Making a strong first impression is important in a job interview and when networking. In Canada, a firm handshake is a sign of confidence and conveys trust and respect. It differs in other countries however:

  • In Russia, a handshake is rarely performed by opposite sexes and men shaking hands with women can be considered impolite.
  • In the Middle East, handshakes are not as firm as in Canada and a handshake that is too firmwill be considered as rude.
  • In Japan, China and the Philippines, a weak handshake is preferred and people will often hold on to each other’s hands longer.
  • In India, the Namaste gesture combined with a slight bow is used in place of handshakes.
  • In Brazil, expect a firm handshake that lasts longer than in Canada and strong eye contact.
  • In Mexico, expect a long lasting handshake and if you are a male maybe a hug. Women may kiss each other on the cheeks.
  • In Thailand, never shake hands! The person will offer a “wai”, which is placing their palms together at chest level and bowing.

Handshakes are still the norm in Canada in job interviews though, so don’t be “high fiving” your employer just yet!

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