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  • Writer's pictureAnn Willets

First impressions: the magic of a good handshake

Updated: Oct 18, 2019

When I first meet with someone, especially a candidate, there are a few things I quickly notice, the first being their appearance, but immediately thereafter, it's their handshake. My dad always taught me to look someone straight in the eye and give them a firm handshake. After nearly 35 years in business, I realize he was right...again.

Why? It's all about body language. A firm handshake implies an air of confidence in an individual and indicates their willingness to connect with you. I've had clients tell me that this is one key area where candidates often blow their first impression. A wimpy, "dead fish" handshake leaves people cold. Who wants to have that person representing their organization with potential clients, vendors, etc.? I wouldn't. Yet, surprisingly, some candidates fail to see the importance of a good handshake and often wonder why they didn't ace the interview. Sadly, it's this type of misstep that won't get mentioned when they (or the recruiter) asks for feedback, but it leaves an indelible impression. My advice? Practice your grip!

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