Talent Acquisition

5 Ways to Use Emojis in Recruitment

Nowadays it’s virtually impossible to send a text, instant message or email without using an emoji ever since they exploded in to our digital worlds in the late 90s.

The man behind them is Shigetaka Kurita, who as an employee of NTT DoCoMo back in the day, sought to revolutionize Japan’s means of communication. And the rest as they say.. is history.

While most are used amongst friends and family, they are increasingly being used in the world of recruitment from hiring to firing.

1. Recruitment campaigns

In 2015 a number of companies used emojis in their recruitment campaigns. One of the most high-profile company’s to do it was the beauty group L’Oreal. It launched a campaign asking people to apply for jobs with them using just emojis.

2. Job title

Last year a UK translation company advertised for an “Emoji Translator” and the response was huge. It was advertised as a consultant role and CEO and Founder Jurga Zilinskiene says they’re ready to place someone in the job imminently. She said:

All the media coverage the advert generated resulted in us receiving well over 400 applicants. Of course this took quite some time for us to process, so we are still in the interview stage at the moment, but the shortlisted candidates look very promising.

The internet allows you to connect with people in every country of the world, and the biggest brands often have local teams to handle marketing and PR in any given country. If you’re not a multinational, then you will need help to translate your message for foreign markets. But what if you publish a great message, only to find out the emoji you included doesn’t mean what you think it did? Or even has quite negative connotations in a particular country or region? For example, the ‘thumbs up’ is very offensive in the Middle East. That’s why we need a specialist.

3. Attracting the right talent

Some companies have used emojis to recruit a specific type of talent to their company. Irish software company Intercom used emojis in its advertising campaign in a bid to attract Dublin-based engineers, developers and other emoji-fluent people to the company. It placed poster adverts along the commuter routes that lead into Dublin’s “Silicon Docks” area where companies like Facebook, Google and Airbnb, among others, are based.

But emojis weren’t only used to attract technical staff, a French advertising agency used them in an online video campaign called ‘Guess the ad, get the job’ to try to get the best creative talent through its doors.

4. Increase response rate

A survey by Jobvite found that 43% of job seekers use mobile devices for their job search and people are searching for jobs anytime, anywhere. In fact, a recruitment firm in New Zealand was born out of the fact that more people are using their phones than their computers for the first time ever. Erik Kostelnik, is TextRecruit’s Co-Founder and CEO. He says:

When used correctly, emojis are a great way to break the ice and add personality to candidate communications. Recruiters that use emojis in their texts experience higher response rates because their messages become more personalized, making it that much easier for a candidate to quickly respond. One of the most successful TextRecruit stories is the U.S. Marine Corps who included American Flag emojis in their texts, which served as a great call to action for recruits and drove a tremendous response in their hiring campaigns.

5. Candidate feedback

Now technically this isn’t one of the best ways to give candidate feedback (and we’ll come on to why in a bit) but there are some recruitment companies who have started using emojis to discuss potential candidates.

Lever introduced this last year as a way for co-workers to use them to do just that. Leela Srinivasan is the Chief Marketing Officer at Lever. She says:

Lever allows for the use of emojis in notes on the candidate profile, because hiring is a team sport. The combination of @-mentioning and emojis serve to engage more of the team in sharing feedback, and in general, we see overall team engagement in hiring skyrocket when customers roll out Lever, because we make it so easy (and fun) to participate.

It’s not possible to push that to the candidate however, since candidate communications are pushed from a different part of the platform. You can’t @-mention a candidate, only your team mates. Once a candidate is hired, their profile is locked and access is restricted only to those with specific Admin access, so even as a hire you can’t access feedback about yourself.

emoji feedback

But even using emojis to discuss candidates with colleagues can sometimes prove risky. A British teenager was recently rejected for a job as a waitress in a steak restaurant via an emoji. The company claimed it was sent in error and that it was meant to be sent to a co-worker and had to issue an apology.

Have you ever used emojis to discuss clients or candidates? Or maybe you’ve found a better use for them. Tell is in the comments section (with our without emojis).

By Ushma Mistry

Editor & Content Strategist at Link Humans, download our new eBook now: Measuring Employer Brand: The Ultimate Guide and check out our latest product The Employer Brand Index.