To shake or not to shake?

{ Dear Cookbook, In business school they taught us a good firm handshake is the way to go. But recently I read that you aren’t suppose to shake the interviewer’s hand anymore and I’m confused! It is proper or improper to shake an interviewer’s hand? Thanks, Nina }

Should you, or shouldn’t you shake the interviewer’s hand? Well, do you want the job? Because if you do, then you better not just ‘business school handshake’ an interviewer’s hand! And here’s why:

Handshaking is a sign of respect. It’s also a sign that you look up to that person. Now, this is great and all, and your ‘business school handshake’ might have even worked 40 years ago, but this is 2012! You need to show ’em you are better than they are. Anyone can hire someone sub-par with a business school handshake. But who wants to do that? You’ve got to be a superstar! And that’s why I’m sharing my three best handshake techniques with you.

Shake #1: The greasy palm (for the physically weak). For this approach, you don’t have to have super strength; you just need to be smart about it. Make sure you ‘lotion up’ before the interview. I prefer anything with oil or Vaseline; the oilier the better. Next, you need to make sure that the interviewer can’t get a good grip on your hand. Having ‘extra’ lotion on your hand will make the interviewer uncomfortable and cause them to pull away from the handshake first. Once this happens, you’re in – the job is in the bag. Make sure you follow-up the ‘handshake’ with a smirk and disapproving glare. It also doesn’t hurt to mention how dry their hands felt and suggest a good hand cream.

Shake #2: The Strong Man or Ma’am. This technique is about grip strength. He or she who squeezes the hardest gets the job. And don’t worry about how physically weak the interviewer looks. So what if you maim them? The longer they’re in pain, the better you look. Months down the line when they’re still in a cast from the experience, they will laugh and wave to you with admiration and respect. They’ll tell their friends you were the one who bested them. You’ll be an office legend, plus you’ll be setting a great example for future generations of job seekers.

Shake #3: The psych out. Nothing shows ’em who is boss like the ‘will you or won’t you’ of handshakes. You move in for the shake and at the last-minute, act like you were just going to run your hand through your hair. And don’t forget, you can do it more than once! The first time it’s funny, the second, third and forth time, you’re reminding the interviewer how much they want to shake your hand, but can’t because you’re faster than they are. It’s your speed and prowess, which makes this all the more impressive.

Are you thinking about using some of this advice on your next interview?  Before you do, let’s take a gander at Jobless Johnny and Hireable Hank’s results:

Jobless Johnny has spent many hours practicing his handshakes, and has come to the conclusion that his handshake of choice is the ‘Psych Out.’

Hireable Hank will certainly be practicing these silly handshakes on his friends, but he knows none of them are appropriate for a job interview. He realizes that the best job interview handshake happens when you use a firm (not too weak/not too strong) grip and look the interviewer in the eyes with respect.



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