You Can’t Go Back And Do This One Over
When you’re seeking that new opportunity, you will meet a lot of people as you network and interview to get your next job. Naturally, you can expect to shake a lot of hands.
A typical handshake only lasts a few seconds and is easily forgettable. Then again, a good handshake will make a lasting and memorable impression.
You have probably experienced a handshake with someone who had a weak grip. Maybe it was your fault that you grasped the other person’s fingers instead of their whole hand. Has someone ever grasped your hand incorrectly or squeezed too hard? What was your impression of that person? Not to strong, is it?
If the average handshake is so easily forgettable, what’s the point of even discussing it?
Well, have you ever had a bad handshake?
Yes. You can remember those pretty well. From dead fish handshakes to finger-crushing ones, they tend to stick around in our memories.
As a job seeker, your handshake is probably the most neglected tool in your networking arsenal.
What’s the big deal?
Almost subliminally, a bad handshake can completely blow that fist and only chance to make a good first impression. After meeting with you, do you want an employer to reflect back on you, thinking “they seemed great, but something was just off about them…”?
Additionally, if an employer makes note of your lousy handshake, it could affect the hiring process in a whole different way. Would an employer really want an employee interacting with customers if they’ve got a clammy grip? Probably not.
What can I do?
The handshake is so simple to do, right? So why does the bad handshake still happen? Don’t let a bad handshake keep you from the job of your dreams. Look out for clammy hands, misplaced grip, and learn how to impress with your handshake.
It can be vital to have and maintain good eye contact during the handshake. This may take a bit of practice if not already a strong point. After all, you will have to take you eye off the ball immediately after you commence the handshake. This dexterity helps built trust and strengthen the relationship right from the start.
Avoid clenching your fist, relax your hands palm down on the tops of your thighs, or keep your relaxed and open hands in your pockets.
You wouldn’t leave for an interview without looking at yourself in the mirror, would you? Practice your handshake right before an interview. A roommate, partner, a parent, anyone who will give you the time of day and an honest opinion can give you practice and feedback on your handshake.
Is that it?
The handshake is not slap or a high-five and it is not an arm-wrenching motion like you’re pumping water from a well.
The perfect handshake is a smooth and swift, confident raising of your hand, which is placed firmly in the palm of your connection’s hand. It requires that you look that person in the eyes, hold a firm, but not too tight, grip and smile.
Stifle your nerves and give a genuine smile with your eyes. When you smile you put the other person at ease, they smile, and you can both relax. This is your chance to connect with the other person. In the next few seconds, you will say something, ask a question, give a compliment, or comment on something you have in common, then release the hand, but hold that connection with the other person in the ensuing conversation.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice your handshake before your next interview. It is the best opportunity to make a solid first impression, and might just be the deciding factor that gets you hired.