Stephanie Lovell
Head of Marketing Hirect

Lovell’s expertise spans the full marketing spectrum, ranging from building and scaling teams to producing large scale creative campaigns from ideation to completion. With a short-term focus on establishing greater brand awareness and integrity, Lovell believes an integral step will be to rapidly but responsibly grow Hirect’s in-house marketing talent.

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On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks to Stephanie from Hirect about how TikTok might be Gen Z’s LinkedIn.

Some Conversation Highlights:

And I think that’s what we’re trying to solve for a lot of these Gen Z-ers and the upcoming generations. The reason they’re going to TikTok is because, like you said, it’s a platform that they’re already using. They’re not interested in going to another platform and having to just fill out all of their specific professional information. They’re already on TikTok. They’re already consuming it for entertainment purposes. So they’re also starting to look there for some of their professional purposes.

So I think it’ll be really interesting to see how TikTok evolves with that in the future. And that’s why we’ve really put a heavy focus on TikTok thus far, because it is very easy for us to reach those Gen Z users who want a much the quicker experience. They don’t want to sit on LinkedIn for six months trying to find a job. They want a job quickly. I think right now the average hiring time on traditional job platforms and job boards, et cetera, is upwards of three plus weeks. And that’s why specifically with Hirect our average hiring time is three to four days. And that’s why Gen Z really loves us so much because it’s like, oh, first of all, they found us through TikTok, a platform that they’re already consuming on. And then we’re able to really cut down on a lot of that cumbersome process.

Tune in for the full conversation.

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Listening time: 24 minutes

 

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Music: This is Recruiting Daily’s Recruiting Live Podcast, where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. Each week we take one overcomplicated topic and break it down so that your three year old can understand it. Make sense? Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup

William Tincup: Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you are listening to RecruitingDaily podcast. Today, we have Steph on from Hirect and we’ll be talking about this cool topic. Is TikTok Gen Z’s LinkedIn? And so I can’t wait to actually talk about this for a number of reasons. So Steph, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and Hirect?

Steph Lovell: Yeah, for sure. Hi guys. Thanks so much for having me William.

William Tincup: Sure.

Steph Lovell: I really appreciate it. So my name is Steph Lovell. I am the head of marketing over at Hirect and Hirect is the first ever hiring and recruiting app for founders. And what we’re trying to do in this space is we’re really trying to cut through the traditional hiring methods and provide a new efficient method to get people hired and into your company quickly. So we’re really trying to be a pioneer in this space and to set a new standard for what hiring and recruiting looks like. So it’s very interesting because it directly correlates to this topic that we’re about to go through and just how TikTok is starting to become a job seeking platform for our lovely Gen Z-ers.

William Tincup: I love that. Well, I love what y’all are doing and it’s much needed because startup growth… The founders need different things out of, especially that first hundred employees, than a company that’s been around for… So I love what y’all are doing as a business. So is TikTok Gen Z’s LinkedIn? So first of all, we’ll just start with just casual observations. What do you see so far?

Steph Lovell: Yeah, so it’s interesting. I think it might be a bit of a push to say that it’s currently taking over as that type of platform for Gen Z. I think we will see that trend continue to progress. So it’s very interesting to just see the trend of Gen Z even using TikTok as a potential job seeking platform. I have several employees that are on my team who said they found Hirect specifically through TikTok and were searching for jobs and job content on TikTok. And they kind of explained it to me in a way that was unique because they’re like “Yeah, I mean, LinkedIn is great but it just is kind of old, like it’s cumbersome. It’s not really a platform I would go to.”

So now I’m like, oh, maybe LinkedIn is becoming kind of the Facebook for some of the older generations. And I think that’s a trend we’ll continue to see really progress in the next couple of years as Gen Z is really raised into the workforce.

William Tincup: It’s interesting because the combination is wicked.

Steph Lovell: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

William Tincup: The underpinning for a lot of recruiters is not necessarily a love relationship with LinkedIn. It’s almost forced at gunpoint that they have to be involved with LinkedIn. So you’ve got kind of an undercurrent of just hate of LinkedIn. Not just that it’s older or whatever, but just the way they operate, their prices, and you just got a lot of hate from the recruiting community. And they couple that with Gen Z’s desire to be more dimensional.

Steph Lovell: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

William Tincup: And video and music and doing memes and things like that. Kind of a whole you, not just the work view, which is cool and LinkedIn doesn’t tap… they don’t criss cross over there. It’s skills and references. It’s work-work. And so I can see it being viewed as kind of stodgy.

Steph Lovell: Right. mm-hmm .

William Tincup: Maybe even outdated?

Steph Lovell: Yep. For sure.

William Tincup: And TikTok, they don’t have some of the features in terms of… We know that we can source from TikTok.

Steph Lovell: Yeah.

William Tincup: But it doesn’t have some of the same job functionality or job matching functionality yet.

Steph Lovell: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yet. Exactly.

No, it is very interesting. And that’s kind of what we’re currently trying to capitalize on inside of the Hirect space. So, as you mentioned, LinkedIn is just… Most people have that love-hate relationship with it. It’s typically really expensive to do recruiting through LinkedIn. It’s not a super transparent process. Most of the time you still have to go onto the company’s native website and re-input all of your information. So you’re doing that a thousand times. You’re re-uploading resumes. And then your resume is just getting lost in kind of this crazy algorithm jungle. Half the time, you never even talk to a real human. You hear back like six months later. It’s so frustrating. So that’s one of the, or many, of the pain points that we’re trying to solve with Hirect is just being able to like really closely connect humans to humans, keeping all of the communications directly inside of the app.

And I think that’s what we’re trying to solve for a lot of these Gen Z-ers and the upcoming generations. The reason they’re going to TikTok is because, like you said, it’s a platform that they’re already using. They’re not interested in going to another platform and having to just fill out all of their specific professional information. They’re already on TikTok. They’re already consuming it for entertainment purposes. So they’re also starting to look there for some of their professional purposes.

So I think it’ll be really interesting to see how TikTok evolves with that in the future. And that’s why we’ve really put a heavy focus on TikTok thus far, because it is very easy for us to reach those Gen Z users who want a much the quicker experience. They don’t want to sit on LinkedIn for six months trying to find a job. They want a job quickly. I think right now the average hiring time on traditional job platforms and job boards, et cetera, is upwards of three plus weeks. And that’s why specifically with Hirect our average hiring time is three to four days. And that’s why Gen Z really loves us so much because it’s like, oh, first of all, they found us through TikTok, a platform that they’re already consuming on. And then we’re able to really cut down on a lot of that cumbersome process.

William Tincup: Two things. One is, how do companies leverage TikTok?

Steph Lovell: Hmm. Yeah. I think that’s something that’s really starting to be explored. So, as I mentioned, we do a lot of just paid advertising and advertising in general. We do a lot of influencer content on TikTok. I think Gen Z is really going there, not just, like I said, for pure entertainment purposes anymore. So I know I speak to a lot of people who go there for recommendations on how to do interviews, how to write resumes, for recommendations on what different cultures are like in certain companies. And they’re able to really get that content in a way that’s super digestible for them. And, again, is already inlaid with a lot of the other entertainment content that they’re already consuming.

So I think this is a really smart space for companies to lean into. You can use that platform in a professional yet informal way that really reaches that audience super easily. And it is a fairly new platform. So I think we’ll continue to see this evolve, but I think there’s a lot of awesome opportunity to get in there, kind of on the ground floor, as this kind of movement continues to progress.

William Tincup: As a marker, do you see an opportunity for companies to open up the corporate TikTok account to employees and let them share experiences or things that they’re… Like being a little bit more transparent about… There’s your software developer inside company X, and then they just get on TikTok and do a bit, and that’s yet another thing that people can consume as candidates. They can consume straight from employees of that company.

Steph Lovell: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, no, I think that’s an excellent idea. And honestly, that’s the type of content that we all want to see anyways. It’s one thing to hear about a company culture inside of an interview from your hiring manager or the head of recruiting or whoever, but it’s a completely different experience to hear about the company culture from an actual employee who might be a mid-level manager or someone that’s in a similar role to you or someone who’s been with the company for a really long time or someone who might have just started with the company and is able to give insight on what their first few weeks have been like. All of that sort of content feels very personal. It feels very real. I think what people like a lot about TikTok content, as well, is that it doesn’t feel overly produced.

So it feels, in most instances at least, it feels pretty organic. You feel like this is really… What you’re getting from people is very natural. It’s really like the truth per se, instead of a company going in and producing a series of 10 employee experience interviews that took 10 weeks to produce and were all scripted. This feels very off the cuff, like they really got the raw emotion from these people. So I think it’s a really smart area to lean into, and it can really help to tell your story in just a different way and in a different perspective.

William Tincup: Take us into the world of paid advertising on TikTok.

Steph Lovell: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. So-

William Tincup: What’s that look like?

Steph Lovell: Yeah, it’s interesting. So it reacts very similarly to paid advertising on other social platforms. And it’s really kind of a new space on TikTok, but we have been targeting a lot of what we consider our seaside users, which are the job-seekers on TikTok, because as we know, there’s ample amounts of them there. And it’s really interesting.

So, again, you’re able to do a lot of similar things to what you would do inside of paid social on Facebook or LinkedIn or Instagram. But it’s just the demo of this audience, kind of intrinsically, is going to be that Gen Z audience. It’s a very captivated audience. They’re easy to push content to, they want they’re there because they want to consume this content. They want to see these videos. They want to be on the app for extended amounts of time typically. So it’s a much easier way, I feel like personally, to reach them. And as we all know inside of the marketing world, video content is much stickier than just an image or something that you’re going to see one off or that doesn’t have any sort of audio associated with it. Video content is really the most tractionable. And that’s what’s going to leave a longer lasting impression inside of that consumer’s mind.

So I think it’s a great space to get into. It’s kind of being pioneered at the moment and I think we’ll see it continue to evolve and change as to how we can advertise on TikTok. But yeah. I would recommend it as a really good space to reach that Gen Z audience.

William Tincup: And you mentioned influencer marketing.

Steph Lovell: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

William Tincup: How do you leverage influencer marketing to reach your audience?

Steph Lovell: Yeah, so we leverage influencers in several different ways, but we partner with a lot of TikTokers to just promote our brand and what we hope feels like a really natural and organic way. We try to partner with people inside of the space that are kind of already thought-leaders inside of our category. So there’s a lot of people on TikTok that are giving recruiting advice, interview advice, resume advice, just general advice about which companies are hottest right now, which startups are hottest right now. So we really seek out a lot of influencers in that space, and then we’ll partner with them to create content around Hirect and then they push it out to their audiences. And we’ve found it to be very lucrative for us in getting that job-seeker audience engaged, and for them to learn more about Hirect and more about the company in a way that feels very natural.

William Tincup: I love this because it’s you’re meeting people where they are. If they’re already on TikTok, they’re similar but different. They’re already using Slack, Teams, right? So they’re using those. They’re in those apps. Why not go where they are instead of making them or forcing them to go to a different place, especially a place that they already feel is like their grandfathers, you know? So I love that. And I love the way that you’re using both paid advertising and how you’re leveraging influencers.

Steph Lovell: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

William Tincup: When you reach out or when they reach out to you, let’s deal with both sides.

Steph Lovell: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

William Tincup: So, a candidate has found you and they go to Hirect. Do you drive them back to your TikTok? Or do you drive them to a careers page or to a job? How do you drive them back to a place?

Steph Lovell: Yeah. Yep. So typically what happens when they find us through this paid advertiser for TikTok, they get driven to our app store and they can directly download our application. So that’s kind of one of our main value props, is that we are like a mobile first on the job-seeker side. So we’re trying to meet consumers where they’re at. And we know that typically a lot of Gen Z and a lot of job-seekers, these days, are more active on their phones or at least have their phones more readily accessible to them. So they’re able to download the app and then once they create a quick profile with some of their professional information on it, it’s a really, really simple process.

We have an AI that directly connects them with relevant jobs, according to some of their experiences. And what ends up happening is when those job-seekers and then companies are matched, or job opportunities are matched, there is the ability to chat directly through the application, similar to like a text message feature. And there’s check marks to check and see when people have looked at it, a double check when people have responded back and forth. So it’s really creating a much more seamless process because you can directly connect through text message, essentially, to whoever you’re hiring manager might be. And we go in and we verify all the companies and make sure that the job postings are coming from the decision makers or the hiring managers from those companies.

So, we’re trying to really cut through the ambiguous weeds of the process and let them really directly connect with the person who they’re going to be working with. And there’s also the functionality to be able to have an interview chat directly through the app. So a video chat-

William Tincup: Is it double blind? Like some of the dating sites, I would assume. But basically where I like you, you like me, and then we start a communication? Or how does that part work?

Steph Lovell: Yeah. So one side, either side, can start the communication.

William Tincup: Okay.

Steph Lovell: So, yep. You’re allowed to do it on either side, which I think is nice because companies can go in… It’s the same side on the recruiter and company side, it will provide recommendations according to your job listing.

William Tincup: Right.

Steph Lovell: So then you’re able to start those communications on either side, which is great. And I, for instance, had just put a job listing on our own app two days ago. And within, I’d say, two hours, I had four or five really awesome candidates who had already reached out to me. And I was able to start chatting with them directly through the application, just like I would a text message. And, like I said, if you choose to progress on into more formal interview stages, you can do the video chats right through the application as well.

So it’s very similar concept, we’re trying to meet consumers where they’re at and create a process for them inside a space that they’re already really comfortable in. And I think that’s where we’re going to see this trend going. Because, as we had mentioned before, Gen Z is looking to use tools that they’re already using and use things that they’re already consuming in. And they don’t want to go through all of these crazy ambiguous timeframes and processes and things, and dealing with companies that aren’t very transparent. And of course, right now, we’re also inside of an unprecedented job-seekers environment, where they really hold all the power right now.

William Tincup: Right.

Steph Lovell: Every company currently needs talent. Every company is in dire need of getting people in the door. So the job-seeker, at the moment, really holds all the power. And I think that’s why we’re going to see so much change, because we’re at a point where they can say, “You know what, I’m not going to sit here and interview with you for eight weeks. Let’s get this show on the road. Either we’re going to figure this out in a couple weeks, or there’s 10 other companies beating down my door who are going to want me more than you do.” So that’s why we’re trying to really cut through there because we don’t have time anymore to spend eight weeks interviewing someone. You have to get to offer with them really quickly, or another company is just going to scoop them right up.

William Tincup: Yeah. And one might argue, we never had that time. We took advantage of folks.

Steph Lovell: Yeah.

William Tincup: You had mentioned the application. So when they go to the app, they fill out some data. Take us through that experience just briefly. What do they need to put in there? Again, I’m imagining them being on their iPhone or whatever. So what do they need to put in there?

Steph Lovell: Yeah. So they can put in prior experience, they are asked to put in what their salary band requirements would be. So that’s one thing that we really push on the app. We want a lot of transparency around salary band. So every job listed is also required to post a salary band.

William Tincup: Sure.

Steph Lovell: Because I think that’s super frustrating as well. Like you-

William Tincup: One hundred percent.

Steph Lovell: Yeah, traditional methods. Like you could go through eight weeks of interviews and then land at a job offer that’s $50,000 less than anything you would’ve accepted, you know? And it’s like, oh, I just wasted eight weeks of my life.

William Tincup: Yeah, I’ll never get back.

Steph Lovell: Yeah, exactly. So salary band is required on their job preference. So which industry they’re looking in and then a couple of relevant job titles, according to that industry. They can upload work experience in a more granular way. They can add information or they can just add the overall businesses. They add an education and then you’re able to add in a link to a homepage or a portfolio or something along those lines, if you would like as well. And then yeah, they add in just some key areas that they’re interested in, kind of like selectable areas. So marketing or research or competitive analysis or planning frameworks, et cetera, that are just helpful in narrowing down which matches are best per job-seeker and company.

So it’s really, really quick. I mean, I’d say the overall process to get onto the app, it only takes a few minutes and then you can obviously fill out your profile to be more robust if you want, or you can leave it at fairly high level. But yeah, it’s a very quick process.

And then what’s nice is that profile acts as your resume. So you do have the ability to upload a resume as well, but that profile acts as your resume to every single company that’s on the app and you don’t have to upload it again. You don’t have to continue to input that information in other places. You just do it one time and then you’re done. Instead of like on LinkedIn, you upload all of your information and then you have to go and do it again on the company’s website and then you might have to do it again somewhere else. So it’s just [inaudible 00:19:22] which is very frustrating. So once it’s there, it’s done and then companies are able to access that information and they shouldn’t be asking you to upload it again.

So it’s really great. I think it’s a much smoother, much quicker process and I’m really excited about it because I feel like this industry and recruiting and hiring has just been too stagnant for too long. And kind of like you said, I think we were taking advantage of people inside of this process before, and I think people are less willing to put up with it now.

William Tincup: Absolutely. And thank God they’re for it. Two things before we end. One is I noticed that you didn’t mention, explicitly mention skills.

Steph Lovell: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

William Tincup: You mentioned experience, which can be skills, of course.

Steph Lovell: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

William Tincup: Do you see, either now or in the future, the ability to then put their skills in there specifically?

Steph Lovell: Yeah. So there is definitely the options. So there are pieces of it that feel similar to what we might have used in the past. So when you put in your experience, you can then list out underneath what your typical job looks like, skills used within that, et cetera.

William Tincup: Right.

Steph Lovell: I think there is opportunity in the future, and we’re always working on our app and adding different elements to it, but there could be opportunity in the future to really quickly select certain certifications you might have.

William Tincup: Right, right.

Steph Lovell: Or et cetera. I think that’s definitely something that we’re working on for future.

William Tincup: So last question is, anything in the data tell you… Obviously we got generational, I get that. Is there anything else that you’re seeing in the data in terms of either the types of candidates or the types of positions that are really, really working well?

Steph Lovell: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. So we definitely have leaned into a lot of this founder and startup space. We’re starting to really expand on that as well, but startups are super hot right now, as we all know, we’re kind of in an unprecedented funding era for startups, which is great. So there’s a lot of really awesome jobs available in the startup space. If we’re getting more granular about which types of jobs, there’s definitely a lot of open tech jobs. Tech is always something that’s super hot. We’re also seeing a ton of open marketing jobs, which is exciting because obviously marketing can be more general. And I think there’s a lot of flexibility for people inside of marketing to try different types of roles and new roles in new companies. So that’s a lot of fun. And I think we’re trying to really serve the underserved companies that would be on traditional platforms.

So the companies that wouldn’t have a ton of money to push behind their posts on LinkedIn. We talk to some founders who, last year, they put behind like $200,000 behind recruiting posts on LinkedIn and they still had a hard time finding talent. That money is so valuable when you’re in the early stages of your business and you shouldn’t have to essentially waste it on items like that. That should be made a lot easier for you.

William Tincup: Right.

Steph Lovell: So I think that’s an exciting opportunity and an exciting space for us. Like I said, there’s a lot of those startup jobs and for job-seekers who aren’t necessarily familiar with the startup or tech space, a lot of times startups have very, very, very competitive compensation packages that will frequently include equity and other really exciting benefit options because they are trying to be really competitive with the larger thing or larger legacy companies.

So that’s super exciting. I got into a startup space just a couple years ago and that was so interesting to me because I hadn’t really expected that as a job-seeker. In my mind, I was thinking, oh, startup, so small. They’re not going to be able to really compete. But no, that’s really not the case. They’re able to come in very, very competitively, which is exciting. And it’s just giving them the chance to really push these jobs out to qualified job-seekers, because a job-seeker might not recognize their name right off the bat, but they shouldn’t pass it over as a good opportunity just because they don’t recognize the brand quite yet.

William Tincup: For sure. Not yet.

Steph Lovell: Not yet. Exactly.

William Tincup: Not yet. Steph, this was wonderful. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Steph Lovell: Yeah. Thank you, William. I really appreciate it.

William Tincup: Absolutely. And thanks everyone for listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Until next time.

The RecruitingDaily Podcast

Authors
William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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