Should a coder wear a tie to an interview?

I'm not a programmer, but was having a debate with someone who said they felt like male coders should wear a tie, possibly even a suit, for job interviews. 

His argument was, even if it's an interview with a startup, people who are dressed professionally are taken more seriously. 

My argument was, I may have less faith in their coding ability the better they dress. 

Not that I think they should look sloppy, but they should look the part. 

What's your thoughts? 

  • You already know the answer, and are just looking for us to tell you you’re right.

    The choice of clothing during an interview is just about what you want to signal to the interviewer. A programmer in a suit will look out of place when the everybody else is wearing sandals, shorts, and branded tees. The inverse is also true, obviously.

    If the programmer chooses poorly he probably won’t get the job because of a “poor culture fit”.

    To put it simply, a tailored suit can be less appropriate than a Cheetos stained hoodie. This isn’t because one is objectively better than the other, but because the choice of clothes signals what “tribe” you belong to.

  • The previous commenter said it but to add to it. It depends on the company. If you’re applying to work at a bank vs a consumer internet company like Yahoo. For a bank you’d better dress up a bit. For Yahoo you can pretty much dress as you like.

  • With tech ppl it ranges from shorts and flip flops to a suit. There’s no one rule that works in every situation.

    I would never count it against a coder if they wore a suit, but it would be kinda weird since I almost always wear jeans. (Tech startup founder)

    What’s most important is if they are a culture fit and bring the skills to help push the impact forward.

  • As a founder, my ethos is dress comfortably but appropriately. Even our financial guys don’t have to wear ties. Shorts is fine for a programmer, but I wouldn’t hire someone that wore flip flops to a job interview period. No matter the position, a job interview is a business negotiation.

    • You’ve clearly never worked at a highly selective organization. Drawing the line between shorts and flip flops is absurd. You’ll never be able to hire anybody even close to my level.

      • Not the commenter above. I’ve never seen anyone come into an interview with a flip-flop, but if I do I agree with the commenter above that I won’t be giving him the job regardless of his skill level.

        Secondly don’t flatter yourself. Your co-workers probably can’t stand you and your employer will probably fail because they’re unable to contain a prima-donna.

  • The whole dressing thing is BS. That’s basically having the same prejudice about the well dressed programmer that Wall Street had on Zuckerberg. The principal is always look beyond looks.

  • Years ago when I interviewed an Hewlett-Packard, I showed up to the interview in a full suit and tie. Everyone interviewing me was wearing jeans, t-shirts, college sweat shirts, shorts, sandals, tennis shoes etc. they were very casual. I took off my sports coat, took off my tie, untucked and undid the top 2 buttons of my dress shirt and felt much more comfortable. The bottom line, you can go from business to casual easier than you can go from casual to business.

    Later I became a technical interviewer at Hewlett-Packard and for over 4 years I interviewed dozens of people for software engineering positions. How someone dressed made NO difference in how we ranked them. We interviewed great engineers from Microsoft, IBM, Oracle etc. who wore shorts and t-shirts as well as 3 piece suits. It never mattered. Your resume, and your experience was the only thing we looked at.

  • I really think what matters is that you are “comfortable.” Not so much that the clothes aren’t tight, but that you feel you are expressing yourself by wearing them. Fidgeting in a suit is 10x worse than being in jeans and never thinking about what you are wearing, so that you can focus 100% on giving your best interview.

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