13

I typically favor dark ties in shades of green, black or grey as a matter of personal taste but I'm curious as to how this will be seen by an interviewer. Is it better for me to wear a specific color of tie or is it a non-issue? I know that some companies don't care about ties or don't even want you wearing one, but for the ones that prefer a buttoned down look, what lends the best impression?

  • 1
    Just make sure it doesn't clash. Dark ties tend to be safe since most suits are dark. – Rarity May 13 '12 at 0:31
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    In research and academic jobs, the better the tie, less is your chance to get the it. – Dipan Mehta May 13 '12 at 1:11
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    @DipanMehta So fraying with polka dots and 15 holes in it = shoe-in? – World Engineer May 13 '12 at 1:13
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    What type of work and companies are you talking about? Can't really help without knowing the context. – Permas May 13 '12 at 1:43
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    Everything matters when you are on an interview! Image is VERY important. – Morons May 31 '12 at 12:22
15

If you're applying to a place where dress is highly regarded in the day-to-day work, for example:

  • Sales
  • Banking
  • Fashion
  • Law
  • Television
  • Executive positions
  • Luxury/jewelry/car sales

...then it may, but there are exceptions, and it depends a lot on the reputation/culture of the specific place. If you're applying for a job where you won't regularly be dressing in a tie, than probably not. Just make it clean, neat, and properly tied. Also, use a real tie, not a clip on.

The color of a tie is the kind of thing that can only really hurt you if you do it wrong. A properly tied, clean tie and shirt pretty much qualifies as "right" for most jobs.

6

It would have to be a pretty bad choice of necktie to scuttle your chance at a job! Think of it as just one small part of the total image you present.

However you dress, you'll come off as more polished if it looks like you're being yourself and not just wearing a costume for one day. So if a dark tie suits you and the rest of your outfit, then that's what you should wear. So, no, it doesn't matter as long as it looks "right" on you.

I should add that even in the most conservative board-room environments where everyone is over 60 and wearing $2000 tailored suits, the necktie given some leeway for self-expression and playfulness or "flair".

5

It's horrible to think that a good IT person could be passed over due to his choice of tie, but I guess its possible.

The seminal work on how to dress in business is the book "Dress for Success" by John Malloy. Even though it was written in 1988, it's still true today, and it's spawned an industry of imitators.

Malloy studies all the major organizational types and gives you a color picture of how to dress for that milieu. Just do what he says.

  • 2
    good reference, but you don't answer the question. – David LeBauer May 16 '12 at 3:26
  • @David - I thought it was obvious from my answer that there is no One Tie To Rule Them All. Malloy showed that there are variations by industry, so without more information there isn't enough information in the question to answer with 'Purple Bugs Bunny novelty tie' or some such ;) . – Jim In Texas May 16 '12 at 16:24
  • the question wasn't "which color", but "does it matter"; a summary of different color / milieu pairings would be helpful. – David LeBauer May 16 '12 at 16:35
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    hmmmm... I'd be skeptical about following fashion advice from 1988 :-) – Angelo May 31 '12 at 2:14
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    @Angelo - In this case the Malloy book holds up very well, especially given the assumption that the OP is applying at a company so old fashioned as to think that tie choice should in any way be a hiring criteria for an IT job. Sure styles change, but the Malloy book is to business attire as Knuth is to computer programming. – Jim In Texas May 31 '12 at 21:45
1

In addition to other answers, something to consider is if the place you are interviewing at has a tie to a specific colour. Ie if you are applying to the ACME company and RED is their colour, and green is the colour of their major competitor, wearing a red tie is a good choice. Wearing a green tie is a bad choice. Also do not wear a tie that may have the logo of the company's competition.

In addition, for the most part, stay away from joke ties like Homer Simpson ties or ones with the built in Dilbert curl. Unless of course you are applying to work with those brands.

1

If anyone is that concerned about the color of tie you are wearing, it's because they are not competent to assess your skills, and are desperately grasping for some kind of irrelevant criteria upon which they can make a decision.

Wearing a tie or not may be important for general image. Going with something that is not garish or distracting may be a good idea. Blue vs. red vs. grey vs green..... if they care, you probably don't want to work there, because if a company will task someone who factors in something that irrelevant to make important decisions, then they have problems that will definitely impact the quality of your employment, should your tie color be deemed acceptable.

  • "it's because they are not competent to assess your skills" - which likely is the case for 90% of the interviews done out there. Plus depending on seniority playing "the game" is part of the position. Depending on Industry I prefer walking into a room with a suit that costs more than most mid managers earn - part of the game. Really depends - if you are a lower end programmer, yeah. As architect proposing company wide solutions and presenting on board level, they DO value you buy funny rules. – TomTom Aug 14 '18 at 20:34
  • @TomTom - That's a good point. I'm totally not considering more high-end positions where navigating the politics of the boardroom or meeting room are a very real consideration. My assumption here is that if someone is asking about it, and not specifying that there's going to be really heavy hitters that they will be directly dealing with, that we're talking about lower to mid level professional positions. It could be a wrong assumption on my part. Seeing as how I responded to a six year old question without realizing it, if they weren't there when they asked, maybe they are now. – PoloHoleSet Aug 14 '18 at 22:21
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    In that case it depends on industry. There are companies around that are so freaking conservative. Also there are funny scenarios - wearing the wrong BRAND can get you fired. Up to some years ago: Adidas and Puma. Look that up on WIkipedia - a Feud (!) of 2 companeis founded by browthers with Headquarters in the same smallish town. Bars, restauratns where "Puma" or "Adidas" for years. US Democrat/Republican (blue, red) party connected companies/positions may be sensitive to tie color of their arch enemy. The question is not as absurd as it sounds. For the old answer, blame Stackexchange – TomTom Aug 15 '18 at 5:16
-1

Ties in IT are kind of like oil and water - they don't mix. In short, if you're thinking this is going to help you, consider the following:

Appearance oriented employers almost always mess up their IT operations. In short, if the tie matters to them, you're probably better off working somewhere else.

If you're more concerned with the color of a tie in comparison to being able to present evidence of coding skills and understanding the abstractions of information theory, you're in more trouble than you think.

  • Poor answer, Meredith – Mawg Aug 15 '18 at 8:20
  • @Mawg The OP is a CS grad, so this answer is actually correct: they almost certainly don't need to wear a tie, particularly for entry-level positions. – jpatokal Aug 15 '18 at 10:54

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