If you were raised in the same kind of home as I was, you were probably taught at an early age by your parents that there was only one proper handshake.
You know — the one with a firm grip and just a couple pumps for the shake. I recall my dad telling me not to have a “casper-milk-toast” handshake or else the other person would think less of me…and not respect me.
You’ve probably seen or been witness to many types of handshakes throughout your own life. To name just a few:
- The Well-Pump: Continuous and repeated handshake until you think your arm will dislocate from your shoulder
- The Politician: Grabbing of your hand to shake while clasping the second hand around it as well
- The Royalty: Instead of receiving your hand with the fingers pointed toward you, perpendicular to the ground, a hand is instead offered to you with the tips of the fingers pointed downwards and parallel to the ground – like you’re kissing the ring of the Pope.
- The Wet Fish: A hand is offered to you, but when you do shake it, there is nothing there. The arm and hand remain limp.
- The Vice Grip: The competition to see who can squeeze the other person’s hand the hardest.
- The Incomplete Handshake: Instead of being offered a full hand, you only get several of the fingers to shake?! (my personal favorite).
As the saying goes, “you never get a second chance for a first impression”.
This is never so as important as in a face-to-face job interview – and the handshake is usually what kicks it off. This begs the question, which handshake is the best; which will give you the highest likelihood of success?
My answer to this question might be surprising to you. I think it is the one that creates an absence of difference.
Think about it for a moment. Both sides are sizing each other up, so the last thing we want to do is to do anything that will delay (or even prevent) the flow of engaged communication.
So, if your handshake is different from theirs, it immediately sends the message “I am different than you”! Instead, why not start off your interview on common ground? You can do this by instead of forcing your normal handshake onto the other person, receive their handshake and simply mirror it back to them.
It’s as simple as that. Notice, though – I said simple….not easy. This will take a bit of practice but if you’re willing to put up with the silliness of trying this out on friends and family members, I’m sure you’ll catch on in no time at all.