This is the nightmare – you have just landed an interview for your dream job, and your biggest worry is not how well you will answer the questions, but how to not disgust the interviewer with your sweaty hands!
Of course, there is no silver bullet recipe here (how I wish!). Below are some tips and tricks I have learnt over time to manage job interviews with moderate Palmar Hyperhidrosis. I am sure some, if not all, will find these useful. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any other cool tips for job interview with sweaty hands that I missed:
Tips For Job Interview With Sweaty Hands: Before the Job Interview
There are things you can do before the job interview that may help you minimize the sweat on your palms. Depending on how much in advance you know of the job interview, its better to start as soon as possible – ideally a week before
- Get a clinical over the counter strength antiperspirant (I recommend Carpe Lotion, or Odoban Hand Lotion) from a neighborhood pharmacy or online store. Need to know more about these antiperspirants?
- Apply antiperspirant as per the directions on the pack over your hands every night before you go to sleep (wash your hands prior to application)
- Unless you have severe form of palmar hyperhidrosis, you should see significant improvement in about 3-4 days time. However, continue the application for a full week. This is often very effective way – however, it is not foolproof as the sweat may still break out in severely stressful situations (like… interview).
- You may get some discomfort (itching, dryness etc) – however, that should be temporary and may be worth it
- If you have access to iontophoresis machine, also treat your palms daily for 15 days prior to the interview. Done correctly, this is very reliable way of getting rid of sweat that does not come back even under stress. However, iontophoresis does not work for everyone and if you haven't tried it before, I will not recommend you to pin all your hopes on iontophoresis.
- If you have tried antiperspirants and iontophoresis and it did not work for you, go to a medical professional (dermatologist) – they can prescribe you medication (e.g. Robinul) that will control the sweat. I don't like medications per se, but in an interview situation, its not a bad option.
TIPS FOR JOB INTERVIEW WITH SWEATY HANDS:On The Job Interview Day
- After shower, do not apply any lotion on hands. Clean your hands with soap, and then apply antiperspirant on the dry hands
- Ensure that you reach the venue with sufficient time in hand. Getting there on last minute will only add to the anxiety and may cause sweat to break loose
- While waiting, find a relatively open/cool space – closed, damp areas will tend to cause the sweat to break out
- If its summer time, and you are feeling hot, take off the coat/sweater and tie while you are waiting
- Relax, read some magazine and try not to think about the interview or the impending handshake
TIPS FOR JOB INTERVIEW WITH SWEATY HANDS: On the Interview Day
If your hands are not sweaty, go ahead, have a firm handshake!! However, if you notice that inspite of all the pre-work, sweat did start to come out on your palms, there are ways to manage that:
- Wear a sleeved cotton undershirt – that will help avoid the sweat-pit under your arms.
- Have a small bottle of sanitizer with you. If the sweat breaks though, you can time sanitizer application just before the interviewer comes to greet you (so that he/she can see you applying the sanitizer) – so that even if your hand is cold and damp, it wont be disgusting because it will feel like sanitizer!
- Take a glass of water in your hands and when the time comes for the handshake, put the glass aside and shake the hands while apologizing for “wet” hands
- Carry your bag/notebooks in your hands and make it obvious that handshake is very inconvenient at that time – again, make appropriate gesture to show your helplessness!
- Don't put your hands on the table, especially if the table is glass top – you will make very visible smudgy marks on the table with the sweat on your palms and those are not pretty.
- At the end of the interview (if your hands are still wet), use one of the tips mentioned above to avoid a handshake. Another way is to ask for restroom, go in, wash and wipe your hands and come out. Have a handshake – even if the hands are a bit damp, it will be natural!
- If for any reason you cannot use any of the tips mentioned above, or if the sweaty palms were noticeable, make a joke about “how nervous you are to be interviewing for your dream job”! It works sometimes – employers want to hire people who really want a job!
TIPS FOR JOB INTERVIEW WITH SWEATY HANDS:After the Interview
If after all that hard work and preparation, if you still feel that your sweaty hands were noticeable and might impact your chances of getting the job, here is the last ditch option. I have used it once before and it worked – but it may or may not:
Send a note to (or call) your interviewer and express your interest in the job and how excited you were to interview with them. As a side mention, tell them that you have a medical condition called hyperhidrosis that causes you to sweat a bit more than usual in high stress situation and that it does not affect your normal job performance. Most interviewers will consider that as a honest gesture and would understand your sweaty palms – though it may also work opposite by reminding them of your sweaty palms when they did not really think of it. So use this tip with caution and only if you think that your sweaty palms were noticeable and will severely impact your chances of landing up that job.
Now, in-spite of all this preparation you may not get the job. And it is OK – think of it this way: would you have liked to work for a boss who based his opinion about you purely based on your sweaty palms?
Thats all I had to say on this topic people. I am sure you have tried more ways to cope with your palmar hyperhidrosis during a job interview – share please!