Chipotle can TikTok with the best of them, by corporate standards anyway. It’s amassed 1.8 million followers—almost as many as rivals McDonald’s (1.1 million) and Taco Bell (861,700) combined—by embracing the kind of snappy, freewheeling content the platform’s young users crave. But between posting videos of teens dancing to songs about guacamole and predicting customers’ orders based on their zodiac signs, company executives spotted a trend. “We’ve seen a big uptick in Gen-Z looking for their next job on TikTok,” says Tressie Lieberman, Chipotle’s VP of digital and off-premise marketing.
The fast-casual chain has, like so many restaurants bouncing back from the pandemic, a lot of positions to fill—20,000 to be exact. So it’s joining more than 20 other companies, including Sweetgreen, Boston Scientific, Shopify and the NBA, participating in “TikTok Resume”: a pilot program through which users can search and apply for job listings with short videos showcasing their qualifications. The program, which TikTok confirmed to Forbes, noting the launch is “upcoming,” will feature 200 job listings that run the gamut from customer service to social media to engineering.
“It allows people to showcase more of who they are, which is what I feel TikTok does an amazing job of, because you can actually be your real self,” says Nick Tran, TikTok’s head of global marketing.
TikTok has become an unlikely forum for frank discussions about work. If LinkedIn is the facade you put on for your boss—polished, productive, unrelentingly positive—TikTok is the catharsis, best shared with colleagues over happy-hour margaritas. When the pandemic shuttered workplaces (and bars), employees took to the social media platform to bemoan endless Zoom meetings, mock obnoxious customers and commiserate over burnout.
That kind of candor means employers may get more insight into would-be employees than they bargained for, but Lieberman isn’t concerned. “Getting a view into who people really are is exactly what we want,” she says.
TikTok isn’t the first to try shaking up the hiring process with video resumes. LinkedIn in March announced the launch of a feature called “Cover Story,” which allows users to upload short videos of themselves to their profiles. But companies looking for young employees are more likely to find them on TikTok. A Pew Research Center survey published last month found less than one third of respondents ages 18 to 29 have used LinkedIn; nearly half have used TikTok.
For Contra—a recently launched platform that allows freelancers to showcase projects, set prices and negotiate with clients without commission fees—TikTok has proved vital. A pilot-program participant, Contra says more than 40% of its users have come to its site from TikTok.
“We saw a lot of influencers on TikTok talking about career advice and different tools that they were using. To be honest, I didn’t actually think that that’s how people used TikTok. I thought it was people doing dance videos,” says Zoë Colivas, Contra’s head of user research and community. “And when we saw that, we realized, wait a second, if influencers can be talking about this, why can’t we talk about this as a company?”
Colivas started posting videos showcasing unique job opportunities for freelance and remote employees—taking care not to plug Contra and its own platform. A 40-second video highlighting a full-time, remote energy customer support specialist job at Tesla garnered nearly one million views. Another video promoting a part-time, remote lyric associate job at song lyrics site Genius raked in 1.1 million views.
After the viral success of these videos, Colivas and her team introduced their TikTok viewers to Contra. Since then, she says many of Contra’s TikTok followers have reached out with questions about the startup.
“Gen-Z doesn’t want to be on a bunch of other platforms. They don’t want to be on a stale LinkedIn where they have to connect with people and reach out to them in a cold message,” Colivas says. “They want to go on TikTok where they’re already comfortable, where it’s fast, easy, digestible content, and find jobs that way. So it’s interesting to see how, as a company, we’ve been able to use that to our advantage.”