Interview success or failure starts with a handshake


Whether you have a big interview this week or your business etiquette could use some revising, a crash course in handshaking is worth considering. Everyone has received a bad handshake before: You meet a perfectly nice person, you go to shake their hand only to receive a handshake that could be compared to shaking a wet fish. But how often do you stop to think about your own? Are you a bad handshake offender?


Handshaking can be considered as a transfer of your energy, your emotion, your intentions and who you are. You could be transferring potential negative energy to your future boss which is never a good first impression. A handshake can be considered like a relationship as you are only be accountable for your 50%. So you want to carry out that 50% flawlessly, every time.


What to avoid?


1. The power shake
This handshake is a too firmer grip, with finger crunching clasp, often combined with a palm down force. This can be seen as aggressive, dominating and inflexible.


2. Wet fish or clammy shake
This handshake is a combination of a sweaty hand and a limb wrist. It is understandable people can be little bit hot and sweaty when they are nervous, but accompanied with a weak grip or flimsy hand may not be forgivable.


3. The finger shake
This handshake is when a person puts out a dainty hand where all you get to shake is the fingers, or it is when you stick out your hand for someone to shake and all they grasp are your fingers. Any type of finger shake gives the impression you are not going to get on with work or you are too precious.


4. All hands in shake
This handshake occurs when the giver creates a handshake sandwich which is a little over the top when being interviewed.


What is a good handshake?


A good handshake starts with your eyes. Be sure you are actually making eye contact with the other person, not the floor or your shoes. You want to convey a friendly and confident attitude while extending your hand slightly downward with your thumb pointed up. Then slide your hand into theirs so your palms touch, and apply the right amount of comfortable pressure without crushing their hand. Latch onto their hand with your pinky and ring finger to ensure the palms touch.


What to keep in mind?


  • Dry off your sweaty palms
  • Keep your second hand to yourself
  • Do not cup your hand or else your palms won’t touch
  • Don’t smack the other person’s hand
  • Don’t grasp the other person’s hand too tightly


A handshake is a small part of the job application, but it can be an important part of the screening process. A bad handshake has the potential to eliminate a top candidate. So assess your handshake and ensure you put your best shake forward.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.