Why your HR team needs to be on TikTok

#CareerTok has become the go-to source for Gen Z job seekers. Here’s how HR teams can prepare for the future of recruitment.

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Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young

It began as an all-singing, all-dancing app for bored teenagers. But this year, TikTok has morphed into something no one could see coming. The video-sharing app is now a leading career resource for Gen Zers.

Post-pandemic, the modern workplace has undergone probably its biggest change since the introduction of the five-day week. Employees have had to adapt quickly – and many are still unsure about their career trajectory.

In answer, hoards of entry-level candidates and graduates are turning to TikTok. Having accumulated five billion views across videos with hashtags #CareerTok and #CareerAdvice, candidates are using the platform to seek out tips and advice on how to find their dream job.

The app is changing the face of HR, and threatening to overtake industry big-wigs like LinkedIn and Indeed. So how should employers respond?

What is #CareerTok?

The advent of remote working post-COVID introduced an arsenal of collaboration tools for team working, including Zoom and Microsoft Teams. But one of the most influential tools wasn’t strictly listed in business inventories.

Missing out on face-to-face interaction, workers turned to the emerging new social media app, TikTok as a way to socialise with coworkers from the comfort of their own home.

#CareerTok – a new, work-focused sub community on TikTok – was born. Staff flocked to the flourishing social app in droves, desperate to replicate everyday workplace interactions. Together, they discussed all the office topics previously kept behind the desk.

Overnight, HR managers using the app have become rock stars. Open up TikTok today and you’ll likely be inundated with videos from employment influencers.

Dressed in casual work attire, they offer users advice on how to settle a pay dispute, improve wording in formal emails, and manage conflict.


It is the nature of social media that such discussions have quickly become debates. Complaints about being overworked have spiralled into the anti-work trend, ‘quiet quitting’, which has ignited other movements like ‘career cushioning’.

This is especially true for Gen Zers, who reportedly spend more time on TikTok than any other age group. Many are opting for sitting in front of a camera and airing their work grievances, causing experts to dub the platform ‘QuitTok’.

Open discussions on TikTok about the importance of meaningful work, or how to negotiate for a more competitive salary, appear to be having an impression on how individuals view the world of work.

Rhiannon Palmer founded Lem-uhn PR agency at 24 years old. Now 27, she says that Gen Zers like herself are striving to change people’s relationships with work by empowering them to expect better work-life balance and employee benefits.

“Young people are experiencing toxic workplaces and deciding they can do things better,” Palmer tells Startups. “When I started Lem-uhn, the feel-good PR agency, I was burnt out from 14-hour days and weekends spent working and decided things could be done better.”


There is a common thread running through all CareerTok content. Ultimately, every video is geared towards helping employees to find the kind of role and employer that reflects their personal and professional ambitions.

This is a particularly pertinent issue given the current labour market. Official data shows that poor trading conditions have led to an increase in redundancies and a slump in hiring in June.

After months of high staff turnover following the Great Resignation, recruitment challenges are set to reverse, causing job seekers to struggle to cut through the cooling jobs market.

Serena Pook, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Resource Solutions, global provider of workforce and advisory solutions, predicts that, “as job postings continue to drop, entering the job market will become increasingly difficult.”

This is only likely to spur on the influence of #CareerTok. According to one survey by The Youth Group, a mentoring platform for young people, 48% of Gen Z job seekers feel they are limited when it comes to accessing vital career guidance.

Particularly for younger workers, #CareerTok has been able to provide answers in today’s vagarious workforce. For example, how to manage emerging challenges like hybrid and remote working.

Experts say this group also trusts the platform more than more ‘formal’ sites like LinkedIn or Indeed. “Sharing career advice from influencers on a platform where CEOs are unlikely to be found may strengthen the trust jobseekers have for TikTok career advisors”, Pook adds.

“As a result, CareerTok, is quickly rising the ranks as a go-to career source for Gen Z job seekers.”

Curriculum Video

Some of the most popular content for job seekers on TikTok includes tips on interviewing, tricks for finding a company that fits you, and how to find more granular information on companies that are hiring.

Hashtags like Work Life, and Hire Me have been viewed millions of times on the platform. Some people are even finding jobs thanks to TikTok. By uploading a #TikTokRésumé, they can publish a permanent job advert for hirers to stumble across.

This format might sound alien to managers. But young people, who have grown up in the Facebook era, are more at home with filming themselves than they are dealing with the aches and pains of traditional job applications.

Dan Hudson is founder and CEO of innovative recruitment startup, GiGL, which asks candidates to submit TikTok-style video applications in place of a CV. The move away from traditional hiring routes, explains Hudson, is a natural consumption evolution for Gen Z.

“Gen Z are pure tech native, they have grown up with iPhones, streaming services and social media. They consume and interact in a totally different way to previous generations,” he says.

“20 years ago they would have found jobs in a local newspaper, ten years ago they would have found it on a job board. This is simply the next evolution.”

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TikTok has drastically modified how HR teams connect with people. Organisations that want to attract top talent must ensure they are using apps like TikTok to rely on how things were done back when. In short: it’s time for employers to learn the language.

To get managers up-to-speed on the new hiring environment, Hudson recommends they first of all wave goodbye to a key component in employment drives: the job description.

“Gen Z are mobile and video first – they aren’t going to read a long generic waffly corporate document,” he stresses. “When you communicate, appeal to the candidate and what they are looking for.”

On platforms like GiGL and TikTok, hirers can be more creative with a job advert. They can entice candidates with images of where they will be working and with whom, to illustrate what the organisational culture is like.

“It brings the roles and the businesses to life in a way that traditional job descriptions just can’t,” Hudson reveals. “The candidates don’t need a CV to apply, they just reply with a quick video.”

If this all sounds like laziness or anti-ambitiousness from the side of the job seeker – think again. The shift in power, Hudson argues, is instead a reaction to years of outdated application practices, where candidates have been asked to bend over backwards to apply for a role they know nothing about.

According to Hudson, young people are actually more sceptical when reviewing a job advert. “Gen Z do their research before applying, they look at reviews, they look beyond a generic copy and paste job description,” Hudson states.

“They want to see the employer’s message and presence. If the experience isn’t what was sold, they vote with their feet.”

Tick-Tock goes the clock

40% of young people now use TikTok as their main search engine. Given that Gen Z could make up as much as 27% of the workforce by 2025, there is a timely need for HR teams to connect with employees through the app, as a way to futureproof the business.

Trends on apps like TikTok can be difficult to keep up with. Still, their prevalence and influence over the current jobs market means awareness is paramount, and can help business leaders understand what employees want from their employer.

There is no need to sacrifice company values to suit every need of an unsatisfied employee. Nonetheless, by demonstrating awareness, business leaders and HR can show how they are able to provide the working life that qualified, talented candidates are looking for.

The business case is sound. Hudson reveals that over 80% of the employers on GiGL take applicants straight through to trial shift or final round interviews. The company even reports users applying, getting hired, and starting work within 24 hours.

“Would you expect Gen Z to carry a map book in their bag, have take away menus stuck on their fridge, or use a cheque book?” he points out. “Times have changed and so must candidate acquisition.”

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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