Patrizia CiuppaMay 25, 2022
Topics: Recruiter Experience

How Chili Piper Won the TikTok Recruitment Game

Trying to get that TikTok recruitment strategy off the ground to reach more candidates and boost your employer brand? Meryoli Arias, Sr. Social Media and Community Manager at Chili Piper, shared how her organization’s TikTok presence helped them build brand awareness by going viral — drastically increasing their follower count from 500 to 5,000 in just one month.

Get the ins and outs of what worked and what didn’t. Read on for some quick tips, or catch this don’t-miss episode of Talent Experience Live right here.

Why should TikTok be on every talent team's radar?

If you’re a TA leader who believes in meeting candidates where they are … well, many of them are on TikTok. Especially Gen Z candidates. But the vast majority of employers aren’t taking advantage of this opportunity, missing out on potential talent and a way to address high-volume hiring needs as well.

Which brands are getting it right on TikTok?

Many retail and fast-food companies have established a solid presence on TikTok. Chipotle, for example, has found a recipe for success, with location-specific hiring videos, as well as videos highlighting new menu items with fun tips like how to score free guac.

Another spicy-hot brand on TikTok right now? B2B SaaS company Chili Piper (Yes, really, B2B SaaS!) thanks in great part to Arias, who leads their social media strategy.

How did TikTok earn a place in Chili Piper’s social media strategy?

For Chili Piper, foraying into TikTok was definitely not a case of imitating another brand’s success. “It was really the opposite,” Arias said. “We weren’t seeing a lot of activity or success on the platform [by other B2B SaaS companies].” Chili Piper already used Instagram to showcase company culture, and from there it seemed like a “natural step” to try leveraging TikTok for talent attraction, she said.

How did your team get started on TikTok?

In case you aren’t familiar with TikTok, it’s all video clips, all the time. So how can companies keep up with that “hamster wheel” of content on the news feed?

At Chili Piper, the social media team started by re-using video reels developed for Instagram, but quickly realized that content created for other platforms didn’t quite resonate on TikTok. Her team started creating content specific to the platform she said. “Which is trendy — and if it’s something that’s not already trendy, create something that could be,” Arias said.

Chili Piper soon found that the videos they created for TikTok worked well on other platforms, including Instagram and even LinkedIn.

How often do you recommend posting on TikTok?

As with other social media platforms, being consistent is key. “I’m a big believer in consistency, ever since I started in social media,” she said. “It’s been fundamental.”

Experiment often and test many different approaches, Arias added – and as you rack up lessons learned, you’ll settle into the cadence that works best for you.

How do you create successful content for recruiting?

Since no one has truly cracked the code on this yet, Arias re-emphasized the importance of testing many different styles and approaches.

Here are some key lessons the Chili Piper team has learned through experimenting:

  • An attention-grabbing hook in the very beginning is critical — that means finding an image that will rivet viewers enough to “stop the scroll.” “The first three seconds are fundamental, whether it’s what you write or the movement you make.”
  • Music choice is important.
  • Strong, direct words and phrases like “We are hiring” attract viewers.
  • Shorter content is better. “We want to be fast, we want to entertain, educate,” Arias said.
  • Don’t try to sell. “You don’t go in thinking, ‘I want to be sellable’” Viewers are not going on TikTok with the mindset of looking for a job.

Some of Chili Piper’s most successful posts feature employees in their own settings — whether it’s their home office or surfside in their hometown — and communicate one of the best aspects of working at Chili Piper: a remote worldwide team that loves their job.

Check out two of Chili Piper's TikTok posts:

What content doesn’t work well on TikTok?

There was a point when Chili Piper tried posting more product-focused content using an educational format similar to their LinkedIn approach. It didn’t resonate well with their TikTok audience.

“I think that’s one of the big fails that taught me … you’ve gotta match the mood of TikTok,” Arias noted. An important part of achieving the right mood is to be trendy but "tasteful," making sure the post stays authentic to your brand.

What makes TikTok a great place to showcase the company’s culture?

TikTok is a great place to showcase diversity and give potential candidates a real-life glimpse of what it’s like to be part of your team. It’s critical to keep in mind that anything you post on TikTok shouldn’t be about you — it has to be viewer-focused.

“When people go to the movies, they don’t go to see you as an actor. They go to see themselves reflected,” Arias said, paraphrasing a well-known Hollywood actress. “I firmly believe this is the same for social media. When people connect with you because of your content … they don’t connect with you because of you. They connect with you because there’s something you said that really resonated with them.”

That’s why employee-generated video is a key approach on TikTok – it can help people visualize themselves at your organization.

Related: Crafting User-Generated Video Content to Connect with Talent

How do you get other employees involved in creating TikTok content?

This is the biggest question Arias gets from other social media managers, she said. One of Chili Piper’s core values is being helpful, so employees are already in the right mindset — and of course, having a bunch of TikTok videos go viral isn’t a bad way to build enthusiasm among staff!

Even so, not every employee is comfortable starring in a TikTok video. Arias makes it a practice to ask employees privately, and let them know that it’s ok to say no. Before posting, she always runs a video by the employee for approval.

She also provides them with a simple framework:

  • Keep videos between 30 to 35 seconds, depending on the content.
  • Avoid creating videos that feel over-produced, recording on a cell phone instead of a more professional camera to keep it authentic. According to Arias, the more organic the better.

How do you drive viewers to the Chili Piper career site?

Entertainment is the first goal, yes — but a recruiting TikTok also needs to tell potential job candidates how to take the next step through a direct call to action. “You also have to have messaging that says, ‘We are this company, we have these careers. If you want to work with us, follow this link,’” Arias said.

Learn more: Designing a Distraction-Free Recruitment Marketing Strategy

Any final words of advice for TA teams planning to use TikTok?

When a company is just beginning to build a TikTok recruitment marketing strategy, Arias suggested posting videos focused on building trust among viewers — like tips on creating a resume or interviewing.

And finally, get out there and just do it. “I’ve seen there’s a community for [recruiting] – there are definitely people interested in getting career info on TikTok,” Arias concluded.

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