I'm heading for my first job interview within an hour and I have this critical question:
Who should extend his hand first: the recruiter or me?
No cultural or religious cases, common interview.
My first reaction to this question was something like "It doesn't matter." However, I reconsidered after thinking of some situations I've encountered myself with people from other cultural and/or religious backgrounds.
In view of this, I'm going to say let the recruiter extend his or her hand first, at least at the beginning. I say this because I've encountered situations where religious or cultural rules prohibit (intentional/non-emergency) touching by opposite gendered persons outside their family; as such, they don't shake hands when meeting persons of the other gender. Other cultures prefer bowing to shaking hands. The couple of times I've encountered these sorts of situations, the people were good-natured about my ignorance of their ways, but it was a little embarrassing. Since you'd rather avoid a negative at the start, let the other person initiate the first handshake.
Assuming no cultural or religious prohibition on either side, at your first meeting you should shake hands once they have offered the handshake, following all the usual suggestions about firm, but not hand-breaking, not too long, etc. Also, if you have already established that it's okay to shake hands, I see no reason to wait for the other party to offer the handshake at the end of the interview.
From the official point of view, you, in that situation, are considered the to-become-a-boss, which means that your position is higher than theirs. In that case, you are the one to offer or not to offer a handshake. Therefore, theoretically, if you didn't want to shake hands, it would be your choice, not theirs.
In the real situation, usually there is a common sense that you want to shake hands, and you both move your hands automatically. And that's it ;)
Of course, you should be careful about their religion or origin, and your acceptance of their way of welcoming, you show your respect to the person, which is always good.