Back in July, social media platform TikTok announced it was entering the recruitment space with the launch of new pilot program called TikTok Resumes.
It came about, surprisingly, on the back of more and more creators on TikTok starting to create content about careers and jobs. Specifically, some individuals decided to take it upon themselves to use the social media platform to unofficially apply for roles, and these applications went viral.
For example, Jillian Ruvalcaba, a recent US film and TV graduate, created a TikTok video in which she shared that it was her dream to work at Nickelodeon and why she was right for the company’s internship program.
And low and behold, her video went viral and Ruvalcaba was offered an internship at Nickelodeon in January 2021. She is still in the post and actually works in outreach and recruitment, which is very fitting given how she herself thought outside the box in getting the job, so it makes perfect sense that she should help others do the same.
Deep dive into TikTok Resumes
Following the growth in career-focused TikTok, the social media company decided they needed to formalize this content into an initiative where employers could sign up and use TikTok as a new disruptive platform for recruitment and job searching.
They teamed up with Wonsulting, a recruitment agency that aims to help those from disadvantaged backgrounds transform themselves from underdogs to winners in the world of work, to kick off the marketing of the pilot to the public. Wonsulting was also chosen because it was already using TikTok to share career advice and interview tips.
More than 40 employers signed up to the TikTok Resumes pilot, including Chipotle, Target, Movers+Shakers, as well as baseball team Detroit Pistons.
Candidates seeking to apply for any open roles at these companies – which are advertised on the app and are not just entry level positions – are encouraged to create and post video resumes that creatively share their skillsets, experiences and personal stories that make them perfect for the job.
Talking about the launch, TikTok’s global head of marketing Nick Tran said: “TikTok Resumes is officially open and accepting TikTok video resumes.
“We’re humbled to be able to partner with some of the world’s most admired and emerging brands as we pilot a new way for job seekers to showcase their experiences and skillsets in creative and authentic ways.
“#CareerTok is already a thriving subculture on the platform and we can’t wait to see how the community embraces TikTok Resumes and helps to reimagine recruiting and job discovery.”
The pilot ran throughout July and is currently on pause.
However, Wonsulting co-founder and CEO Jonathan Javier tells UNLEASH that TikTok is already looking into whether they should do another pilot or launch a longer-term initiative. In the meantime, unofficial TikTok video resumes continue to exist on the platform, and maybe helping companies tap into new talent to tackle their labor shortage.
Video Resumes are good for D,E&I
Javier notes that the aim is “to give job seekers another unconventional strategy to getting jobs”.
“We think it is really cool that it is not just a name and a piece of paper that people are looking at; you can exemplify your own story and personality”.
Jerry Lee, Wonsulting co-founder and COO, adds that ultimately recruiters want to answer three questions when hiring for a role: can the candidate do the job, can I imagine working with them and are they excited about a career at this company?
However, by using a video resume, they can easily answer the last two “right off the bat”, particularly around shared values between the candidate and the company. Also, often the first question can also be answered in a TikTok Resume as the candidate usually shares their qualifications and skills in the video.
The more traditional approach of paper resumes often only discuss relevant skills and qualifications, which makes it difficult for recruiters to judge culture fit and whether someone is really passionate about working at that company, until much later into an expensive and time-consuming hiring process.
In turn, Javier notes that being able to look at culture fit and someone’s personal story, as well as their skills, can help from a diversity, equity and inclusion (D,E&I) standpoint as hiring managers and recruiters might sympathize with elements of your story.
Ultimately, through video Resumes, “you can actually see that the person not only have the skills and qualifications but is a great candidate” that is right for your organization.
Further to this, Lee notes that TikTok Resumes also lowers the barrier to entry to jobs.
First, unlike other video interview tools that recruiters use – like HireVue – candidates do not have to go through a screening process by recruiters, which could miss some elements of how the candidates matches with the culture of the organization, before they are invited to a video interview.
Second, anyone can make a TikTok account for free and it is very easy to use – there are no recruitment fees for either the candidate or the employer. In addition, “these applications sometimes go viral, which that is pretty much free advertising”, notes Lee.
So by using TikTok Resumes, employers “are able to kill two birds with one stone; they are able to get the recruiting done at extremely low cost and [get] free marketing exposure”.
Will other social media platforms follow suit?
Lee is not surprised that TikTok was the first social media platform to focus in on video resumes.
He says there are a few reasons why it beat out the likes of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. The first is that “TikTok is one of the only video-first social media platforms”. The second is that, again, the barrier to entry is low as it is really easy for anyone to use.
Javier further explains that unlike with some of the business video recruitment solutions, you don’t have to record your video in one session. You can stop and start, re-do bits you’re not happy with and then edit it all together easily on the TikTok platform.
However, given that career content is on the rise across all social media, Lee will not be surprised if TikTok Resumes will spur other social media platforms to follow suit, and soon.
Perhaps Snapchat and Youtube will lead the way as they are also video-first. Or maybe LinkedIn will go first since it “recently hired a team of product managers who are purely focused on creators”, which suggests to Lee that “LinkedIn is now seeing the value of the intersection between content creation influences and careers”.
Whatever happens, it is clear that video Resumes will have a role to play in the future of work. Employers that get ahead in encouraging this application method may do better in attracting, particularly the Gen Z, talent they need to succeed in the future of work.