Connectivity

On TikTok, HR spills the tea on navigating the workplace

Gatekeeping career content is *not the vibe*
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Francis Scialabba

· 4 min read

A wave of HR workers are bringing office hours online, to be watched anywhere, anytime, by anyone. Welcome to #HRTok: The niche corner of TikTok with over 24.7 million views, where HR professionals are democratizing access to career advice, rebranding the face of HR, and shaking off their own nine-to-five stress.

Here they repackage seminars worth of industry advice into engaging, 15-second videos to help employees navigate processes from salary negotiation, to performance reviews, to taking PTO.

Take the stage

Like most TikTok subcommunities, HRTok blossomed during the pandemic, when soon-to-become content creators were stuck at home.

Crystal Brown Tatum, human resources manager at Trax Group in Texas and self-described “Star of HR!”, began her account after her daughter showed her TikTok videos that made her “bust out laughing.” She now has 42,300 followers and posts mainly parody videos, like a recent one of HR leaders’ not-so-warm reception from colleagues in the morning or reaction to a new-hire “ghosting.”

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Gabrielle Woody, university talent attraction manager at Intuit, joined the platform as CareerConfidant while in lockdown in April 2020. When Woody stumbled across financial TikToks that educated her about stocks, she realized she could create similar videos on recruiting to “help people at scale.” She now has 17,400 followers.

Molly Hitchen, an HR consultant who creates videos under the handle HR Molly for over 30,000 followers, told HR Brew she downloaded the app when she’d run out of Netflix shows to watch. Once she was on it, she said she was alarmed to see some non-HR creators peddling what she dubbed “bad” and “outdated” recruiting advice. Hitchen said she got involved to create accurate content.

Wider reach

Tatum said that at the last HR luncheon she attended, there were two people of color in a room out of about 120 professionals.

“In the professional HR circles, I don’t see a lot of people that look like me, but on TikTok, they’re very inclusive of people that look like me, and that’s important for my content to reach that demographic,” Tatum said.

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The other creators agreed. Most said they track their audience analytics, and each claims to have a young audience of predominantly women.

Woody described creating videos for such a community as “really special.”

“I don’t think people should be held back from getting a job or acing an interview because they don’t have all the resources out here that someone at an Ivy League school may have. Being able to use this platform where people can view this content for free, they can view it at their leisure…just makes up a level playing field for all candidates,” Woody said.

The creators take particular pride when the online advice translates to offline wins for their followers. Re Parker, known as Letstalkrenaa on TikTok, said she has a following of 92% women, many of whom she says are women of color. She described the app as a “platform of mentorship,” and told HR Brew about the happiness she feels when followers tell her about their career successes.

“The longer my content has been out, I’ve gotten a lot of people that said that they have gotten interviews, or that they’ve gotten jobs, and my content really helped them with their confidence. So that alone is super rewarding,” Parker said.

Reintroduce ourselves

Sometimes the creators receive comments like “HR is not your friend” or “look another recruiter” followed by an eye-roll emoji, but Hitchen hopes that exposure to actual HR professionals via TikTok will help challenge those beliefs.

“[TikTok] gives people an opportunity to actually spend time with HR without feeling like they’re in the hot seat or feeling intimidated. They can send me a question from a random username with a picture of, like, a cat. If they have a good experience, that’s good for my profession,” Hitchen said.—SV

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HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.