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By Polina Opelbaum

The Q&A Team: Get a Grip on Your Handshake

Dear Q&A Team,

I am going on an interview next week, and I would like to strengthen my handshake. When should I shake my interviewer’s hand? What are the different types of handshakes? Any tips for improving my handshake?

Shaky Skill


Dear Shaky Skill,

Have no fear! By the end of this post you will have learned everything you need about the handshake. Here are three ProfNet Connect experts who will help you impress your interviewer next week:

Importance of a Handshake

“A good handshake is vital and can often times make or break your chances at securing a job opportunity, a perspective client or an important business connection,” explains Crystal Rockwood, authorized trainer in the latest standards of business etiquette by the Emily Post Institute. “The handshake is part of the first impression that you make and can often times reflect your personality, confidence level and character.”

Rockwood added to the list with some other handshake types:

Finger Grab Handshake - This handshake shows you’re not committed; disinterested.


Tight, Squeeze Handshake - These actually cause pain as in bone crunching, shows trying to prove something.


No Eye Contact Shake - Demonstrates lack of confidence, genuineness, possible concern for others.


Hug   Handshake - When you meet   someone for the first time, this is a big no-no. It shows that you are unaware of someone’s personal boundaries and lack of social skills


Firm Shake With Eye Contact- This   handshake shows confidence, professionalism and poise.


 LisaMarie Luccioni, communication professor at College of Arts & Sciences, agrees with Rockwood. She says, “Everything communicates, especially a handshake during first impression formation (job interview).”

Luccioni continues to explain the importance of the handshake by providing a study conducted by The University of Alabama. Here are the positive and negative associations affiliated with a handshake done right or wrong: 1) a man's weak grip: anxious and shy; 2) a man's firm grip: extroverted and self-assured; 3) a woman's weak grip: introverted and insecure; 4) a woman's firm grip: confident and assured.

Dana Manciagli, global career expert, reminds us that there are other “defining gestures” besides the handshake that influences the first impression of a candidate. She says, “Others include the smile, eye contact and posture.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Published August 2013