TikTok is not the first social platform that companies have sought to leverage for recruiting. LinkedIn, the professional networking site owned by Microsoft, is heavily used by both job seekers and recruiters. In 2015, Taco Bell advertised internship opportunities on Snapchat, and in 2017, McDonald’s let people apply for jobs through a Snapchat tool known as “Snaplications.” That same year, Facebook began allowing companies to post job openings to their pages and to communicate with applicants through Facebook Messenger.
TikTok is now taking it further with video applications, rather than a swipe up to a more traditional application page. Although TikTok résumés are open to people of all ages, top videos submitted through the hashtag are from Gen Z users, most of whom are in college. The app said more than 800 applicants had submitted TikTok résumés in the past week.
Many recruiters are looking beyond standardized applications online or through networking sites like LinkedIn, said Sherveen Mashayekhi, co-founder and CEO of Free Agency, a startup focused on hiring in the tech industry.
“Cover letters aren’t being read and résumés aren’t predictive, so alternative formats are necessary,” he said. “Over the next five to 10 years, it won’t just be video. There will be these other assessments like games for the early stage of the hiring process.”
Some companies said TikTok résumés were a useful way to evaluate candidates for public-facing roles. Chipotle has posted more than 100 open positions to the app so far to hire restaurant team members, said Tressie Lieberman, the chain’s vice president for digital marketing.
“We do real cooking in our restaurants,” she said. “We’re excited to see people’s cooking skills, whether it’s putting chicken on the grill, knife skills or people making guacamole at home and bringing those capabilities into the restaurant.”
World Wrestling Entertainment is also using TikTok to recruit, said Paul Levesque, the WWE executive vice president for global talent strategy and development, who is better known as the wrestler Triple H. He said video résumés offered a better sense of an applicant’s personality, which is something the company values.
“For us, it’s slightly different than a regular office position where you’re looking at someone’s background,” he said. “We’re really looking for charisma.”
Other employers raised questions about relying on virality to determine a candidate’s worthiness. Adore Me, a lingerie company, began experimenting with recruiting through TikTok in January. Chloé Chanudet, Adore Me’s chief marketing officer, said she worried about who got the most distribution in the feed.
“Plus size or women of color are much more likely to not have their videos published or be under review for several days,” she said. “We have the same worry that their TikTok résumés may be biased from the algorithm.”
TikTok said it “does not moderate content on the basis of shape, size or ability.”
Some Gen Z job hunters said they weren’t deterred. Christian Medina, 24, an aspiring product manager who graduated from college last year, said he had gotten six job leads since posting a TikTok video last month seeking a product management role.
“Finding a job for a recent grad is almost impossible, and LinkedIn was not the most helpful for me,” he said. “I will definitely continue to use TikTok résumés.”