Do You Shake Hands Before an Interview?

Express enthusiasm in your facial expression and handshake for an interview.

Express enthusiasm in your facial expression and handshake for an interview.

Your job interview starts with a handshake. Impressions are immediately formed by how you appear and how you present yourself. Your handshake and the manner in which you initiate it all offer the interviewer insight on your character and helps set the tone for the interview.

First Impression

A solid handshake can lay the path to a successful interview session. The first impression is formed by your handshake. Offering an overpowering handshake can imply arrogance. When you offer a firm and solid handshake, it projects confidence. A limp handshake can come off as though you do not want to be there or lack confidence. Cold and sweaty palms also can inform the interviewer you are nervous. While it may be only a handshake, it has helped your interviewer form an impression of you.


To come off positive and confident, initiate the handshake. Be the first to extend your hand for a shake. Combine it with a smile to express friendliness. Your initiative expresses assertiveness and professionalism to the interviewer.


Your handshake can send a message about your character based on how it feels. To set off a positive impression, offer a firm, not painful grip, in your shake and pump it up and down for two seconds. If you are uncertain about how firmly to grip, exercise a similar or slightly firmer grip -- one level up -- from what your interviewer offers. Be careful as overshaking can express overzealousness.

Eye Contact

Make a connection with your interviewer with eye contact. It plays a critical role in the handshake process. This is the initial point of meeting and you want to form a connection with the interviewer, implying that you are happy to be there and excited about the opportunity to speak with her. A confident handshake can lose its effect if not properly combined with eye contact to imply the same message.

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About the Author

Wendy Lau entered the communication field in 2001. She works as a freelance writer and prior to that was a PR executive responsible for health care clients' written materials. Her writing experience include technical articles, corporate materials, online articles, blogs, byline articles, travel itineraries and business profile listings. She holds a Bachelor of Science in corporate communications from Ithaca College.

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