What our handshake reveals about us

During an interview, be it for an internship or a real job, the employer will employ many tactics to determine whether you are fit for the position – and the handshake is the very first of them. It can reveal more about your personality than you might think. There are several types of handshakes:

The Bone Crusher
The Bone Crusher squeezes your hand firmly – too firmly. There is a message of power and intimidation behind the grip. When you shake hands with the Bone Crusher, don’t feel tempted to start a hand-squeezing contest. However, present yourself with strength during the interview, because the Bone Crusher usually also expects self-confidence and determination in his applicants.

The Dead Fish
This is a limp and indifferent handshake that feels like shaking a dead fish rather than a hand. Persons with this handshake might have a passive or reserved personality and are generally not people-focused. What matters to them is the technical or mechanical aspect of something. With this handshake, you symbolically give the other person the “upper hand”. In business, you want to be considered an equal, so avoid this handshake if possible.

The Politician
The other person grabs your hand like in a normal handshake, but his other hand covers yours or is placed on your forearm or shoulder. This “double-hander” handshake tries to communicate that the two of you have a strong, trustworthy relationship. However, this close human contact can be inappropriate in many business situations. Think of the Politician as a mini-hug. Would it be appropriate to give the other person a short hug? If no, avoid giving them a “double-hander” handshake.

The Finger Vice
The Finger Vice grabs only your fingers instead of your whole hand. It is meant to keep you at a distance, be it out of insecurity or to demonstrate personal power. The Finger Vice is often looking for partners that are compliant and willing to look for compromises instead of people that seek open confrontation.

The perfect handshake is firm, not too hard and definitely not too soft. It lasts for 2-3 seconds and you should make eye contact the whole time. Sweaty hands are a normal body reaction when you are anxious or nervous but undesirable in a job interview, so make sure to wipe them dry before you shake hands with your future employer. Most importantly, however: do not forget to smile!

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