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Job seekers: brutal handshakes are offensive



Crossed legs and bone-crusher handshakes are things to avoid at a job interview, according to a new book from a senior headhunter and former job agency director.

Strong-arm handshakes are offensive and crossed legs are defensive, says John Courtis in Getting a Better Job.

He encourages nodding and smiling and also copying the way the interviewer holds his or her hands or legs - this signals silent empathy.

He also suggests preparing brief sound-bites on negative issues that might come up.

People should avoid designer CVs, the use of capital letters, and the words charisma, leader and resume.

"It's not that so many job applicants are bad but that so many applications are bad," Courtis says.

"Getting a good job is a matter of research and application. In fact, a good application can get a job even if there's no vacancy."

Inappropriate dress is the biggest failing among job applicants, according to a separate study by recruitment firm Office Angels. This was mentioned by 30% of interviewers, followed by arrogance (27%) and monosyllabic responses (25%).

The firm warns people to be ready for a "killer question", ranging from, "Tell me a joke," to, "What question did you hope I wouldn't ask?" Three-quarters of employers said they tried to catch interviewees out in this way.

  • Getting a Better Job is published by the Institute of Personnel and Development 01752-202301.

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    This was first published in June 2000

     

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