TikTok may be the new career fair 

Social media has allowed organizations to promote themselves as brands and reach large audiences, many of whom are young people and potential employees. Company employees, though, are also using social media to speak up and out about the realities of working. Some organizations are capitalizing on this to create mini-influencers, the Financial Times reported Nov. 7.

TikTok, a social media platform that specializes in short, viral videos, is full of a wide variety of content. Instead of dancing to catchy music or creating lip-sync videos, some so-called TikTokers are choosing instead to talk about their working lives with their followers. These content creators may discuss their working conditions, offer advice to others interested in their fields, and demystify their wages and benefits. 

A recruiter at a consultancy told the FT that these videos are helpful for capturing young people who feel left out by career fairs. The videos can help potential employees understand the day-to-day realities of the work.

Some companies have offered gifts and payment to employees who champion the brand on social media. Others also encourage this behavior, with Walmart creating Spotlight, a program aimed at turning some workers into small-time influencers. 

However, these plans can sometimes backfire, with social media users quickly sniffing out insincerity in posts and seeing through to the corporate plan. Amazon used its workers to combat criticism of working conditions, with the accounts responding to negative feedback by commenting examples of positive experiences. This, however, prompted debate and skepticism by the public, with some questioning whether the accounts were real people or bots. 

"Brand ambassadors are representing the [company] and they are brands themselves," said Jenna Drenten, PhD, associate professor at the Quinlan School of Business in Chicago. "Companies love to piggyback and co-opt young people's brand-oriented content when it suits them but offer little stability in employment."

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