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Recruiting-themed Emojis

Giving recruiters a fun way to talk-shop in Slack


Client: “Recruiting Life,” a digital magazine run by recruiting-services company Recruiting Social


Project duration: 3 days


Team: Solo project


Skills: Icon design, UI design, Sketch, WordPress


See the landing page


Download the emoji set (ZIP)

Recruitmojis recruiting-themed emojis in a Slack messenger app conversaton.

The emojis used in a Slack conversation.


A lot of recruiters out there live and breath recruitment – they love what they do. But most content, tools, and resources targeted at folks in the industry is all business. To celebrate the holiday season, Recruiting Social wanted to surprise and delight recruiting teams with a fun little gift.


The challenge:


Create recruitment-themed emojis that can be installed in Slack, the popular workplace chat platform.


Desired outcomes:


  • Talent acquisition teams want to install and use the emojis

  • Prompt social media buzz




  • Useable as custom emojis in Slack

  • Metaphors and symbols that recruiters understand

  • Identifiable at small sizes/low resolutions


First, I looked to see what, if any, recruitment-themed emojis or icon sets already existed. There were only a couple, all low quality, and clearly not intended for actual use. Even still, I noted common ideas.

Next, I spoke with several recruiters about their work. I captured frequently-repeated terms, jargon, and phrases. For example, a “purple squirrel” is slang for an impossibly-perfect candidate and a “pipeline” is a list of interested job candidates.

Finally, I looked up open source emoji kits to get stylistic inspiration and discovered Twitter’s simple and attractive Twemoji.




I brainstormed as many concepts as possible, writing down terms, symbols, metaphors, and word associations. I refined my list, then ran it past a couple recruiters for feedback. With their input, I refined the list further, down to 33 concepts.



I searched for and collected research images, and produced rough thumbnails for most of the concepts. Then, I moved into Sketch. Using Twitter’s Twemoji as an aesthetic touchstone and source for a color palette, I began assembling the individual emoji designs.

Emoji design in Sketch

Designing the “purple squirrel” emoji. A purple squirrel is recruiter-slang for an impossibly-perfect candidate.

Artwork assessment:


Next, I reviewed each concept individually. Critical considerations:

  • Does the emoji evoke the intended term?

  • Does the pictograph strike the right balance between simplicity and detail?

  • Are the shapes distinguishable at small sizes?

  • Do the colors and whitespace provide sufficient contrast?

  • Overall, is the emoji visually pleasing?


Collection assessment:


Then, I assessed the collection as a whole:

  • Are the emojis aesthetically cohesive?

  • Are any concepts redundant or too obscure?

  • Are there any missing terms or ideas?




The concepts were scaled back to a final 28 emojis that were then refined and finalized.

Recruitmoji final artwork in Skech

Final selection of emojis, along with several rejected designs.



While the emojis themselves were complete, a key criterion of the project was that they must be usable in Slack. So, I wrote a plain text README file with installation instructions.

Landing page:


The package was then compressed into a ZIP file.  Finally, I wrote, designed, and coded a WordPress-based landing page on to promote the “Recruitmojis.”

Recruitmoji landing page design

The WordPress-based landing page.


What I learned:


This project was definitely a crash-course in icon design! I learned about symbology, conveying tone, achieving a recognizable result, and meeting technical specs.

Biggest challenges:

Paring down the concepts to 28 broadly-relevant options was tough. Translating certain common terms and concepts into graphic symbols was also a big challenge (for example, “accepted offer” and “declined offer”).

What I’d do differently next time:


I didn’t incorporate sufficient padding into the emojis. This sometimes created awkward spacing in Slack when used next to text or other emojis.

My favorite step:


Using the emojis in Slack for the first time!

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