Two people meeting over coffee and shaking hands

It’s one of the first and last impressions you’ll leave with an interviewer so it’s time to revisit one of our favourite topics – The Handshake.

Your handshake says a lot about you, it can exude confidence, enthusiasm, anxiety,  honesty… this list goes on. So what’s your handshake saying about you?

The Wet Lettuce: The top of our pet peeves list, the ‘wet lettuce’ grip is a weak, limp grip. Beware the Wet Lettuce, it fails to make a connection and lacks confidence.

The Vice Grip: Also known as the Bone Crusher this grip is the evil twin of the Wet Lettuce. It’s overly strong, crushing the recipients hand. Remember there’s a difference between being firm and cutting off circulation!

The Politican: A favourite of those on the campaign trail, a firm handshake with one hand while they use the other to gentle cup the top of your hand or your forearm. This type of shake is meant to convey sincerity and make a warmer connection. However, so widely regarded as “The Politician” shake, beware of using it.. unless of course you are actually running for office perhaps?

The Power Play: Overly aggressive, the Power Play involves either pulling the other person’s hand towards you to assert control, or even more aggressively – flipping their hand over so their hand is on top once in a grip.

The Sweaty Palms: Feeling a bit nervous? Perhaps it’s just a little humid out today. Either way, wipe your palsm before you shake hands with your interviewer to avoid the dreaded Sweaty Palms handshake.

The Overenthusiastic: A few seconds too long as your hand is held victim to ferocious fist pumping. Maybe you’re excited/nervous/had too much caffeine, either way keep the jitters out of your handshake.

The Finger Shake: Barely a touch, the Finger Shake is the handshake that never was. When someone is going in for a real handshake don’t offer them a few fingers in a fleeting exchange, open your hand and give a real shake.

The Hug: Not a handshake. And not appropriate for an interview. But don’t forget to give these to your loved ones every now and again. Just sayin’.

How to Give a Good Handshake

  1. Always stand up for a handshake. If you are seated and the other person is standing, always get up out of your seat to shake hands.
  2. Make eye contact and have a warm smile. Avoid looking at your hands when they shake, it’s ok, they’ll find each other on their own.
  3. Go in for the landing. Your palm should be open and make contact and your fingers and thumbs should be in a firm yet comfortable grip.
  4. Shake a couple of times while you exchange opening/closing remarks and naturally release your grip.

Things to Remember

  • Clean and dry your hands thoroughly beforehand.
  • Neat trimmed fingernails are a must. Try to avoid loud nail polish for interviews.
  • At close range make sure your breath is fresh and your perfume/cologne isn’t overpowering.