What would you do if you had 7,500 applicants for jobs at your company?
Most of us would feel a bit overwhelmed, but then we’d start trying to figure out how so many people decided to apply. If you’re Apple or Tesla it makes sense; for a small startup with about 250 employees that makes a sales scheduling app, it was quite a shocking discovery.
The reason it all worked so well? They posted a handful of TikTok videos, then watched as many of them went viral.
Now, before you scoff at that and come to the conclusion that there must have been a dancing bear telling jokes or a celebrity like Ryan Gosling involved, the truth is even more puzzling. A startup called Chili Piper posted videos of real employees acting like real people, often with a trending song in the background and a few well-placed captions.
“People engage with our TikTok videos because they showcase the perks of fully remote work and because we are early adopters of the platform in the B2B space—so we don’t have too much competition for the attention of this massive audience yet,” says Chili Piper cofounder and co-CEO Alina Vandenberghe. “Beyond that, we showcase a diversity of employees. When applying to a job, people want to see someone successful and happy who looks like them.”
Vandenberghe says the social media campaign is multi-faceted. There’s a tracking code that helps them determine that over 2,500 people applied specifically because of the viral videos. Yet, they also connected with candidates in the comments and sent a link to them to increase engagement. They tracked thousands of additional applications from the TikTok videos as well, mostly from people who said they saw a video during the interviewing process.
The stats are impressive. One video in particular had well over 200,000 views. Chili Piper says there were 1.3 million impressions on the campaign in total. The company had almost 500 applications in one week, and a total of 7,500 applications they attribute to the TikTok videos.
The secret to the success has to do with the authenticity of the videos. They are, as Vandenberghe described them, fun and silly. They are not meant to be professional, as though the company only wants to hear from staid, collared-up dignitaries.
“We have found, across all social media platforms, that sometimes the hyper polished produced look is perceived as an inauthentic sterilized corporate version of your brand,” she explained. “By mixing fun high-production-quality videos with authentic, phone-camera-shot videos, we create an image of a company run by real humans marketing to real humans.”
It’s interesting, too, that the campaign didn’t just lead to more awareness about the company. They actually hired people to work for them, including a recent IT security employee.
“We continue to experiment with different projects, but usually, virality for us (which means having 100k or more views on a video) strikes where trending audio coincides with showing the perks of remote work and diversity,” she says. “Chili Piper also has 50% female managers and executives and that resonates really well with our audience on the platform.”
In the “good problem to have” category, the startup is still wading through applicants. Maybe some of the new hires will even end up in a few more TikTok videos.
Forbes – Social Media