We were surprised when we read that some employers might soon be implementing a handshake ban! Fortunately, there’s no evidence to suggest that this will come to fruition, but the survey they stemmed from did get us talking about the impact something like this might have on recruitment.
It’s hard to imagine an adequate substitute for a hand shake in the job-seeking process, but according to the Total Jobs survey, half of female UK workers and 41% of young workers would prefer no physical interaction when it comes to greeting colleagues of either sex, 76% want a reduction in physical contact in the workplace and 42% want a total ban on some forms of physical touch e.g. hugs or kisses. The irony that recruitment is being accused of losing its human touch, is not lost on us.
We get that hugs and kisses are more intimate and only appropriate in certain situations; everyone has their personal boundaries, but can the symbolic handshake ever really be considered ‘inappropriate’?
The fact employers are being encouraged to introduce or monitor guidance on physical conduct at work is one of the positive things to have come out of the #MeToo movement. Of course, no employee should have to suffer inappropriate or unwanted physical contact, but it’s a sad state of affairs that Total Jobs found 41% of male respondents who say they greet people differently based on gender do so because they’re worried about making the other person feel uncomfortable. And that 28% who consciously change their greeting with women do so for fear of their interaction being perceived as sexual harassment.
Hands up who hasn’t gone in for a handshake and experienced an unexpected hug, headbutt or embarrassing kiss on the mouth? Often these are just awkward, unintended situations which we can laugh off, but Totaljobs reported that 33% of workers ‘well-being’ has been impacted after an awkward greeting.
If the fear of becoming embroiled in an embarrassing greeting ‘clash’ is affecting employees in the way the survey suggests, imagine what an outright ban on all physical contact might do given how predisposed we are to shake hands?
You could argue that handshakes do constitute an intimate form of physical touch in that they go some way in telling interviewers about a person, such as whether they are confident, outgoing and so on – but so does physical appearance, body language and tone. And in our experience, with verbal communication making up just 7% of total communication, a handshake is usually a harmless yet useful way of making a good first impression and establishing a connection – which in turn helps both employers and candidates decide if the cultural fit is right.
Thankfully the survey did find that, overall, handshakes are still the nation’s preferred form of physical greeting – and we won’t be advising a ban on them any time soon.
I thoroughly enjoyed communicating with Karen and having her represent me. Karen was very hands on and made me feel very informed. Therefore I was able to relaxed and feel at ease during my interviews.
The recruitment process was excellent. Karen provided me with updates on a regular basis and the level of communication at all points was handled very well. The whole recruitment process was handled extremely efficiently from start to finish.
I have always dealt with Karen and have found the recruitment process generally excellent. The calibre of candidates has always been strong and the candidates also show enthusiasm towards the job and company they are interviewing for. I am very happy with the service we receive from Sitka and we have always appointed from the first round of interviews.
Sitka was honest all the way through and went above and beyond to make me feel prepared and ready for the interview. Everything went really smoothly and I had regular communication from Ita who made sure I knew everything I needed to along the way. I felt equally as important to the agency as the client and knew I could trust Sitka to represent me as a candidate.
I just want to say a big thank you to Ita for believing in me and being so supportive from the first LinkedIn message until I started my first week!
We liked Karen’s personal approach to finding the best candidate. She spoke to them in depth, matching the person to the business and vice versa, rather than just advertising the role to an existing database of job seekers. The process was very efficient and well-communicated from start to finish.
Trying to find a new role can be quite a daunting experiencing, however what I found working with Karen is that her enthusiasm is infectious. Karen listened to what I had to say and we had a long and productive conversation about what I wanted and whether the role was right for me.