Giving recruiters a fun way to talk-shop in Slack
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.
Create recruitment-themed emojis that can be installed in Slack, the popular workplace chat platform.
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.
Designing the “purple squirrel” emoji. A purple squirrel is recruiter-slang for an impossibly-perfect candidate.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!