Don’t Ruin Your Job Interview With A Bad Handshake

By Gerald Walsh ©

Nothing builds a favourable impression in a job interview like a strong handshake and friendly greeting. The rules of handshakes are well-known but not always followed:

Stand up to greet the person.

Make sure your palm is dry.

Make eye contact and maintain it throughout the greeting.

State an appropriate greeting, such as “Nice to meet you, _____”

Smile comfortably.

Give a firm, confident squeeze.

Hold the handshake for two to three seconds, then let go.

Regrettably, there are many bad handshake types—which can all be deal-breakers when it comes to an interview.

We have the:

Dead fish handshake. Considered the ultimate faux pas in handshaking techniques. When you shake the other person’s hand, it feels as if you are holding a dead fish. Wet, cold, slimy, and limp.

Macho man handshake. Picture Hulk Hogan shaking an opponent’s hand before a big fight. It feels like a vice grip crushing your hand. Usually you have to soak your hand in ice for a few minutes while the pain subsides.

Lover’s handshake. The insincere, two-handed handshake often used by politicians trying to get your vote. It can come across as overly personal and intimate especially when you are meeting someone for the first time.

Dominator handshake. This handshake is often used by bullies in an attempt to demonstrate a sense of superiority. One person (the bully) places their palm downward during a handshake. The other person is forced to place their hand palm up, a submissive position. Usually the bully gives a slight tug toward themselves to finish it off.

Good handshakes are supposed to demonstrate that both parties are on equal ground.

If you want to see really entertaining handshakes, watch this two-minute video.


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Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career. You can follow Gerry on Twitter @@Gerald_Walsh