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.


About Craig Watson rec-to-rec

My 15 years experience in the commercial recruitment industry has allowed me to form deep and successful networks. Until now the Rec2Rec industry has failed to deliver adequately to its clients. The simple solution is that I will respond to your specific business requirements by understanding them. My philosophy is less Rec2Rec and more Rec4Rec. In my Training and HR business I hve worked with some of the largest organisations in Asia Pacific - providing HR strategic consulting aligning people and culture needs with commercial requirements. I have a proven background in Rec2Rec, HR Strategic Management, Career Training and Recruitment, Senior Management (National Level) with extensive People Management and Training/Mentoring experience. Over a career spanning 15 Years I have gained my experience at HMS (UK), Adecco, Hallis, Drake, Accel and most recently my own venture - HeadStart. I am at cutting edge of Rec2Rec, Training, HR and Recruitment best practice - with additional experience in Organisational Development, Retention, Reward and Recognition Initiatives. In the current recruitment industry landscape of various cultures, expectations and job descriptions, allow me to help you in navigating your next career move. I have consulted to leading organisations as to HR solutions strategy across a breadth of industries - aligning expectation with reality.
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2 Responses to Recruiters…Tied Up, or free the shackles…

  1. Mike Law says:

    Hi Craig…. Good write up….. I think it would depend on the expectations of firstly your client and secondly of the persons you are recruiting. I recruit in the mining industry so ties are only for weddings and frequent court appearances (depending on legal advice). I don’t wear ties, not just for the reasons you have alluded to, but because it help create a bond with the candidate and sets them more at ease in the interviews. I have also stopped wearing bowler hats, cod pieces and no longer carry pistols or swords.

  2. anna says:

    Hi Craig. Sounds like you are happy to be back at work after your little jurney back… I totally agree with you, especially about the matching part. For me it is absolutely dreadful when men wear ties and you can tell they would have never worn one if their manager had not asked them to do so! It is hard to make it a company policy though: how can you tell who should wear a tie because he knows how to wear it, and who shouldn’t?!? I could say the same with women’s heels…So, it’s probably best to get rid of them, at least in the recruitment industry, and maybe substitute them with a stronger stress on professionalism and recruitment skills!!!

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