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First Interview vs. Second Interview & How should I dress for an interview?

First and second interviews differ in major aspects.

First interviews are normally carried out by a human resources officer, whose intention is to check out your academic background, skills set and work experience against the info on your resume.

There is greater flexibility in the format of second interviews, which may involve a one-on-one meeting (probably with your potential immediate supervisor), panel or group interviews, or a series of interviews. The second interview is out to probe two key areas:
  1. Your competency for the position
  2. How you will fit in with the company and the staff
For more handy tips for the job hunt, grab your copy of JobStreet Classifinder, out every Sunday with the Philippine Star.

  1. Take along interview essentials, such as pen and paper and your portfolio, which should include copies of your resume, transcript of records, work samples and a list of references.
  2. Get a good night sleep on the interview’s eve so you’re fresh and alert on D-day. Eat a good breakfast and take along a small snack to keep you going throughout what might be a long day.

  3. Don’t forget the cardinal rules of any interview: Arrive on time, wear proper business attire, and maintain eye contact with the interviewer. And don’t forget to smile!
  4. Prep even more for the second interview, which may involve more people (including group or panel interviews), more tricky and in-depth questions, and definitely more pressure.
  5. Recall your performance in the first interview and plan how to better handle any difficult scenes or questions should these occur again.
  6. If possible, get the names and titles of the interviewers beforehand.
  7. Be prepared to answer a broader range of questions, including behavioral, case and off-the-wall queries.
  8. Be prepared to ask questions, and these should be more profound than those you threw the first time. (E.g., What skills and talents are needed to be effective in this job? What work values and attitude are best for this type of work?)
  9. Bring to the next interview more details, such as new accomplishments, new knowledge about the company, and new examples to back up your claims.
  10. Write a thank-you letter to the employer within three days of the callback.

    How should I dress for an interview?

    A few years ago, as a newbie applicant fresh out of college, I remember making my way to various job interviews dressed in black pants and a black blazer, sweating under the sun and wondering if there’s a more comfortable way to go about job hunting.

    Fresh graduates, used to the college dress code of jeans and T-shirts, get apprehensive taking on a more corporate look. I went to an interview dressed in cargo jeans and a shirt,” shares Crissy, a marketing graduate from a Manila university. “The company is in media and I thought that they had a relaxed dress code. The hiring manager took one look at me and I could tell she was annoyed. The interview didn’t even last fifteen minutes and, needless to say, I didn’t get a call for another interview. Should I have come in corporate attire? Wouldn’t I appear overdressed?”

    On this question, our Career Coaches advise dressing to impress – appropriately.

    "It is like selling yourself to employers," says Rem Villareal of Itochu Corporation. “Generally, one’s attire reveals some of his character traits – neatness, being organized, etc.”

    "I usually expect my interviewees to come in corporate attire, even though our office is in a residential community,” shares Melle Roxas-Pitalgo of iDnet Consulting, Inc. “In selling yourself and your expertise, what you wear – how you present yourself – is part of the package.”

    For Beth Pamatmat of Infodyne, Inc., dressing in corporate attire communicates to the interviewer that you are serious about the job. She also suggests doing some research first. Some companies adopt a more casual dress code but applicants can’t always be sure if the companies they are applying to subscribe to that dress code.

    The rule of thumb is to dress one or two levels higher than the job are applying for. Remember, it’s not so much that you’re trying to get hired because of what you wear, but it’s more a matter of not getting yourself eliminated from consideration because of how you present yourself.