Recruiters…Tied Up, or free the shackles…

I’m back at work this week after a refreshing 3 week break - if you can call driving 4,500km’s from one end of Australia to the other, with a 2 & 4 year old in the back seat a refreshing break…

‘Are we there yet?’

‘Can we stop at McDonalds?’

‘Are we there yet?’

‘I’ve got to go to the toilet…’

‘Are we there yet?’ I’m sure you get the general idea….

Anyway, back at work I was tucking into my chicken salad sandwich and bottle of water in the food court – yes New Year’s Resolution still going strong 20 something days in! – and I noticed a phenomena that until now had completely passed me by…. Men were not wearing ties!

That’s right! Men… Were… Not… Wearing… Ties!! Before you ask, yes - this food court is in the middle of the corporate business district, and no it wasn’t a hot day. 

I was so taken aback that I began counting the number of businessmen wearing ties and those who were not.  Final tally - with ties 17, without ties 74! (To the statistically minded that’s 82% not wearing ties).

As I walked back to the office I noticed more and more businessmen not wearing ties and it kind of got me thinking – why are city based male recruiters expected to wear ties?

Those in the Pro column may say it represents our corporate professionalism, it reflects our clients’ expectations, it demonstrates to our competitors that we are serious… Blah, Blah, Blah

Let’s be honest, the only thing ties are, is bloody uncomfortable! Does a tie really demonstrate professionalism?  Does a tie really give you that vital edge over your competitor?  My answer is an adamant No!

Look, there are some situations where a tie is absolutely appropriate: weddings, formal parties and yes, some clients meetings.  You know, the stuffy ones where the client judges people on how they dress, where they went to school and what Masonic lodge chapter one belongs to…


Apart from neck discomfort – often resulting in a nasty rash - there are a number of reasons why a tie is more of a hindrance than a help…

  1. You always spill your food on them.  Some see this as a positive as it can act as a bib replacement, but on the whole, if you are required by work to wear a tie, you spill food (or coffee) on it - and have no spare in the office - you look like a hobo. Plus, you will be judged even more harshly by our good friend the stuffy client – and worse, ties have to be dry cleaned… Think of the cost!
  2. You have to match them with your shirt.  If you haven’t got a girlfriend/boyfriend/wife or mother with an eye for fashion you are screwed!
  3. Speaking of fashion. Ties and their various designs go in and out of fashion more often than the yo-yo.  In the mid 90’s I bought 7 Looney Tune and Simpsons themed ties.  I was able to wear them for a total of six months, before they went horribly out of fashion.  What am I supposed to do with them now?  Seriously, they have no other discernable use, do I just keep them in my closet, hoping they will come back in fashion, or post them on Ebay as a group lot with no reserve?
  4. Friday Night Drinks.  On multiple occasions I have been turned away from bars on a Friday night simply because I was wearing a tie, or so the Bouncers will have me believe.
  5. What knot? Not only do you have to match the tie with your shirt, keep the food off it and match the tie with the prevailing fashion – which bloody knot are you supposed to tie? According to the internet there are over a dozen ways to tie ties!!!! The ‘Four-in-Hand’, the ‘Half Windsor, Full Windsor, or Double Windsor’ the ‘Classic School Boy’ – the list goes on and on….. and on…


So, I say to you – think very carefully before you impose or enforce a Tie Policy in the recruitment workplace.  A tie does not impair, or enhance our ability to efficiently work with your clients and candidates.  A tie is not a status symbol, and a tie is certainly not comfortable… What a tie is…. Is superfluous to needs… much like a third nipple.

Views: 792

Comment by Tim Spagnola on January 18, 2012 at 11:14am

Craig - nice to see you back. As someone that had to wear a tie everyday of High School and later with my first firm I loved this post. #3 made me laugh so much because the other day I had to attend a meeting and wear a tie and I was joking w/. my Wife by breaking out some of my old (real old) ties. We are talking skinny ties, leather ties, knit ties (yes knit), and the silly festive ones. And #4? Hahahah - why not move up to your forehead as a decorative headband? Perhaps then the bouncers will let you slip in. I joke, but have actually seen that before. Thanks for making me smile and sharing this post.

Comment by Valentino Martinez on January 18, 2012 at 1:29pm


Welcome back and please know--none of the following cited material here was sourced through Wikipedia due to that information source being shutdown today for political reasons.

A Tie, or cravat, by any other name is still a Tie that binds us to a rich tradition...starting as a military uniform fashion accessory

The Tie's origin is interesting...

the largest cravat in the world, weighing 450 kg, 808 m long, maximal width 25 m, tied around Arena in Pula, Istria, Croatia. The knot itself was tied at the height of 21 meters, and was 15 meters wide!

Ivan Gundulic (1589-1638) with his cravat in 1622. Source: Acadmia Cravatica.

The earliest known usage of cravat in history is by Ivan Gundulic (1589-1638), a famous Croatian poet from the City of Dubrovnik. Note that Gundulic died the year when the French emperor Louis XIV was born.

Croatian soldiers served in many European armies since the seventeenth century. So in the French army in the 17th century, during the reign of Louis XIII, there was a cavalry composed exclusively of the Croats, called Royal - Cravate, which existed in the period of 1664-1789. These soldiers gave the world something that is today unavoidable in fashion: the tie, called la cravate by the French and by the Germans die Krawatte - the expression was coined from the Croatian name, and mentioned for the first time in 1651. The name entered also

  • the Italian language - Cravatta
  • Spanish - Corbata
  • Filipino - Korbata
  • Portuguese - Gravata
  • Croatian - Kravata
  • Irish - Carabhat
  • English - Cravat
  • Welsh - Crafat
  • Swedish - Kravatt
  • Finnish - Kravatti
  • Flemish - Krawaat
  • Danish - Kravata
  • Dutch - Kravata
  • Estonian - Kravata
  • Greek - Gravata, γραβάτα
  • Polish - Krawat
  • Ukrainian - Kravatka
  • Czech - Krava
Comment by Valentino Martinez on January 18, 2012 at 1:36pm


  • Slovakian - Kraváta
  • Albanian: Kravatë
  • Romanian - Cravată
  • Turkish - Kravat

and many other. So when you wear a tie, remember its Croatian origin.

Many variants of the Croatian name can be found in old documents (for more information see eg. [Klaic, Hrvati i Hrvatska]):

Hrvat, Horvat, Harvat, Chorvat, Charvat,
Crovat, Cravat (-> cravate), Crobat, Corbat, Krabat,
Charwath, Crawat, Krawat, Churbate, Grawat,
Charwaten, Corbetha, Curewate, Corwate,
Chrowat, Crowat, etc.

In Italy one can encounter the second names of Cravati, Cravatti, Cravetto, Cravedi, Craviotto, Croattimi, Croatto, obviously all of them derived from the Croatian name. You can easily check this in Italian phone books.

And now for Tie Humor...

Apologies for hijacking yet another blog post needing a little livening UP!

Comment by Doug Boswell on January 18, 2012 at 5:58pm

Yes, I'm wearing a tie right now. And I like it. When I see men not wearing ties in a business setting, I think to myself, there goes another wanker who thinks they're a rebel, a free man, a person who takes pride in their individuality. Probably can't even pick out a tie that goes with their suit. Probably can't make the proper knot on the first try. Probably spills food on it and doesn't realize that the tie just saved his shirt from a bad grease stain. Easy to keep a couple extra ties in the desk drawer, but not so easy to keep a few shirts there. What a pathetic wanker indeed. Am I'm I better than you because I always wear a tie? No. But I think I am. 

Comment by Craig Watson on January 18, 2012 at 8:57pm

@Tim - I'd love to see a photo of you in your 'knit tie'! @Jason I went to a client meeting this morning with 2 'C' level contacts.  I thought I should wear the tie.... Guess What??  They weren't wearing one.... Epic fail by me, not following my own advice!!!

Comment by Craig Watson on January 18, 2012 at 8:58pm

@Tino - I really don't know what to say.....Your attention to detail is one of your most redeeming features...

Comment by Craig Watson on January 18, 2012 at 9:03pm

@Doug Sorry, I think you misunderstood me - I am talking about 'neck ties' not 'leather bondage ties'.... I hope I am sharing the same sarcasm sandwich you are enjoying and I haven't offended you! :)

Comment by Bill Schultz on January 18, 2012 at 11:00pm

I quit smoking, ties and my job that induced smoking and required ties in 2002.   Doug is better than me, especially if he smokes.  

Comment by Doug Boswell on January 19, 2012 at 12:43pm

No Craig, I did understand that you meant neck-tie. Here in California we don't use the term "leather bondage ties", we say "leather bondage straps". And as it so happens I am presently wearing only a blue diagonally stripped tie with maroon highlights while my ankles are strapped to the legs of my chair and I am being slathered in warm maple syrup. As fun as that sounds, as soon as I finish typing this the real fun begins as I have my arms secured to a rough oak cross-beam mounted to the back of my chair with stout leather straps and my Vice President of Operations sits in my lap, takes all my calls for the next hour and says in her most stern and assertive voice, "I'm sorry, Mr. Boswell is tied up at the moment and will have to call you back later". Yeah, baby! 

Comment by Doug Boswell on January 19, 2012 at 12:44pm

Bill... depends on just exactly what you mean by "smokin' ".


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