Guest blog post by Melissa Martini, Project Manager
I still remember the first time my manager implied my clothing was “unprofessional.” I was wearing a tank top – a sleeveless blouse, really – and apparently, that wasn’t ok. While the comment was ridiculous (most of all because she was wearing the same thing the next day), it made me believe that I had to dress a certain way to be professional.
There are plenty of normal things that we deem unprofessional. It’s no secret that we’ve all been wearing sweatpants as bottoms during our video calls as we work from home, so why are we still pretending that “professional” has a dress code? When I was told my appearance should match how professional I am, I realized clothes don’t actually matter – I was performing professionally despite what I looked like, so what’s it matter what I wear?
Sweatpants aren’t the only things we thought weren’t allowed at work – emojis are making their way into the workplace nowadays, too. As a writer, I can appreciate just how much language grows, evolves, and changes throughout the years. We started off by drawing pictures on cave walls and eventually learned how to craft entire alphabets, incorporating words into our vocabulary and shifting as trends and the ways we use language advance.
Imagining Emojis: An Unprofessional Addition?
And now we are back to communicating via pictures – the emoji was born many years ago in the form of smiley faces we’d send to each other in emails and instant messages. Emojis came to be thanks to Shigetaka Kurita, “who as an employee of NTT DoCoMo back in the day, sought to revolutionize Japan’s means of communication.”
Now, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t adorn their text messages with emojis, the range of options expected to grow to 3460 this year. The one place I wasn’t expecting to see emojis? Job posts. Yes, you read that right – I stumbled upon a job post that included emojis instead of bullets. I’m not a fan of a long list of bullets – Kat has taught me well – but I’ll admit, when I saw the list of emojis? I smiled.
There are some folks who believe that while “you may like these funny emojis,” that there is “no place for ‘fun or cuteness’ in the corporate world.” Despite some people thinking emojis are unprofessional and not something to be used in the workplace, I’m not the only one who feels positively about emojis being used in a professional environment. In a survey conducted by Adobe, 61% of respondents noted that they use emojis at work. And guess what? 74% feel that emojis make a positive impression, while when it comes to likability and credibility, 78% and 63% respectively believe emojis have a positive impact on the workplace.
“There are definitely times when emojis are not appropriate, but when interacting with candidates on social platforms, it’s the best opportunity for even the most serious of companies to show their personalities a little bit. Especially now, when most hiring operations are taking place online, emojis have become an extra layer of emotion to make up for the lack of handshaking and other valuable interactions that happen when meeting face to face.”Via TalkPush.com
Can Emojis Humanize Job Posts?
If there’s one thing Kat has taught me, it’s that job posts are often too long – they end up being wordy and boring, and it’s difficult to keep a candidate engaged long enough to read the entire job post. This leaves candidates unsure of what they’re even applying for, and companies dealing with unqualified candidates. Job posts have to be written for humans with relatable word choices and content – language that your candidates can understand.
And as a tech-savvy iPhone user that grew up using the Internet, I understand this language and believe emojis could make job posts more accessible.
Truth: I wanted to hate the inclusion of emojis. I really, really did. But honestly? I loved it. Don’t get me wrong – the rest of the job post had its issues. I mean, there was a food pun in the list of core values next to a bacon emoji. But seeing a tiny animated image instead of a bullet point kept my attention and I read the entire job post. Yes, I even read their About Us section…
“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.”Via Undercover Recruiter
How To Use Emojis in Job Posts
There are a multitude of ways you can use emojis to attract candidates. The Undercover Recruiter suggests incorporating them into your recruitment campaigns and job titles – specifically to attract certain types of talent. Companies are using emojis in their advertising campaigns to attract engineers, developers, and other emoji-fluent candidates!
We all know it’s not easy for recruiters to find the perfect candidate, but that’s only half the battle – once a great candidate has been found, you need to make sure they respond to your initial outreach and each and every one of your follow ups. And guess what? Not only are emojis cute, but they also increase click and read rates. Job ads and outreach that includes emojis is more likely to be read and responded to.
And once you get those candidates you wanted, you can keep them engaged by using emojis. Studies have shown that candidate re-engagement, especially via follow-up emails, is increased by emoji use. Not only do messages including emojis have an 80% higher open rate, they’re proven to increase conversions by 9%. Oh, and those employer branding images you added to your job posts? Emojis are 9% more effective than pictures, too. Emojis encourage candidates to complete their applications fully.
My favorite reason to use emojis in your job posts, though? Promoting diversity and inclusion. Emojis can alleviate any alienation felt from reading your job posts that words might cause. There are plenty of job titles that alienate women and non-binary people, like “salesman,” “chairman,” “fireman,” and more – the list can go on. By incorporating emojis into your job posts, you can rely less on words and instead shift the content to be more visual. Because emojis are an international language, you’ll naturally attract a larger talent pool.
“Certain words, attitudes, and emotions are associated with one gender, race, sexual orientation over others. Language is complicated like that — with emojis you don’t have to think so hard about it.”Via TalkPush.com
This isn’t to say emojis can’t be overused in a job post – they can’t replace words and phrases entirely, and should be used to add something rather than replace something. There shouldn’t be more emojis in your job post than punctuation marks. If you’re going to give emojis in your job post a shot, it has to be done delicately and intentionally – not drastically and overdone.
So what do you think?
👍Do you like emojis in job posts?
👎Do you hate emojis in job posts?
😶Are you indifferent towards emojis in job posts?
Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.