Applicant with beer can necktie

 I just interviewed a recent college grad from a name school with impressive creditials, skills, and recommendations.  He gave well thought-out answers to my questions, was well groomed, and had an engaging personality.

 However, as I talked with him I noticed that his necktie's pattern was repeated Guinness beer cans!

Should I ignore this, think that he grabbed the wrong tie by mistake, or cross him off the list as a potential substance abuse problem?


  • 19 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  •  My instinct would be to write it off to immaturity.  Maybe it was just a misifre on his part in attempting  to let his (fun-loving?) 'personality' shine through. He may not have yet shaken his college mindset where people would be amused by such attire.

    Does that necessarily mean he's not a good fit for the position?  It probably depends very much on the nature of the job and on what your expectations are as an employer.  What type of qualities does he need to have on the job?  Will he be in contact with customers/representing the company?

    I wouldn't write him off just yet, or assume that he's got a potential problem with alcohol, even if he chose the tie on purpose (I can't see someone grabbing such a tie 'by mistake'). My guess is that he is  young and simply needs to learn more about what is and isn't appropriate on the job and that you need to determine how big of a barrier that is to his employment at your company. 



  • I don't think that you can assume that he has a substance abuse problem...I would guess that it's more of an inapproriate wardrobe choice than anything else. If he's qualified and your company really wants to hire him, you can always just point out your company's dress code (i.e. professional dress) when you go through your handbook with him.

  • Guinness tie? Brilliant! Seriously, it was a case of poor judgment, but you don't want to draw any other conclusions.  One reason is that the Americans with Disabilities Act protects people who have a problem with alcohol from discrimination. 
  • I totally agree with CountryGirl.  Perhaps he just has to learn what is appropriate for the office and what is not.  I think we have to remember that he just came from college where there is no dress code and before that high school, again, where there is no dress code.  He just may have to be reminded that there is a dress code in the workplace.
  • This reminds me of an applicant we once had for an entry level professional position. The applicant had his personal email address on his resume and it was something like LilBudster. Made me wonder if he maybe considered having an email address for his job search that wouldn't be interpreted as linked to college beer drinking! These are all things young people should be learning before they get to the interview.
  • I believe that the candidate's creditials, skills and recommendations is far more important that what he wore.  Maybe it is his "lucky" tie.  There is any number of reasons that we can speculate on.  What is important is can he do the job?
  • I agree with most of the others - it was probably either bad judgement or immaturity.  If his credentials, skills and recommendations are up to par, hire him - just make sure he understands the office dress code.
  • I am impressed that he actually wore a necktie in this day and age, I rarely see that. I would definitely vote for immaturity. He probably wanted to see if you would even notice. If his qualifications are up to snuff definitely give him a chance, spending some time on professionalism in conduct, appearance, etc. during orientation.
  • Just learned of a website for recent grads telling them how to act on their job interviews--it's called Ditch the Flip Flops.  Wonder if it mentions beer can ties!
  • I wouldn't hold it against him.   Maybe it was a tactic to be memorable?    Immaturity is what I would chalk it up to be, it was probably a cool tie to his buddies and hasn't learned enough about the work world yet to realize it was not an appropriate choice.
  • Young and immature.  If he's a good candidate, don't let his poor choice in ties sway your judgement.
  • I assume you don't work for a beer company?  It was definitely inappropriate.  I would recommend bringing him back for a 2nd interview to give him another shot.  Also, whether you decide to hire him or not, let him know that his tie wasn't well received so he won't make the same mistake again.
  • I agree, I think before he left my office, I would have clued him in on his poor choice of ties for an interview especially.  Reminds me of the time that I was replying to a potential candidate that applied for an opening on our web site.  He responded initially with his resume, I had asked a questions or two, and on his second reply to me (I am a female by the way) he began his reply by addressing me as "Oh Honey"    I was speechless!    I very calmly replied as to his information, then I very nicely told him that to address me as "Honey" was inappropriate and that he might in the future not do this if he expected to be considered for a job.  I have no idea where some people come from.
  • He may be of Irish descent and/or loves everything Irish, including the famous Guinness beer from Ireland.  I happen to be going on vacation to Ireland & I want to buy souveniers for friends & family.  That tie may have some special meaning to the applicant for whatever reason.  If you run background checks and drug & alcohol screenings, the applicant could come up squeeky clean or you could find arrests for public drunkeness etc.
  • I'll play the devil's advocate. A tie is one of the few ways a male has to personalize his wardrobe. My bright, conservative, well educated, generally mannered husband goes for some unusual ties at times - a mouse playing at his keyboard, flowers, or some abstract pattern. If the pattern wasn't that obvious and it took me a while to discern it, I might have said, "That's an unusal choice of ties for an interview" to see what type of reply I got. If the tie was inappropriate for the given workplace, I'd mention that as well. Conversely, I once hired a candidate after candid conversation on the need to improve his wardrobe for the workplace. It was a very difficult tenure and he never met our expectations. 
  • I think that telling him of his poor choice will be a little harsh on a young man who might be having his first job interview. I would rather give him a caring advise or guidance to take care of the formal dress code for his future benefit.
  • Was his resume professional? How about the rest of his appearance? I would mention the necktie being a poor choice even if he is not hired. If you do intend to hire him, a background check is a definite. 
  • Overall college students are that way!  Often times they don't think about how much thier outfit impacts what is coming out of thier mouth.  Dressing for work can be a tricky thing, however, I go back to the old rule...dress for the job you want, not the job you have!  I wouldn't write him off as a potential candidate for the position, however, I would make sure that the company dress code policy is clearly explained during his Orientation.  I would also take a quick walk around and see if others have become dress code lax in the same way!  It never hurts to re-issue a policy to keep things fresh in people's minds.
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