A Smile, a Handshake, and a New Job – How They’re All Connected


When you think of a business person the image that comes to your head is probably of someone wearing a suit, or at least donning business casual apparel, with a confident demeanor and a strong handshake. Though this idealistic image may not be the typical businessperson, it does reflect one truth: confidence gets results.

Your smile and attitude are the first things that a prospective employer are going to notice about you, followed by your handshake and intelligence. Therefore, it is crucial that you make the first impression a good one.

The Psychology behind a Warm Smile

People gravitate to those that exude confidence, capability, and stability. Appearing confident shows your prospective employer that you can handle stressful situations. Make no mistake, an interview is a stressful situation for a prospective employee, and the employer knows it. Show them that you can handle it without breaking a sweat.

The reason that people are attracted to those whom are confident or capable is because people want to be associated with people who are esteemed, or whom may be esteemed. If you associate with many great people, you are more inclined to become a great person yourself as a result of their influence and association.

A warm smile reeks of this type of confidence. It shows poise and charisma, and those two traits have a common effect on everyone, including those who may hire you.

Why a Firm Handshake is Important

In North America, the handshake has become a sort of sizing up ritual. Have you ever noticed how really motivated and driven people have a strong handshake? This is because they are giving you a message when they shake your hand. When they grip your hand in a firm and confident manner, they are saying “Hi, I am good at what I do and I know it. You want to do business with me.”

Even though the words have never left their mouth, you immediately get that message. When you shake your interviewers hand, give them a brief moment of eye contact, a warm smile, and let them know that you mean business.

These non-verbal cues (a smile and a handshake) communicate just as much as a verbal message- never discredit them or undervalue their importance.

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11 thoughts on “A Smile, a Handshake, and a New Job – How They’re All Connected

  1. Do you think there is a thin line between Confidence and cockiness? In the past, I’ve been told that I was cocky =(

    1. The line between cockiness and confidense is just a matter of perception and tone. The reality is that you are good at what you do, and you know it. However, instead of saying things like “you want be on your team” (which can be interpeted as cocky), you could say something like “I think that I’d do well on your team”. The latter has softer language and is still direct, but less abrasive.

  2. What is your take on a woman’s handshake. I was taught to have a gentle, fingertip-based handshake, that it was feminine. But, the more I talk to women in the business world these days, it seems people are split right down the middle on this issue. Firm handshake or feminine handshake? Which is better for the female business person?

    1. I am not a woman, but I would go with firm (for women), as in a proper handshake… nothing worse than a limp handshake regardless of gender… IMO…..

  3. When a motivated person is shaking hand with us, we can “feel” the motivation is sufficient or not throw his/her eyesight. It’s not a problem on how hard he or how gentle she shake your hand.

    1. I disagree, “technique” is important in a handshake and it can make a big difference to ones first impression… it is worth working on IMO… particularly if you are in an outward facing role….

  4. I would always opt for the second phrase, but still got accused of being cocky…. a lot is down to personality of yourself and the interviewer…

    1. Me too, I was really surprised as I would not say I am cocky at all… If anything I think in the past I suffered from not “selling myself” at interviews… maybe I over compensated… though I have never received this kind of feedback since….

  5. Hmmm… May I should learn something more from you. But Since I’m a visual-kind of man, good technique in gripping my hand will not do a lot of change. Your spirit is within your face and to be more accurately, I can see and overwhelming spirit through eyes contact.
    Well, generally there are 3 kind of people in contacting with something. Visualist, Audio-visualist and Kinesthetic. I look more than I feel.
    Btw, I’m interested in your “technique” in hand shaking. I will send you an email for further discussion.
    Thanks for sharing me your valuable opinions.

    1. I am no expert in these matters, I just speak from personal experience, however there have been studies conducted on this… google lead me here:
      As with all things on the internet you need to cross reference… that article mentions handshakes along with things such as eye-contact which you refer to in your comment…
      (Comments wont nest below this level)

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