We’ve all seen the Twitter threads. Experienced designers will post screenshots of emails they receive from recruiters, complaining about the quality of the message or the morals of the company reaching out. While some of these critiques may be valid, the threads themselves are often a bit insensitive. Complaining? Publicly? About someone proactively trying to hire you? Someone you didn’t have to fight tooth and nail to give you the time of day? Yikes.
Instead of complaining about or ignoring these messages, I encourage you to think of them as an opportunity. Recruiters are responsible for keeping their pipelines moving. Pipelines in tech are notoriously white and male.
If you’re privileged enough to get recruiting emails, consider taking a small, nearly automated step towards better representation in tech design by setting up a template response in Gmail. In your template, include links to directories focused on highlighting accomplished but underrepresented design talent.
My own inbox is far from inundated with recruiting emails. But I do get some from time to time. When responding, I use the following Gmail template:
Thanks for thinking of me and reaching out!
I’m not currently interested in taking on anything new, but I do feel strongly about helping companies diversify their design teams. To that end, I built Women Who Design to help recruiters and hiring managers find talent more easily. Of course, examining diversity along the axis of gender is one small piece of the puzzle. I also recommend checking out:
- API Who Design
- Blacks Who Design
- Filipinos Who Design
- Indians Who Design
- Latinxs Who Design
- People of Craft
- Queer Design Club
If you’d like to reach more diverse audiences with your job listings directly, Women Who Design also has a job board.
Best of luck in your candidate search and I’d love to stay in touch if my situation changes.
An earlier version of this post included a less inclusive list of sibling directories. I’ve updated the template above to reflect a broader group of resources looking to highlight underrepresented talent.
Setting up a Gmail template
To set up my template, I followed the instructions from Hubspot’s How to Create a Gmail Canned Response in Under 60 Seconds article:
- In Gmail, click the Gear icon, then click ‘Settings’
- Click the tab that says ‘Advanced’
- Click ‘Enable’ on the ‘Templates’ prompt
- Start a new email by hitting ‘Compose’ in the upper left-hand corner of your inbox
- Type the email message you’d like to save as a template
- Click the three dots icon on the bottom right-hand corner of the compose window, hover over ‘Templates,’ ‘Save draft as template,’ and then click ‘Save as new template’
- Name your template
Using the template
Now that I have my template, replying to a recruiting message I’m not interested in pursuing takes less than 10 seconds.
- Open the recruiting email and press the ‘Reply’ button
- Click the three dots icon on the bottom right-hand corner of the compose window, hover over ‘Templates,’ then click on the template name.
- After the response is pasted, just click ‘Send’.
Will this fix all of tech’s diversity, equity and inclusion issues? Of course not. But it’s a small, easy step in the right direction.