TikTok is being used by lots of employers to reach Gen Z talent, says Adzuna’s head of data science James Neave. But it won’t replace traditional hiring platforms.
Apparently, companies are using the video sharing platform to recruit. If you’re a TikTok sceptic, forgive us, we didn’t start the trend.
According to people who study jobseeker data for a living, you might be missing out on talent if your company does not have a presence on TikTok. Unsurprisingly, this is particularly true of young talent; Gen Z does love the platform, after all.
As James Neave, head of data science at job search engine Adzuna, points out, Gen Z is already using TikTok as a search engine for everything else so it’s no surprise the platform is “also a go-to for Gen Z’s career questions”.
The wonderful world of #CareerTok
“The #jobsearch hashtag on TikTok has a colossal 4bn views, and #CareerTok has nearly 2bn views,” says Neave.
He explains that companies are using their own TikTok profiles to “push open roles and attract candidates”. Some have even hired ‘CareerTok’ influencers to post about open roles and give people insights on what working at a certain company is really like – albeit with a glossy filter applied.
“For example, Google has a handful of TikTok influencers creating content about life at Google, rather than maintaining a corporate account. They lift the lid on what it’s like to work at Google by posting behind-the-scenes videos.”
Other companies that Neave thinks are using CareerTok wisely include SheerLuxe, KPMG and Duolingo. “They are all using the #officelife hashtag to post content about what it’s like to work for them.”
Making recruitment a two-way conversation
It’s not a one-way conversation either. Lots of employers are taking advantage of the democratising features of social media to encourage jobseekers to contact them. Neave mentions fast food joint Chipotle’s ‘TikTok Resumes’ campaign, which asked jobseekers to submit video resumes. This campaign generated thousands of applications globally. The recruitment method was also trialled by Target and Shopify.
“Recruiters are creating hashtag challenges to drive engagement and are calling for users to create their own videos in response. This could entail asking users to create a 30-second video clip about why they would be a good fit working at the company,” Neave says. It’s certainly a different way of going about things.
TikTok for brand awareness, if nothing else
Another way employers are taking advantage of TikTok is through its features such as the ads manager, which shows content to certain targeted users based on demographics like location. This means that companies can pay to ensure their job ads are seen by relevant audiences as they try to recruit.
“In general, TikTok is a great platform for driving brand awareness and helping jobseekers become aware of a company – even if that isn’t how they are applying for a position,” says Neave. Duolingo is proof of this; SiliconRepublic.com’s chat a while back with the company’s Gen Z social media manager Zaria Parvez provided an interesting insight into how businesses can drive engagement with audiences using quirky internet cultural references. Unsurprisingly, she was a big proponent of TikTok.
Downsides to TikTok hiring
In terms of recruitment, however, Neave warns that there can be downsides to using TikTok. It’s not something employers should rely on exclusively. “TikTok is probably not the best platform to use to hire a senior specialist position. However, it can be a great tool for finding entry-level roles. It can be even better to use if the role you are trying to fill will involve the use of social media because in this case, hiring via TikTok can be an efficient way to screen for candidates that are comfortable using the platform.” It’s important to know your audience.
As Neave points out, “First, many TikTok users are on the platform to be entertained, rather than to look for a job, so many of the viewers may be irrelevant, which means time and money on campaigns could be wasted.
“Second, TikTok typically has a younger user base, which could limit the pool of talent you’re reaching.” On that point, it’s probably fair to assume that most employers know they aren’t going to be reaching many older C-suite types by posting on TikTok. They have their own hangouts, like LinkedIn and jobs boards.
TikTok as a supplement not an alternative
“TikTok will not overtake traditional recruitment methods, but rather, will likely supplement tactics like job board postings and LinkedIn ads,” says Neave. It can be a fun, new way of attracting Gen Z talent, which is notoriously difficult to get a handle on using conventional hiring methods.
That said, not all Gen Z are the same. Some may baulk at the idea of being hired via TikTok – and that’s something HR managers need to be aware of. “Not everyone is comfortable creating video content, so asking for video submissions could put some candidates off, and is something to think about avoiding especially if the job itself wouldn’t require it,” says Neave.
His last piece of advice for companies entering the brave new world to create CareerTok content is to be authentic about it. “Gen Z cares about values and culture, so it’s important for companies trying to reach young talent to be transparent about salary, benefits and any in-office requirements.
“Authenticity is key to building trust, and highly polished content doesn’t have the same impact.” Ideally, companies will have employees post content themselves to give a true look at what a ‘day in the life’ could entail.
10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.