Okay, after hearing about all of the TikTok recruiting buzz, I thought it was finally time to take a deep dive into it. I am not a TikTok user (despite being a millennial), so I thought for the purpose of this blog, I must download the app! Upon login, I was immediately blasted with a video. It took a moment to orient myself as random videos flashed on my screen, but soon after I was swiftly navigating around the app. I checked out trending hashtags and videos, then unexpectedly, I found myself laughing aloud! From men doing dramatic jumps off of ledges for pizza rolls waiting for them at home, to a woman recording a video about the co-worker you are annoyed with during Zoom® meetings, I was easily (and quickly) entertained.
I then decided to get serious, and search for “career advice”, since that was a recent hashtag trending on TikTok (and that is probably a bit more relevant for this blog than a video showing someone running home for pizza rolls.) What I thought would be a series of more serious videos, were actually more videos that made me laugh out loud! I wasn’t expecting career advice to be both educational and entertaining! Could TikTok really be a good place for recruiters to dabble into, I thought?
In this blog, we will take a look at what TikTok could mean for recruiters: Is it really the right platform to be recruiting on? What are the benefits of using it? What kind of videos do you post on it? What are somethings you need to consider before using it? We will look into all of these questions and even explore the rumored new job service that TikTok is currently piloting.
First, what is TikTok?
Before downloading the app, I knew what TikTok was, but you never really know how it works until you use it first-hand. If you are very much not familiar with TikTok, it is a social media application that allows you to create short form videos. To your videos you can add effects, filters, increase speed, add a background, splice videos together, and more! If you are viewing videos, you can view by topic, trending hashtags, search for hashtags or topics, and even follow users. You will find all sorts of videos on the application from dancing videos, to pranks, to how to videos, to videos for just pure comedy. There is not one type of TikTok video out there!
That’s cool, but what’s all the buzz about?
In 2020, TikTok became the most downloaded app worldwide, overtaking Facebook, Instagram, and Zoom(1). The App Annie State of Mobile report shows TikTok is currently on track to hit 1.2 billion active users in 2021. Demographic wise, 78% of TikTok users are under 39 with 30% falling between the ages of 20-29 based on a recent report published by Statista(2). While the age group is younger, what is important to note is that Millennials and Gen Z’s are becoming the largest demographic in the workforce as Baby Boomers retire. Millennials have already become the largest group of professionals in the U.S. Labor Force, making up 1/3 of employees(3).
If one thing is for certain from these stats, TikTok usage is rapidly on the rise, especially for younger generations. Companies want to be able to get in front of the right candidates for opportunities, which is why more companies have flocked to TikTok, where the largest demographic in the workforce is spending their time.
How are companies using TikTok for recruitment?
Despite what the statistics show, TikTok can still seem like an unusual place to spend time recruiting candidates. How do you approach potential candidates on TikTok? What kind of videos should you post? Below are a few different video ideas that companies can try to attract talent:
Promote Jobs Using Hashtags
HBO promoted a job on TikTok using the hashtag #HBOMaxsummerintern and received 300 applications(4). The clothing brand Hollister also experimented with TikTok to recruit job applicants. They created a promo video with singer Montana Tucker to encourage applications for a social media position. Job applicants were encouraged to use the hashtag #HCoHireMe and post a video that brings a t-shirt to life.
While you may not be a large corporation like HBO or Hollister, these are good examples of some of the ways you can use hashtags on TikTok to either complement a video you are posting about a job or encourage others to post a video using your hashtag.
Tips and Career Advice
Companies can also post videos offering job search tips and career advice. When I searched for “career advice” on TikTok, a whole plethora of videos popped up! The ones with the highest views though made the videos engaging. They don’t necessarily have to be comedic, but you want them to be fast-paced and captivating. Videos that are 60 seconds or less are ideal. TikTok videos can only be 15 seconds long (when recording on TikTok), but you can string 4 15 second videos together. You can make these videos interesting by adding text, filters, and backgrounds. If you are stringing 15 second videos together, you can even consider using different backgrounds or shooting them from different locations.
This was an entertaining video I came across featuring tips on rewriting a retail resume! It’s engaging, comedic, but also really informative and offers good advice on ways to improve a retail resume. Here is another video that is short, has a sense of humor, but also enlightening on how to answer, “What’s your biggest weakness?”
Behind the Scenes/Day in the Life
Another kind of video that companies can record are “Behind the Scenes” or “Day in the Life” videos. If you want to promote a job, you can feature recruiters or other employees in that position discussing responsibilities and what it’s like to be in that role. You can also feature videos of what it’s like to work for your company in general and highlight your company culture.
Here is an example video from someone who works at TikTok and is recruiting for a Product Manager position. He discusses what a Product Manager’s role would be at TikTok.
Brand Awareness and Challenges
Companies can also post videos for just pure brand awareness! Is there anything fun you are doing at your company that is different and would make you stand out from your competitors? Perhaps it’s celebrations you are having at your office that highlights your company culture. Or maybe there is a challenge you are having at your office that you want to extend to others. Chipotle was one of the first companies to attract talent by going viral(5). The company posted a video that showed an employee landing a lid on a food container. This led to a lid-flip challenge that produced over 110,000 video submissions. Chipotle recognized TikTok’s impact on brand awareness and landed up creating a recruiting strategy just for TikTok.
TikTok is definitely a platform that allows you to get creative. Within your TikTok recruiting strategy, find ways to incorporate videos that sets your brand apart!
What are the benefits of using TikTok?
So far, we explored a few different video strategies to experiment with on TikTok, but you may be wondering what are the benefits of using TikTok in comparison to other more traditional recruiting methods. Here are some benefits:
Seeing and Hearing the Candidate
When you are surfing through a pile of resumes, you can’t tell the personality of each individual. Some may even blur together after a while and it’s hard to tell apart one from the next. TikTok allows candidates to post videos about themselves, which really allows you to understand the personality of each candidate, see the person, and feel their excitement for the position.
Humanizing Your Company
Besides seeing and hearing the candidate, it also allows companies to humanize your brand. Candidates can see recruiters talking to them face to face about the job, which can be more appealing than if that candidate would just be on your website reading the job description. It also gives candidates the opportunity to see the recruiter they would be working with before applying for the job.
Attracting Young Talent
TikTok is also a way for companies to reach a younger audience. If there is a certain industry that is struggling to attract young talent, TikTok could be a way to capture the attention of younger generations. As we know from the beginning of this article, over 78% of TikTok users are 39 and under, so it may be a sweet spot for companies to find those younger candidates. Contra, a job platform for freelance workers, said that between 80 and 90 percent of its Gen Z users arrived via its TikTok or Instagram Reels(4).
TikTok offers paid ads as well that allows you to target content based on gender, age, location, and interests. This gives you an opportunity to reach people that otherwise wouldn’t have come across your brand. If your content is relevant and captivating they will come back to your brand and maybe even follow you!
What should you consider before using TikTok?
As with everything, there are somethings you will want to consider before adding TikTok to your recruitment strategy. First and foremost, don’t use the wrong emoji! Okay maybe that is something you don’t need to seriously consider, but here is a funny video of someone using an emoji that makes them look old.
Okay, on to some more serious things to consider:
Videos Might Not Be Seen
TikTok chooses videos “For You” based on videos that you have liked, shared, re-watched, or commented on. It also shows videos to people based on location, so using location-based hashtags can help get your videos in front of people based on locations you are looking to target(6). This is good for the fact that you don’t need TikTok users to follow your company in order to be seen, however, since the content is so niche and targeted it may not show up in front of candidates.
Users Don’t Use TikTok Necessarily to Look for Jobs
While some job seekers might use TikTok for career advice, most users aren’t using TikTok with the intent of finding job opportunities. When someone uses LinkedIn® or views a job board, they go there with the intention of looking for job opportunities. Some users may be turned off by job-oriented content. A survey conducted by Tallo found that 63% of surveyed high school and college students said they would prefer employers to contact them on a professional social media site, such as LinkedIn(7). Some thought it was awkward to be messaged on TikTok about a job opportunity.
On the contrast, people have shown interest in content that focuses on career advice. This could be an area for companies to focus some of their content strategy on for brand awareness, in addition to, posting about job opportunities.
Not Everyone is Creative or Videogenic
If you are looking for candidates to submit videos for job opportunities, you will want to remember that not everyone is “videogenic” or enjoys taking videos of themselves. This may deter great candidates from applying because they don’t want to go through the process of creating a video. Also, it’s important to note that not everyone is good at taking videos or has the creative talent for it! A qualified candidate may give off the wrong impression if they submit a bad video because they aren’t used to talking on camera.
For a Younger Audience
While one of the advantages is that TikTok could help target younger talent, you also want to remember that a downside is that it is meant for a younger audience. You won’t be able to use TikTok to recruit for every position, especially if you are looking to recruit for a more senior level role. Some jobs may naturally be a better fit for an older demographic as well. Before advertising jobs on TikTok, you want to consider, if that opportunity is a good fit for a younger audience, otherwise it won’t be worth your time promoting it on TikTok.
TikTok’s New Job Service
In addition to ways companies can currently use TikTok for recruitment, sources tell Axios, that TikTok is piloting a new tool for companies to recruit candidates on. The program would allow companies to easily connect with candidates and candidates can use it to help them find jobs. The program wouldn’t be integrated within the TikTok app, but would instead be a separate webpage that can be accessed through TikTok. The service would allow candidates to post video resumes and give an elevator pitch, instead of submitting a traditional paper resume. The service is presently being tested by a beta group.
The idea for the job service was sparked by the hashtag #careeradvice, which gained strong momentum at the beginning of 2021 with more than 80 million views a day by the middle of February(4). TikTok then realized that the platform is not just for entertainment, but can be used to learn something new or gain a new skill. Time will tell whether the service will be launched, but TikTok activity shows there could be a demand for a TikTok Job Service, which would give companies even more reason to use the app for recruitment.
To use TikTok or not to use TikTok?
So, we come to the million-dollar question. Should TikTok be used for recruiting? The cliffhanger lies with you. As we can see there are both pros and cons of implementing TikTok into your recruiting strategy. If you want to experiment with it, I don’t see how any harm could be done, with the exception of not being able to gain back valuable time if it is unsuccessful. Before using it though, remember the items to consider, and also think about the demographic you are recruiting for. If most of your recruits are over the age of 40, then it might not be the best platform to try out, however, if you also recruit younger generations, it may be something to look into.
I will leave you with one last TikTok video and that is from an expert TikTok user himself on “How to be TikTok Famous!” (if you so choose to want to be!)
Photo Credit in order of appearance
1. Image 1: bloomicon – stock.adobe.com
2. Image 2: bloomicon – stock.adobe.com
3. Images 3 and 4: Adobe Stock
4. Image 5-7 and 9-10: Canva Pro
5. Image 8: Adobe Spark