A Good, Firm Handshake in a Virtual World

We live in an ever-changing digital age where our interactions have become increasingly more “virtual” than face-to-face.

Today, most companies are turning to phone conference or webcam interviews to save time and money for incessantly busy Hiring Managers.  Job candidates are expected to answer complicated behavior based interview questions, supplying well-thought-out responses, all while making it perfectly clear why he/she is the right person for the job, often in 30 minutes or less.  So, how do you leave a lasting impression at the end of a phone interview?  You develop a good, firm virtual handshake.

Think about it…a handshake is what used to “seal the deal” during the face-to-face interview process years ago—too firm and you seem over-ambitious, too soft and you seem under-whelming, too short and you seem intimidated, too long and you seem intimidating.  Now that virtual encounters are more prevalent, it is still important that you know exactly how to effectively conclude an interview when no physical contact is applicable.

Today’s equivalent to a good, firm handshake is a great closing statement.  And, I don’t mean, “thank you, Ms. CEO, for granting this interview.  Please hire me.”  I mean the kind of statement that leaves your interviewer in shock and awe as you exit the conversation, fireworks blazing as you hang up the phone.

A great closing statement includes three essential components.  The first component is a bit of gratitude—someone has taken the time to leave behind his/her very busy calendar and speak to you about your future.  The second component is a bit of research—you should add a tidbit of information that only us insiders know about the company.  And lastly, the third component is a bit of pride—notice that I did not mention anything about boasting or over-confidence.  Pride is genuine and shows that you are pleased with the work you’ve done and would be willing to offer your expertise to the Hiring Manager’s team.  “Thank you so much, Ms. Director, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with me this afternoon.  I truly appreciate the innovation your organization offers and I am particularly intrigued by your recent presence in the eSolutions arena.  The speech you gave at last year’s conference was spot-on for our society’s advancing needs.  I am confident you will appreciate my work within our field and I hope to bring fresh ideas regarding adult learning products to the forefront for your team.”  And, last but certainly not least, make sure to send a “thank you” email following the conversation.  Keep it short and sweet, but thoughtful and targeted to the core of the job description.

A good, firm virtual handshake may not guarantee that you land the position, but it will definitely set you apart from the other job seekers who are vying for your dream job.

Post by Kristen Stone, former FLVS Team Lead Staffing Coordinator



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