. When you reach towards the other hand, aim for the web between the person's thumb and forefinger. You want palm to palm contact.

Hold their hand for two to four seconds with moderate pressure. Then, go on to have a stellar interview.

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