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How to nail the perfect handshake

A growing number of young people are having difficulty finding a job due to their poor handshake

If you have never attended a job interview before, you may panic at the prospect of your potential employer offering you their hand. Should you go for a purposeful and enthusiastic handshake to show your eagerness? Or perhaps a more mild approach is better?

You may also consider how long you should hold on to the handshake for, so as to not appear too rushed, without being uncomfortably prolonged either.

Nilesh Dosa, a youth mentor at leading accountancy firm, Ernst & Young, argues that these concerns can easily be addressed by schools taking a more proactive approach in teaching their pupils basic interview skills. He believes that educating students on the appropriate etiquette to adopt when attending a job interview will prevent the growing problem of academically able pupils being ill-equipped for life in the working world.

This view is shared by etiquette consultant, Jo Bryant, who has also published a number of books on the subject, in addition to working at Debrett’s, the arbiters of etiquette in Britain. She claims that whilst pupils may have a host of impressive qualifications, poor interview etiquette, such as a lack of eye contact and a poor handshake and body language, will limit their chances of being offered the job.

So, if you are still left wondering how to achieve the perfect handshake, Bryant advises eye contact, matched with a firm palm-to-palm clasp of the other person’s hand. However, remember not to be too forceful that you risk crushing their hand, nor too limp, as this can give the impression that you are lacking in confidence and enthusiasm for the potential role at stake. Instead, try to strike the all-important balance of confidence, without bordering on arrogance.

If you are liable to get nervous, then this can inevitably lead to sweaty hands. To avoid this, Bryant recommends wiping your hands before heading in to the interview to try to keep any potential clamminess at bay. Above all, it is important to simply try and be natural. Avoid coming across wooden and robotic by trying to remember too much and if you really need to, practice your handshake with a friend or family member until you feel confident, comfortable and ready to face any interview that comes your way.

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