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SUGANYA KCE 11/28/2013

INTRODUCTION Youve probably had it happen to you at the start of an interview. You extend your hand and in return you get a wimpy handshake, a fist-bump substitute, or a wet clammy handshake that is an intermediate turnoff. Although weak hiring handshakes are quite common, to most they may seem like an insignificant part of interviewing. But everyone involved in the hiring process needs to take notice and be aware of the high negative business impact of handshake bias. Assessing a candidate based on their handshake is a major problem because we know that many interviewers make an initial decision on a candidate within the first two to three minutes, and we know that the handshake and their appearance are the two most powerful elements that contribute to that powerful first impression. The fact that assessing handshakes is a major hiring decision factor is not just conjecture; research from Greg Stewart of the University of Iowa demonstrated that those with the best handshake scores were considered to be the most hireable by the interviewers. Handshakes also proved to be more impactful than dress or physical appearance. Handshakes become a high-impact problem because handshakes occur in every interview, and a single bad handshake can immediately eliminate a top candidate, especially in entry-level jobs. You should also be aware that handshakes with women candidates leave a bigger impression and have their own unique set of biases. No one has ever been sued over handshake bias but the loss of top candidates as a result of it is real.

Interviewers Must Understand Possible Handshake Biases Handshakes should not be normally given a high level of importance, because most jobs simply dont require frequent handshaking with customers, and even then, handshaking techniques can be easily taught. Interviewers need to be aware of the many non-job related biases that can occur by assessing a simple handshake. If you are a professional recruiter or a manager who hires frequently, understand how many different types of handshake created bias can harm your hiring results. The nine categories of bias are:

A reflection of interpersonal skills unfortunately, many interviewers equate an inappropriate or bad handshake with a lack of interpersonal skills, even though the weak handshake may be strictly a result of interview nervousness or uncertainty. People with a lot of experience in shaking hands (like salespeople) tend to be good at it, but it is a mistake to assume that an interview handshake reflects on a candidates interpersonal skills. There is simply no hard evidence to support this connection. Unless you frequently interact with strangers, you are unlikely to have a perfect handshake. That means that many researchers, scientists, back-office people, and IT and Internet professionals will score poorly on any handshake assessment.

It may cause personality assumptions Unfortunately an interviewer will frequently judge a persons personality based on their handshake. A weak handshake may be taken as an indication that you are an introvert, lack aggressiveness, or have weak interpersonal skills, and a too-strong handshake may be taken to mean over aggressiveness (especially in women). There is no evidence to show a link between actual personality and interview handshakes.

It may create a bias against women If you have difficulty hiring women, you should realize that the different way that women shake hands can cause them to be downgraded almost immediately. Obviously there are many variations, but women candidates, because they may be less strong or weigh less, may more frequently offer what may be perceived as a limp handshake (research shows that women with strong handshakes actually have an advantage over men). And because in some cultures women shake hands less frequently than men (or they may be forbidden to touch men), it may show during the handshake event.

Health issues impact handshakes Either the interviewee or the interviewer may have a fear of germs or actual health issues, which may impact their willingness to shake hands and how they shake hands. This handshake avoidance behaviour may inaccurately be seen as a lack of interest in the job.

Cultures influence handshakes Some societies and geographic regions have a custom of vigorously shaking hands, while others have alternative ways of both greeting and shaking hands. Obviously their customs and practices may hurt a candidate if the interviewer is from a different culture. Failing to make eye contact while shaking hands will also almost always hurt a candidate, even though avoiding direct eye contact might be an element of their culture. The acceptable physical distance between the two parties when shaking hands may also be cultural, so either violating the interviewers space or being too distant may unnecessarily cause the candidate to lose points.

Generations impact handshakes Interviewers might not realize that the generation that the candidate is part of may also cause their handshake behavior to differ significantly. If the interviewer is from a different generation, mistaken judgments may occur.

A grooming bias When shaking hands, the interviewer may notice and make an impression based on what may be undone related factors like poorly manicured nails, the watch that they wear, or even visible tattoos or jewellery. Too many or too few calluses noticed during a handshake have also unnecessarily influenced interviewers.

Disability issues Disabilities can obviously impact a candidates ability to shake hands. Parkinsons, missing limbs from military veterans, and even sitting lower in a wheelchair can affect handshakes and perhaps bias the hiring decision.

Remote interview bias Because these days many interviews are done over the telephone or live on the Internet, the interviewer may simply not get the chance to physically shake hands. This lack of physical contact may help some but hurt others. Be aware that major problems occur when remote candidates are compared with interviewees who met in person and provided a physical handshake.

1. Know when to use your handshake. The appropriate times to shake another person's hand include:

When you are introduced to someone When you say goodbye to someone At the beginning or the end of a business, social, church, or other meeting

Whenever it seems appropriate within a business context, such as sealing a deal.

2.Be the first to extend your hand. This makes a strong, lasting impression on the person at the receiving end. It is also about control; by offering your hand first, you are leading the way. This applies to both men and women; don't shy away for reasons of being coy or putting yourself down. 3.The only time that you should not seek to be so affable as to offer to shake first is where there is an authority structure in place that should be adhered to. For example, if there is a more senior or higher-ranked person in a social gathering, work or business context, follow the lead of the higher ranked person (President, Governor-General, CEO etc.).

4. Extend your right hand straight before the handshake. Do not have your palm facing either up or down; the palm should meet with the palm of the other person. The only exception to using the right hand is if you don't have one.

5. Keep your hand perpendicular to the ground. Do not roll it sideways for the handshake. Shake firm once, or at the most, twice. Avoid pumping; more shakes than two becomes annoying and distracting from the purpose of the greeting. Don't linger for too long. According to Wikipedia, a normal handshake lasts about 5 seconds. If you hold someone's hand too long, it can become an embarrassing social faux pas.

6. When giving the handshake, make eye contact and state your usual greetings. Convey confidence in both your handshake and stance.

REFERENCES: 1. http://www.ere.net/2013/08/05/the-many-perils-of-interviewhandshakes-and-why-they-cause-you-to-lose-top-candidates/ 2. www.en.wikepedia.org