Cover LettersCover Letters
Job Seeker TipsJob Seeker Tips
Beginner BasicsBeginner Basics
In the WorkplaceIn the Workplace
Build A
Resume Now
Have Your
Try Our
Cover Letter
Home > Blog: Interviews > Poll: Do Hiring Managers Care About a Firm Handshake?

Poll: Do Hiring Managers Care About a Firm Handshake?

People appreciate a firm handshakeIn the summer of 1983, I graduated from college and moved into a tiny studio apartment with two friends. I desperately needed income, but had no clue what kind of job I wanted.

My brand new B.A. in Psychology was nice to look at, but qualified me for nothing in particular. And my work experience consisted of several years of part-time cashiering in my dad's store. Needless to say, I had not exactly been proactive in my career planning, and I had no resume.

To make matters worse, I knew exactly seven things about job interviews:

  1. Be polite.
  2. Don't be late.
  3. Wear a suit.
  4. Give a firm handshake.
  5. Make eye contact.
  6. Don't take the seat at the head of the table.
  7. Write a thank-you note.

Unprepared but determined, I sat down with the Help Wanted section of The Boston Globe and tried to find a job. When I spotted the ad for a "People Person," I got all excited. I didn't know exactly what a people person was, but I was pretty sure I was qualified to be one.

I called the number in the ad and, believe it or not, it was a legitimate job opening for a front-desk assistant in a very reputable dental practice in Boston. The dentist's wife Arline managed the office. Arline and I clicked on the phone, and scheduled a time to meet the very next day. My first real job interview!

Just one problem: My electric typewriter was in storage, and no one I knew had a computer yet, so I had no choice but to sit down and literally write my resume.

On paper.

With a pen.

So I did.

And I got the job!

Months later, Arline told me she'd been ready to make me an offer almost as soon as I walked through the door, because I was the first candidate to arrive on time, wearing a suit. And my embarrassing handwritten resume? That's actually what sold her. When she saw my neat handwriting, she knew her appointment book would never be messy again. And, she figured if I would go to the trouble to hand-write an entire resume, I would probably be a good worker.

What's my point?

In a job interview, it's important to realize you're being evaluated in ways you might not expect. Every little thing you do or say contributes to the overall impression you're making. Seemingly insignificant details can make a big difference. Nobody likes to shake hands with a bone crusher or a dead fish. That was true in 1983, and it's still true today.

Despite all the changes in the hiring process over the past quarter century, I believe most hiring managers still place a lot of importance on the little niceties embodied in the 7-point list. Do you agree?

Transitioning from Student to Professional: What They Don't Teach in School
Career Journaling for the Future
Yes, You Still Need Paper Resumes for Your Interviews

Ready To Jump Start Your Job Search?
Looking for Help with Your Job Search?
Pongo has been helping Job Seekers for over 10 years. If you think our articles are great, try our Resume Builder, Letter Builder and Exclusive Interview Strategy Videos! Our easy-to-use tools and expert advice have helped over 70% of our Members get the job they want! Learn More »
Like what you see?
Join over 4.6 million Pongo Members — and let us help you land your dream job.
Pongo Raves
Student Lands Job in Hospitality Industry
Anthony was unemployed and living at home. Watch as he describes how Pongo helped him improve his resume, letters and interview techniques to land the perfect job.
Learn More About Pongo
More Success Stories