New I-O Networking Site

I was poking around on BryanB’s nifty HR Tests Blog and saw an interesting note about how SIOP is taking another step into these modern times with the launch of a LinkedIn group, The I-O Practitioners Network. There’s not a whole lot of activity on there, but if you’re into this kind of thing (you are, aren’t you?) you should create a LinkedIn profile and join the I-O Practitioners Network. I did!

Actually, this is my first real experience with LinkedIn. I’m hardly a stranger to the whole Internet thing, but whenever I look at social networking sites like MySpace I get nauseous and have to lie down for a while. Facebook is a bit better, but it still mostly seems to be people randomly poking me and wanting me to take silly little quizzes. LinkedIn is focuses on professionals who are looking to network, though, so it’s surprisingly nice and doesn’t have an interface that looks like it was put together by slicing up a perfectly usable website and shaking the pieces in a Zip-Lock bag for a while.

At any rate, thumbs up! Please join the I-O Practitioner’s Network and join us. I promise not to send you a quiz asking what kind of fruit tree you would be if you were some kind of fruit tree.

The Importance of a Good Shake


What’s the best way to ace an interview? Come prepared with facts and examples of how your qualifications make you a strong fit with the requirements of the position? Nope. Apparently you just need a firm handshake. The kind that says “I have a high composite score on measures of extroversion and emotional stability AND I WILL CRUSH YOU!”

Well, that’s the story from this article, which describes some research forthcoming in –of all places– The Journal of Applied Psychology. The research, conducted by professor Greg Steward at the University of Iowa, describes an experiment where student subjects did mock job interviews and had their handshakes systematically evaluated. Those with beefier grips had higher ratings of their interview performance.

Now, we’ve all heard or read little bits of advice about how to dress, how to speak, and how to shake hands at an interview, but unless the person is interviewing for the job of Bare-Fisted Walnut Crusher (O*Net Online job code #39-2011.00, look it up), it’s a little surprising that handshakes would have a particularly strong effect on objective interview ratings.

In fact, I look forward to reading the study when it comes out in JAP. I’m not sure if this is a case of the author of the article linked above selectively quoting to make a more interesting story, but this bit by the researcher made me arch an eyebrow:

“We probably don’t consciously remember a person’s handshake or whether it was good or bad,” Stewart said. “But the handshake is one of the first nonverbal clues we get about the person’s overall personality, and that impression is what we remember.”

Of course there’s tons of research on interview biases and first impressions, but one would hope that if you wanted to measure someone’s personality, you’d choose a better way to go about it. There ARE tests for that kind of thing in wide use. Again, I look forward to learning more about the research design, but what this really points to is the need for more structured interviews that were designed according to well established job analyses so that not only do you have interview content that’s job related, but you’ve got tools and procedures built into the interview process that minimize biases born of handshakes or other silliness. It would be interesting, for example, to study whether or not the degree to which the interview was structured moderated or mediated the handshake/interview performance relationship.

Still, if you want my advice on handshakes, here’s how to pull one off that’s sure to make an impression: Grasp the other person’s hand as hard as you can. If they whimper and maybe bend at the knees, you’re doing it right. Lean forward until you make eye contact –as in, your eyeballs actually make contact with the other person. Pump the hand up and down twice, but don’t let go. Seriously, don’t let go until the interview is over even if it means you have to do the whole thing with your arm stretched out across the table to the other person. If there is a second interviewer, use your free hand to repeat. If there are three or more interviewers, bring a friend.

Let me know how this works out for you. I’m curious to hear.