iPrep In Pieces

Handshakes can be very awkward for both parties.  
Handshakes are an important factor in establishing “chemistry”

Why do we shake hands?   Truth or Folklore – You decide

Back in the old, old days, most people were armed with small knifes and daggers for protection.  
When two people met, those having peaceful intentions would hold out their right hands to show that
they weren’t holding a weapon. When both people had extended their right hands, they would then
grip them together until certain the other meant them no harm.

Why do we continue to shake hands today?
I believe that no interview should start or finish without a handshake.  There have been many
psychological research studies which find that brief, non-threatening, physical contact with another
person will improve the likelihood that each will be honest and helpful with each other.  

How to:
Think about these points during a handshake?
  •         timing
  •         eye contact
  •         facial expression
  •         pressure
  •         positioning
  •         number of shakes

Upon meeting wait a moment for the interviewer to extend their hand first.  If they do not extend their
hand, then you should.  Offer your hand while making eye contact and smiling.  A short greeting of a
couple words is appropriate, such as very nice to meet you.  If this is a first meeting and your name
has not yet been mentioned, state you name.  

At the end of the interview, follow the same steps as above but substitute the greeting for a thank

If you are meeting with multiple people, shake everyone’s hand and learn their names by repeating
them as you shake

The proper way to shake hands is placing your hand fully in the palm of the other, palm to palm.  A
firm but not tight or bone-breaking grip demonstrates sincerity.  Many times people will shake
hands with only their fingers and do not return the grip – not good.  

An even more offensive handshake is the one where you shake and release in a semi-forceful
manner – not good.   Etiquette experts say to reserve the forceful handshake for use in situations
where you want to express extreme displeasure.   

If you extend your hand such that your palm is mostly down, that’s viewed as aggressive. Offering a
hand with the palm mostly up is too passive.   Come in from the side.

One to three short pumps of the hand in a not-too-fast manner are appropriate.  At the end of an
interview, two to three short pumps at a very relaxed pace shows your extreme interest and
pleasure from the interview.  No wild arm swings.

Do not touch the other party with your free hand during the handshake – this can be seen as
aggressive behavior.   

Nobody likes gripping a chilly, sweaty or damp hand.  Just prior to an interview, be sure your hands
are clean, warm, and dry.

NO hugs.  If the interviewer initiates a hug, then hug, but make it a quick “handshake” hug.

The confident person walks tall, looks you in the eye, has a firm handshake, and
keeps their body movements to a minimum.

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