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Submitted by mmann on


Should an IT Manager/Project Manager wear a tie to an interview in Seattle?

I have a friend who recently moved to Seattle and is currently looking for work.  He's been told by several recruiters that wearing a tie to an interview in the Seattle market is asking for immediate rejection.

I've given him the M-T perspective yet he remains concerned.  Can someone from the Seattle area substantiate this tie bias?


  Thank you,


jib88's picture

I would recommend the tie. There's always the chance that wearing a tie can rule you out of some places, but it's more likely that not wearing one would rule you out. I would go with the default of wearing the tie unless I had specific information on the target company telling me that wearing a tie would be a gross offense.

If truly necessary, he can call the HR contact handling the position and inquire ahead of time. Unless I heard them say "Definitely don't wear a tie", then I would put one on. If they say "You don't have to wear a tie", I take that to mean "No one here wears a tie", which is different from wearing one for an interview.


ktnbs's picture

 I have an interview in Seattle shortly, having just found out a few days ago.  I had read this topic just days before I found out about the interview.

I had visited that office on a drop in basis 7 months ago to introduce myself and express my interests.  At the time I noticed no ties.  However, I called my contact there upon gaining the interview and she related that "just in the past three months it seems everyone is wearing a tie".  That sealed the tie issue for me because I was on the fence.

mmann's picture
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 Thank you for your responses. Ties are still the norm in Seattle!

My friend's recruiter maintains ties are normal for management interviews.  

It's good to see the fabric of the universe does not have a rip in the vicinity of America's Pacific Northwest.



Mark's picture
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Just because there are a lot of techies there, who are the WORST interviewees of all in my experience, doesn't mean it doesn't help to put the company on a pedestal.


PS: Grrrrr. ;-)

SteveDossett's picture

I work in the interactive agency world.

In small to mid-size agencies, showing up in a tie would be a major ding (yes, M+M -- I KNOW what you're going to say) for anyone -- even for a senior level executive. This is a world where Managing Directors will wear Chuck Taylor's to work.

You might be able to get away with it at a larger, more traditional agency - but even then, it's a toss up.

mgoblue0970's picture

 I had an interview at Amazon once.  They told me not to wear a tie (and when I got there, everyone was in hoodies and ripped jeans).  But if they had not told me that, I would have worn a tie.

It's always best to err on the side of caution... I mean being a professional.

mgoblue0970's picture

 > who are the WORST interviewees of all in my experience


How much does that add to the conversation?  Way to paint with a borad brush there!

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 I know some people don't like hypotheticals but please bear with me.

Option 1: You show up at the offices wearing a tie.  The receptionist gives you a funny look and says "Oh, nobody wears ties here, the CEO thinks they cut off blood supply to the brain."  You smile and thank the receptionist then excuse yourself to go to the bathroom to 'freshen up' where you remove your tie and pop it in your briefcase.

Option 2: You show up at the offices not wearing a tie.   The receptionist gives you a quizical look and then you notice that a significant number of workers are wearing ties.

If you wear a tie you can always take it off if it's inappropriate.  It's a lot easier to dress down overly formal attire than to dress up overly informal.  Also, in my experience even if the normal day-to-day standard of attire is quite informal, interviewees are expected to dress formally.  The only exception I've ever seen is where part of the interview was an assessment exercise which could not be done in 'normal interview clothes'.  In that case the invitation to interview included an instruction on how to dress and what PPE to bring and what would be supplied.  Where I work right now most people don't wear a tie, t-shirts with slogans are quite common, but everyone wore a suit, shirt and tie (or equivalent) for their interview.





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superjac's picture
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If you've ever interviewed someone can you imagine dismissing them for wearing a tie? I've hired at a software company, and I can't. In fact, I'm trying to think just what they would need to show up in before I dismissed them for being over dressed. Probably, if they arrived in black tie, I would have concerns about their connection to reality. No tuxedos or ball gowns. Tails would really worry me.

jib88's picture

I like the advice superjac - Tuxedo, top hat, cane and white gloves. THAT is a sharp interview outfit :)

The only time I would worry about someone wearing a suit & a tie is if I specifically called them ahead of time and said "We wear shorts to work, please don't wear a suit to the interview". So basically, if they failed to follow directions for the interview. Failing the hiring manager specifically telling you not to wear a suit & tie, I would wear one.