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How to Give a Proper Handshake - 5 Steps

Updated on March 22, 2013

Create the Perfect Professional Impression in Seconds

In a job interview, your first few seconds are critical to impress your prospective employer that you are the right person for the job.

A firm, proper handshake indicates that you know business and gives the impression that you are honest, upfront, and in command. Here is a simple, step-by-step method to giving a great handshake:

1) Take the initiative, if its appropriate. As a rule of thumb, whomever's name is said first should stick out their hand.

Example 1: 'John, meet Sharon.' - John holds out his hand first

Example 2: "Hi, I'm Sharon Kennady.' - Sharon holds out her hand first.

When in doubt hold out your hand. Almost no one refuses a handshake (although in flu season, it does happen.)

2) Keep your hand vertical, not palm down, which forces them to come at you palm up. Go in until the webs of your thumb and pointer finger match up solidly.

3) Squeeze firmly. What's 'firmly'? About as much force as you would use to open a difficult jar in the kitchen, or as tightly as you grip the bottom hand on your golf club.

4) Pump once then release. Don't continue shaking hands while you carry on conversation, unless you're a politician and someone is trying to take your picture - its awkward. A single shake up and down suffices.

5) Look the other person in the eyes. The most important part! Look directly at them as though it's the most important thing in the world at that moment that you're greeting them. Give them the impression that even if a nuclear bomb went off outside, you still would be more interested in meeting them.

Shaking hands isn't difficult, but its your first and best step in a job interview to demonstrate that you're a confident, mature, and reliable professional.


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