YOUR QUES­TIONS AN­SWERED

WHEN GREET­ING AN IN­TER­VIEW PANEL OF MEN AND WOMEN, IN­CLUD­ING PEO­PLE OF ABO­RIG­I­NAL AND TOR­RES STRAIT IS­LAN­DER DE­SCENT, IS IT AP­PRO­PRI­ATE TO SHAKE HANDS WITH THEM?

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DAR­REN BUCHANAN MANAG­ING DI­REC­TOR, HAYS QUEENS­LAND

Greet­ings vary across Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der com­mu­ni­ties. Our ad­vice is to greet ev­ery­one on the in­ter­view panel with an of­fer to shake their hand – but don’t feel slighted if a hand­shake is not of­fered in re­turn. A col­league, who is of Abo­rig­i­nal de­scent, told me that she of­fers to shake hands at the start of a busi­ness meet­ing in all bar two sit­u­a­tions. The first is when some­one se­nior to her is also in the meet­ing. In this case, she looks to them to give the greet­ing cue and fol­lows their lead. The se­cond is when a per­son is in­tro­duced or pre­sented to her as Un­cle or Aunty.

SINEAD HOURIGAN BRIS­BANE DI­REC­TOR, ROBERT WAL­TERS

I think it is al­ways im­por­tant to en­sure you make a pos­i­tive first im­pres­sion at an in­ter­view.

It is re­ally im­por­tant for can­di­dates to demon­strate con­sis­tency with their ap­proach when greet­ing an in­ter­view panel.

Although there may be slightly dif­fer­ent cus­toms for dif­fer­ent eth­nic­i­ties, you may find that you cre­ate more con­fu­sion if you choose to ap­proach each in­di­vid­ual panel mem­ber dif­fer­ently.

The safest ap­proach is pro­vide a firm hand­shake, look them di­rectly in the eye and smile.

JULIE FORD SE­NIOR EX­EC­U­TIVE CON­SUL­TANT, McARTHUR

In a panel in­ter­view, it is ac­cepted and ex­pected you will shake the hand of all the panel mem­bers. Main­tain good eye con­tact, use a firm grip and make sure your palms are dry. If greet­ing mem­bers of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait de­scent, ap­pro­pri­ate cus­toms may in­clude low­er­ing your eyes to avoid eye con­tact with older peo­ple or au­thor­ity fig­ures, avoid­ing body con­tact such as friendly touch­ing, jostling or touch­ing the up­per torso or arm. Most im­por­tantly, shake hands only if ini­ti­ated by the other party and al­ways use for­mal ad­dresses when talk­ing to chair­per­sons and per­sons of au­thor­ity.

DR NERIDA HILLBERG DI­REC­TOR OF PSY­CHOL­OGY, FER­RIS MAN­AGE­MENT CON­SUL­TANTS

My un­der­stand­ing is that you should of­fer to shake hands with ev­ery­one. Some Abo­rig­i­nal women may not ac­cept and you must re­spect this. Im­por­tantly, be mind­ful of pro­longed eye con­tact. Typ­i­cally in an in­ter­view, this is a good thing, how­ever, it can be per­ceived as ag­gres­sive and of­fen­sive by some peo­ple of ATSI de­scent. It’s good prac­tice to ad­dress the panel as Mr or Mrs, par­tic­u­larly if deal­ing with ATSI el­ders. We must re­spect all of the ap­pro­pri­ate cus­toms, tra­di­tions, and so­cial mores. First im­pres­sions are vi­tally im­por­tant.

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