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The Importance of a Firm Handshake at an interview

Nobody likes a limp handshake

The Importance of a Firm Handshake at an interview

By James Ball | Jan 7, 2013

Recent research from an American university showed that a firm handshake is what really matters when it comes to impressing a potential employer at an interview.

You may look a million dollars and know that the CEO’s cat is called Ozzy Pawsbourne, but a limp, ‘wet fish’ handshake could undermine all your hard work.

For the test, 98 undergraduates took part in mock interviews with businesses.  Each were then graded on their overall performance, and also given a handshake rating based on grip, strength, duration, vigor and eye contact.

Professor Greg Stewart, from the University of Iowa, who led the study, said that those who scored highly with the handshake raters were also considered to be the most hirable by the interviewers.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those that didn’t impress were the students with the limp handshake who were perceived as timid and having less than gregarious personalities.

Professor Stewart said: “We’ve always heard that interviewers make up their mind about a person in the first two or three minutes of an interview.

“But we found that the first impression begins with a handshake and that sets the tone for the rest of the interview.

“We don’t consciously remember a person’s handshake but it is one of the first non-verbal clues we get about the person’s overall personality, and that impression is what we remember.”

The raters shook hands while greeting each participant, either before or after the interview, so both interviewees and interviewers were unaware that handshakes were being evaluated.

A firm handshake is just one important element of non-verbal communication that could mean the difference between success and failure in a job interview.

To understand the role that body language plays in recruitment, we have put together a free eGuide that you can download below.

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Thanks for reading and should you require any further assistance in your recruitment process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team here, or you can join the LinkedIn Coburg Banks Sales and Marketing Knowledge Network here.

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