Job Interview: 9 Etiquette Tips For A Great 1st Impression Handshake

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By Angela Loëb

This is basic stuff, but sometimes it’s the basic things that will make or break you.  So, if you already know these things, great!  Consider this a review!

1.  Make sure your hands are clean and your nails are well-clipped and manicured.

2.  You don’t want to offer a cold hand, so be sure they are warm yet free of perspiration.  Arrive 10 minutes early to the building so you can use the restroom facility to check yourself over.  This is the ideal time to wash your hands in warm water and dry them well.

3.  Use a firm grip and give a shake or two.  Don’t let your hand lie in the other person’s hand like a “limp fish.”

4.  On the flipside, don’t use a bone-crushing grip either.

5.  Ultimately, it’s best to match the pressure and firmness of the interviewer’s handshake.  It’s also best to let the interviewer initiate the handshake.

6.  The handshake should last for about 3-5 seconds and should ideally shake or pump no more than 3 times.

7.  Use only one hand… to cup your other hand over the person’s hand you’re shaking is considered impolite because it gives the impression of familiarity and could even be construed as a power play.

8.  Always shake hands vertically, with your hand perpendicular to the floor.

9.  Don’t extend your hand with palm up since this could signal submissiveness, nor should you extend with your palm down since that could give the impression that you’re overly aggressive.

Remember, you never get a second chance to make a great 1st impression.

Angela Loëb is an author, speaker, and owner of InSync Resources. She helps people make successful career transitions through online classes and personalized consulting sessions. For additional programs she co-produced with Jay Markunas, check out the free archives of The Job Search Boot Camp Show and online classes at

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