One of the many questions asked at Trischel’s Interview Skills Workshop is do I shake hands when I enter the interview room or when I am introduced to the panel or interviewer. It does seem a small thing in the scheme of things but the little things can often be what makes or breaks a good impression. Often it is the women who are unsure if they should shake hands or not. For guys it is the general accepted practice.

The easy answer to this is take your cue from the interviewer. If the person you are being introduced to puts their hand out then you do. Make the handshake firm but not overpowering – guys this is really not the time to get into a ‘who is the strongest war’.

If your interview is being conducted in other countries make yourself aware of the cultural differences. As a general guideline, always take your cue from the person you are being introduced to.

It would be very rare to face harassment in an interview. The more obvious that may occur would be sexual harassment that may take the form of inappropriate questions or inappropriate invitation to conduct the interview over lunch. Again if your interview is being conducted in other countries be aware of differences. In some countries more personal questions are allowed than what is acceptable in Australia. For example, in Japan they will often ask more in depth personal questions about family.

Which leads us to: honesty. The old adage honesty is the best policy is particularly true for providing information at an interview. Never ever provide less than honest information or answer a question with incorrect information. Believe me it will always come back to haunt you and cause problems. It is okay to put your skills in the best light possible – just do not claim to have skills that you do not have. In short present your self in the best light but do not lie! Remember they will check on references and may even check on educational qualifications.

So next time you approach an interview do so with honesty, be prepared for the handshake and watch out for any harassment.

Trish@ Trischel

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