How to Pick the Right Interview Outfit, with Cecilia Bianco

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When it comes to making a positive first impression with an employer, your interview outfit matters.

You want to pick the perfect wardrobe for your interview—one that is professional, but which also honors the existing office culture that you hope to join. Doing so creates a good first impression with the hiring manager and signals that you are a good fit for the organization.

On this bonus episode of Find Your Dream Job, Cecilia Bianco, former community manager at Mac’s List, shares her advice on picking the right interview outfit. Learn the do’s and don’ts of professional attire, as well as tips for customizing your outfit to accommodate the organization’s internal culture.

If you’re looking for more advice on how to ace your interview, check out our book, Land Your Dream Job In Portland and Beyond. You’ll find everything you need to get a great job whether you’re in Portland Oregon, Portland Maine, or anywhere in-between.


Mac Prichard:

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your Host and Publisher of Mac’s List. On today’s bonus episode, we’re sharing exclusive content from our new book, Land Your Dream Job In Portland and Beyond. Land Your Dream Job In Portland and Beyond compiles all of our best job search tips and career management tools into one simple, easy to read guide. It’s the definitive toolkit for anyone looking for meaningful work.

The book also includes special contributions from an array of job search experts and today you’ll hear from one of them. Here is Cecilia Bianco, Former Community Manager of Mac’s List, reading her contribution, How to Pick the Right Interview Outfit.

Cecilia Bianco:

You’ve done your research and you understand the company culture as best you can. Here’s your first test. Pick an interview outfit that proves it. If the company culture seems laid back, as many Portland agencies are, wear something that shows you understand and appreciate this, but don’t over or under do it. The other employees might be in jeans and cotton t’s, but this is still an interview. Dark, more formal jeans are acceptable as long as they’re paired with the right top.

For women, I suggest a silk button down or a shirt with an appropriate neckline and a blazer on top. For men, a button down polo, make sure it’s ironed, with or without a blazer on top will do the trick. If the company culture seems formal, go all out to show you recognize and will fit into this atmosphere. As a woman, you can’t go wrong with a pantsuit or the timeless skirt and blazer combo.

Dresses are acceptable, too, as long as you’re paying attention to the neckline and the hemline. Keep it at the collar bone and just below the knee. Make sure the fabric gives you a polished and put together look. No cotton and for goodness sake, no flannel unless you’re interviewing at ADX Portland, of course.

For men, get yourself into a business suit, whether you rent or buy one. If you end up getting the job, you can count on buying at least one suit to meet the dress code anyway so why not find one that fits well and gives you confidence before the interview? If your budget or your comfort refuses to play by this rule, then I suggest black slacks, your nicest long-sleeve button down and a tie. A general rule for shoes, regardless of a formal or informal office culture, avoid wearing overly casual open-toed shoes to any interview.

Flip flops will make a bad impression, but peep-toe heels are acceptable especially in the spring and summer. Make sure they’re clean and presentable. While many Portland agencies will accept you wearing Vans or Converse, they had better not be scuffed up or have holes. Don’t even bring Birkenstocks with socks into the conversation. The outfit that you wear to your interview should make you feel confident, polished and comfortable.

Don’t choose something that doesn’t feel like you or makes you feel like you’re dressing up for an acting role. Portland employers tend to be more lenient with dress code and the most important thing is to demonstrate that you care enough to dress to impress.

Mac Prichard:

If you’re looking for more expert advice and insider tips like what you just heard, check out Land Your Dream Job In Portland and Beyond. You’ll find everything you need to get a great job, whether you’re in Portland, Oregon, Portland, Maine, or anywhere in between. The 2016 edition includes new content and, for the first time ever, it’s available in paperback as well in an array of e-Reading devices including Kindle, Nook and iBooks. For more information on Land Your Dream Job In Portland and Beyond, visit