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Candidate Help & Advice

Decisions! Decisions! How to Pick Out Your Tie

Men face few choices when it comes to dressing for a job interview. Suits and shoes are always dark colors – black, gray, or brown. Shirts are typically white or blue.  The real difficult choice is which tie to wear.

When I was interviewing for jobs, I always tried to match my tie to the type of company I’m interviewing at. If I had an interview at an environmental company, I’d wear a green tie. At a high-tech company with a fun culture, I’d go with my orange or pink tie.

The first step is to decide what type of company you are going to be interviewing with

Conservative – if you are applying to a job in more conservative industries like financial services, insurance, or healthcare, it is best to make conservative choices when choosing your tie.  Stick with the standards – red, blue, black, green or other muted colors.  Stripes are fine, but avoid geometric patterns or landscaped logos.

Creative – if your interview is with a company where creativity and innovation are a key part of the culture – you can be a lot more creative with your tie choice.  In industries like design, marketing,  retail, or high tech – don’t be afraid to go with a pink, purple, or orange tie.

Avoid these type of ties

  • Clip-ons – If you don’t know how to tie a tie – go to any men’s store and ask!
  • Bow ties – I suppose a bow tie may come across as fashion-forward in certain industries – but for other companies, they may come across as pretentious.
  • Theme ties – Avoid ties with your favorite Disney characters, sports logos, and holiday icons.
  • Hallucinogenic ties – Avoid ties that look like a bad acid trip.

We all hope that our tie choice does not affect our ability to get a job offer, but when preparing for the interview and considering our personal brand, it’s important to think about every detail possible.  There are so many different type of ties – choosing one can be overwhelming.  If at the very least, you avoid the above – you’ll be in pretty good shape.


Mike Spinale is a corporate Human Resources leader at a healthcare information technology company located outside of Boston, Massachusetts and is an adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University. He has over eight years of experience in HR and management including career counseling, recruitment, staffing, employment branding, and talent management.  Mike has dedicated his HR career to modern views on the field – HR is not about the personnel files – it’s about bringing on the best talent, ensuring they’re in the right seat, and keeping them motivated and growing in their careers. In addition, Mike is the author of the CareerSpin blog where he offers advice and opinion on job search, personal & employment branding, recruiting, and HR. Mike is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Babson College. He is also a board member of the Metro-North Regional Employment Board, a board which sets workforce development policy for Boston’s Metro-North region, and an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Northeast Human Resources Association.