How a Woman Landed a Job at TikTok by…TikToking

TikTok isn’t just for dancing, it’s a great place to talk about your job qualifications too? Although it wouldn’t be the first place I would go to try to get a job, it has proven to work.
A while ago I was scrolling through TikTok, as one does during quarantine, and stumbled across a video about a woman who had just applied to a job at TikTok.
The video featured Jenna Palek, a 22-year-old who just graduated from Kent State. She explained that when she applied for the TikTok position, she noticed over 2000 people had already applied and wanted to make herself stand out.
She thought that a viral TikTok might help her chances. She was right.
The video showed off her resume, which she designed to make it match TikTok’s logo and then went into her work experience. She explained why she would be the perfect person for the job while doing popular TikTok dance moves. Jenna showed pictures of her internship and job experiences that include Sherri Hill and University Tees while giving statistics about how much revenue she generated for each company.
TikTok now has over 1.6 million views.
Although it wasn't her first video on the platform, Jenna was not an established “TikToker” before this video. The video went viral on its own.
After watching this video on my for your page, I clicked on her profile to see if there were any updates.
Four days after posting the original video, Jenna posted a video saying that TikTok saw her video. A week after that, she posted about how she was about to do her final interview with TikTok.
Fast forward a month and she posted a popular “put a finger down” video explaining everything that happened and ending it saying she got the job! Starting in July, she will be moving to Austin, TX to be the brand development manager for TikTok.
It’s crazy to me that her whole life is changing because of a single video. Does that mean I will go straight to social media to try to get my next job? Probably not, but it shows that going above and beyond for a company is important and it shows the power of social media.
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Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

What reminded me of this video was seeing recently that another person who posted on TikTok was fired from their job.
A recent Harvard graduate, Claira Janover, has posted several TikToks about the Black Lives Matter movement on her page. In one of them, which isn’t even her most viewed video, she made an analogy about all lives matter trying to prove a point about the oppression Black people face.
The analogy was about comparing a stab wound to a paper cut. She talked about how if someone was on the ground bleeding out because of a stab wound, you shouldn’t say “but my paper cut matters too.”
Trump supporters went to Twitter and claimed she was threatening to stab people. They started to tag the FBI, Harvard, and Deloitte, which is where she works. Claira’s name started trending on Twitter. Soon people began sending her death threats.
In a video posted on July 1st, Claira announced that she had been fired from Deloitte.
Even though Claira is trying to stand up for equality and clearly is not going to start stabbing people, the power of TikTok took over once again and she was fired from her job.

TikTok is a unique social media platform.
It is much easier for your videos to go viral compared to other platforms because of TikTok’s unique algorithm. With most social media, you mainly just see content from people you follow. Although you can also still follow people on TikTok, most users just scroll through the for you page.
So even if you don’t have a big following, your video can be put on someone’s for you page based on their interests and similar videos they’ve interacted with in the past. This makes it much easier to go viral.
This past month, TikTok released information about how their algorithm works for the for you page. When someone posts a TikTok, it first shares it with a small subset of people who they think might find it interesting based on their past behavior. If that small group of people watches the full video, like, or share it, TikTok will then show it to more people. The cycle continues so more and more people are shown the video.
If the initial small group that is shown a TikTok doesn’t interact with the video, TikTok shares it to fewer users and limits its potential reach.
That is why when you are scrolling through your for your page, you’ll see videos with millions of views but also videos with 10 views.
So even if you have no followers and you don’t expect anyone to see your TikTok, because of this algorithm, it will show up on people’s for you page without you having to do anything.
This means you could get a lot of views from people you don’t want to watch your videos, like Claira. All of a sudden, she had a lot of Trump supporters viewing her videos and they started to harass her with hate comments.
Alternatively, it worked in Jenna’s favor. The more people viewed her video, the more attention was brought to TikTok itself which helped land her the new job.
Social media is a double-edged sword. With attention, comes scrutiny. Although we might think TikTok is just for fun, it is affecting people’s lives, in good ways and bad.