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How to Handshake

April 6, 2017

A handshake may seem like a simple gesture. But at a job interview, it is very important. It’s the first impression your potential employer will have of you in person. Some people might think a “weak” handshake shows that the person is timid and not very proactive. Some people might think an “aggressive” handshake shows that the person will be rigid and hard to work with.

The problem is that not all people sense touch the same way. What may feel rough or aggressive to one person may feel soft to another. There is no “right” or “wrong” way for you to feel. However, you don’t want to make a negative impression simply because of your sensory differences.

Here are a few rough guidelines about the handshake you give to a potential employer.

Pressure:  Aim for the amount of pressure you use to pick up a glass of water. Too little pressure, and the glass will slip through your hand. Too much pressure and you might break the glass!

Time:  Aim for no more than 1-2 seconds. But let the interviewer take the lead—if he or she continues shaking your hand for a little bit longer than that, don’t pull away suddenly.

Practice:  The best way to work on your handshake is to practice with others and get their feedback. Be sure to practice with several different people. They each may have a different impression of your handshake. So make sure you consider all the feedback you get.

The handshake is the first and last impression you give at a job interview. Learning how to do it well will make you more confident and will ensure you make the best impression possible.

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