Episode 17: Is there a future for TikTok’s video resumes?

by Yvonne Harris

In this episode of Welcome to the New Normal, we wonder if TikTok resumés have become the norm?

Probably not, given warnings about diversity and inclusion, and the enduring advantages of text-based applications. But how do Gen-Zers feel about this new trend for applying for jobs, and what does it say about companies’ desperation to bag the best talent?

Tune in to the Welcome to the New Normal audio podcast now and follow along with the script below.


How did you apply for your last job? Did you fill out a resumé in Word? Download the PDF of your LinkedIn Profile?

Did you send it through with a carefully worded cover letter, careful to use all the keywords in the job post?

I bet you didn’t use TikTok. Or did you?

Earlier this year, TikTok piloted “TikTok Resumes” to help Chipotle, Shopify, Target, WWE and other employers drum up fresh talent.

Here’s an example. Makena Yee, 21, a college student in Seattle, shouted into her camera on TikTok: Calling all recruiters! –  these are the reasons why you should hire me!”

She outlined her qualifications, said she was “driven with confidence, she loves keeping organized, she’s adaptive and she’s a team player,”

Logos of companies she had worked for flashed up on a green screen behind her.

She got around 200,000 views and received dozens of offers.

Job done, let’s do everything on TikTok! But wait, it’s not just TikTok.

Earlier this year, McDonald’s tried their hand at “Snaplications” via Snapchat, which garnered 3,000 job applications in the first 24 hours.

And even LinkedIn has embraced video assets on user profiles, with their new “Cover Story” feature, which allows members of the network to supplement their profiles with a video about themselves.

Pretty cool? Or a bit scary?

Well according to HR expert, Nagaraj Nadendla, who is SVP of Human Capital Management at Oracle Cloud, this new trend may not have legs in a world where diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunities are increasingly important.

Recruiters are open to innovation, and it’s no longer the manual process of sorting through stacks of paper CVs and cover letters to find the right candidate, she wrote on Tech Crunch.

Recruiters have embraced the power of LinkedIn.

They’ve accepted the challenge of Glassdoor, where candidates can read reviews of the companies, they are sending applications to.

They use advanced cloud software to sift resumes to find the candidates that best match their job descriptions (that were using all the keywords in a job profile comes in, people…)

But all of this relies on traditional text – which is at the core of any application. And is central for many recruitments software’s handling the first wave of selection by putting aside resumes that do not have the right set of keywords – pushing some candidates to add them in a transparent font so that they don’t get discarded before any human even sees their profiles. Could TikTok or video resumes bring about the end of these practices?

Videos can demonstrate soft skills, and if you’re applying to be a TV presenter or an actor, you are going to send through video clippings of yourself.

And while video might be a cool way to apply for a job, recruiters should beware of the consequences, and certainly not rely on it.

Instead of being a sign of progress, Nagaraj Nadendla believes that the hype around TikTok and video resumes is actually a retrograde step, considering the human resources challenges facing companies.

Why’s that?

Well, the video highlights the person behind the skills and achievements. And this is something recruiters don’t normally see till well into the recruitment process.

And there are sound reasons for this.

If you start with a text resume, you are not confronted with things like social class, race, disability, gender. Initial decisions are made based on education, skills, competence, and work experience.

Evaluate your candidates by video first, and you wipe out much of the progress companies have made to be equal opportunities recruiters.

Nagaraj Nadendla writes that this could even damage companies’ reputations, and lead to severe consequences such as litigation for discrimination.

Imagine you’re a bit socially awkward, you can never get your hair done right, you can’t afford a phone with an amazing camera, and you’re not an expert at editing videos.

But you’ve got the potential to be an amazing programmer, or you have a natural flair as a copywriter. Should someone less skilled than you get your job just because they look nice on a TikTok video?

Nagaraj Nadendla insists that there must ALWAYS be a place for a traditional text-based resume or profile in the recruiting process.

He says that if there’s room for video, maybe it’s in a candidate’s references – an endorsement from a previous colleague or employer by video could be a powerful support to a text-based application.


After TikTok’s buzz to become the new launchpad for recruits, Tallo researchers sought to answer two questions.

Firstly, are Gen Zers OK with the idea?

And second, what do they think of it as a concept?

Sadly, for TikTok, the experiment could well be a flop.

48% of respondents said they’re either “somewhat uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable” with the idea of sending a video resumé.

Only 12% said they’re “very comfortable.”

So, what are the reasons for this lack of comfort?

Firstly, if you’re even slightly introverted (and there are many many introverts out there), it’s just not going to be your cup of tea.

Very few of the respondents who described themselves as introverts said they would be happy being asked to do a video resume.

But most importantly – and this vindicates what Nagaraj Nadendla wrote in Tech Crunch, Gen-Zers are deeply concerned about diversity and inclusion. It’s completely in their DNA, and recruiters ignore this at their peril.

56% of respondents to the Tallo study said that video resumes would definitely increase bias.

In fact, only 7% of them believed video resumes should be used for professional summaries.

But if there’s a silver lining for the video evangelists, 72% said the medium was ok to display creativity and personality.

So, if you’re applying to work in creative industries, to be a TV presenter, or for an acting role, fire up TikTok and go for it!

Otherwise, carry on enjoying TikTok for its real strengths – comedy videos, innovative choreography, pets…


This week’s number 10.9 million

That’s a record-breaking 10.9 million job openings in the US, up from 10.1 million in June, which was already a record. In May, it was 9.5 million.

It’s a sign that the Economy – well the US economy at least, is rebounding fast.

And given that layoffs are low – a record low in fact, of 1.3 million in June, it also underlines that the struggle many companies have for finding the right talent is getting more and more intense.

And it’s why we’ve dedicated this episode to recruitment.

Are you looking for a new job?

Are you going to fire up your phone and do a TikTok?

What should desperate employers do to bag the talent they need?

Let us know.

Thanks very much for tuning in. You can follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube for the latest news on the podcast, and don’t forget to subscribe to us on your favorite podcast streaming program.

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