Pachter's Pointers:
Business Etiquette Tips & Career Suggestions


Is Your Handshake Affecting Your Career Prospects?

A recent CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers found that an applicant's body language can hurt his or her chances of landing a job. In fact, 26 percent of those surveyed said that a weak handshake would make them less likely to hire someone.

It may sound shocking that having a weak handshake can affect your job prospects, yet people routinely make assumptions about others based on the quality of their handshakes. Be honest. What do you think about someone who gives you a limp handshake? That the person is insecure? A pushover? Uncertain? Would you want someone with a limp handshake working for you?

At this point you may be wondering: Aren't experience, skills, and education more important? Of course, they are crucial. They help you get the interview. But presenting yourself professionally during the interview gets you the job--and an important requirement of a professional demeanor is having an effective handshake.

Not only will a weak handshake affect your hiring possibilities, it can also affect your ability to connect with colleagues, bosses, clients and potential customers.

I was amazed to discover that a fair number of people in my seminars did not shake hands correctly. Follow these guidelines so that your handshake sends the right message about you.

1. Stand. Both men and women need to be standing.

2. Make eye contact.

3. Extend your hand with the thumb up and have thumb joints meet. Put your thumb down and wrap your fingers around the palm of the other person.

4. Your grip should be firm, but not bone-breaking. Two to three pumps are enough.

The handshake is a little thing; it is one of the 601 little things that I discuss in my book When The Little Things Count...And They Always Count. Yet, little things can have big consequences. Remember to make sure you shake hands correctly.


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