In preparing for a job interview, experts advise paying as much attention to your appearance and demeanor as you do to researching the company and practicing your sales pitch.
You need to watch your hygiene and dress, as well as your body language. You want to appear confident and professional. There is, however, one small action in how you present yourself that you probably don’t pay much attention to – your handshake. Most people don’t. They don’t really regard it as that important.
But recent research has shown that job applicants should give it a lot more attention. In fact, the way you shake hands may be one of the more important things you do in an interview. That’s because many interviewers form a judgement about a job applicant after just a few minutes. And in that time, a person’s appearance and handshake standout as two things that have a huge impact.
In the research, those posing as job candidates were rated according to their handshakes. And those who had the best handshakes were also rated as the best candidates for the job as well. Moreover, there was a higher correlation between handshakes and job readiness than between dress and physical appearance and getting the job.
So, believe it or not, it appears that a simple handshake can be one of the most important factors in the hiring decision.
But this becomes less surprising when you see all of the biases that hiring managers have to a weak handshake. When hiring managers gets a weak handshake from a man, they often jump to the conclusion that the person is a timid or cowardly type, someone who is not very good socially, an introvert. By the same token, if they get a very strong handshake from a women, they often jump to the conclusion that she is a pushy or overly aggressive person.
But what all hiring managers need to know is that there is absolutely no connection between a person’s personality type and their handshake. There may be many different reasons why a person has weak handshake, ranging from cultural background to health issues.
But given the current situation, everyone involved in the hiring process needs to be aware of the prejudices that are operating with handshakes and their significance in making hiring decisions.