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.