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The Handshake is Still an Important Part of an Executive Job Interview

Many gestures that were considered de rigeur for well-bred people a generation ago seem to have been lost in today’s world of “just do what feels right.” To paraphrase Miss Manners, that well known icon of appropriate behavior, this is a load of hogwash dreamed up by people too lazy or too foolish to take the time to learn how to behave as a grownup ought to behave. The rules of etiquette, whether for business or social occasions, exist to insure that people behave in ways that are courteous and appropriate to the situation.

A great example is the handshake. Whether you are interviewing for an executive job or one that pays an hourly wage, offering to shake hands is a sign of good manners. Handshakes are a way of respectful greeting and acknowledging the other person. Though candidates at lower levels of the job food chain might get away without offering to shake hands with the people interviewing them, candidates for executive positions make themselves look unworthy unless they offer to shake interviewers’ hands.

More than a simple greeting, a handshake is a signal of at least potential camaraderie. Even though you may not ever see the person whose hand is extended to you or to whom you extend your hand again, it’s a way of acknowledging that you two have something in common—in this case, an interest in the wellbeing of the company to which you are applying.

Grown men and women who are well-suited would never consider not shaking hands. If you want to be in the same league, you shouldn’t consider it either.

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