1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Default Hand shake at interview?

    I was wondering what people thought about shaking hands with the oral board.Should I shake hands with them or not?The short answer is yes but I did it once before in an interview and it was EXTREMELY awkward.The reason being the three guys were all sitting at their table when I walked in the room and watching them all kind of half stand up individually to shake my hand seemed very out of place.I know in most cases it is common for men or people to shake hands when meeting but it didn't seem right here.Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area


    First, it’s expected you could be a little nervous.

    One of the raters will usually come out, escort you into the room, and introduce you to the other panel members. As you stand up wipe any clammy sweat off your hands on the back of your pants. Let the panel members initiate the handshake. Don’t try to turn your self inside out trying to remember their names (they are often on cards in front of them). As you’re introduced, look the rater in the eye and give a firm handshake. Handshakes are thought to be a judge of your character. Practice them. Too many times candidate give dead fish handshake. Come on folks. When shaking hands with a female rater don’t wait for the high beams to come on in her eyes because of too much pressure. Just match the pressure in their handshake. At the end of the interview they will usually stand and shake hands again. Same eye contact thanking (by rank if you know) them for the opportunity.

    Master the First Impression

    I spoke to a group of volunteers who were mostly aspiring firefighters
    recently. As I was greeting several members before I started, I shook
    hands with a big strapping lad who had firefighter written all over him.
    He had that kind of firm handshake, smile and focused eye contact that
    can cause an oral board panel to want to hand him a badge.

    A few moments later I turned to shake hands with another big guy. His
    handshake didn’t carry the same message. The big problem was he didn’t
    know. No one had told him. I had him go over and shake hands with the
    first guy. They worked on it for a few minutes and he returned with a
    more confident handshake.

    The following is from Work Your Network, by Joe “Mr. Network” Pelayo
    http://www.josephmichaels.com/book/book.shtml :
    A UCLA study found that when 2 people meet
    for the first time they make 20 distinctions about each other in the
    first 20 seconds, then spend the next 20 minutes finding out whether or
    not they were right! The same study found that a handshake is worth an
    hour’s conversation between two people, because handshakes are thought
    to be a judge of your character.

    Use that handshake to make the right first impression.

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:

    Fire "Captain Bob"


  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber
    GoCougs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006


    I would say yes. At the beginning of the interview and at the end. But thats just me.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Pacific Northwest


    Always shake hands at the beginning and the end. There is not a DMZ between you and the panel's table, feel free to approach it. Both times, mix up some comments like "pleasure to meet you", "good morning", "it's a privilege to be here", "thank you very much", "I appreciate your time", "I hope to hear from you soon", etc. Don't script the comments, let them come naturally. Don't be introverted and act like someone made you shake hands, be sure to show proactive interest in being there, be animated and engaging.

    And like Bob said about wiping off the clammy sweat.... if you can remember through your apprehension while waiting your turn, don't close up your palms with crossed arms or fists while you wait. This will keep them drier and then you won't need to leave sweaty wipe marks on your slacks.

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