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Career Experts: TikTok Layoff Videos Can Be Risky

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Apr 17, 2024

Fired and laid off workers have recently been posting stories of their sudden unemployment on TikTok. Many of them have gone viral, resulting in outpourings of support. But when it comes to recording and sharing a video about one's layoff or firing, career experts advise caution, CNBC Make It reported.

“I think that this is insanely risky for future job prospects,” said Nolan Church, a former Google recruiter and current CEO of salary data company FairComp, in an interview.

There are many reasons for that sentiment. One is that creating these kinds of posts may not show a person's professional side.

“You are going to be doing it in a time where you are very emotionally elevated,” said career coach Phoebe Gavin in an interview with CNBC. “You are experiencing maximum anxiety, frustration, resentment, anger, and these are not emotions that lend themselves to good decision making.”

“It is not going to be in the interest of your professional reputation for you to post a video of you sobbing or cursing them out or calling them out in a very aggressive, uncharitable way,” she added. “[If] the goal is, ‘I want this thing to help me get a new job,’ then the thing has to show you in a very good light.”

Gavin also said that the intention for posting such a video could be seen to be one of vengeance, as in ”‘my company has done me dirty, so I’m going to get back at them by showing the world that they don’t have their stuff together.’”

Such a video could also backfire by undermining trust.

“If I found out that you did this, the first thing I would think of is, ‘Well, what else are you putting on social media that we’re talking about?’” said Church. “No one’s going to trust you” if they find you’ve done this, she said.

There are some examples, however, of people who do not regret having gone viral in this way.

In April 2023, Joni Bonnemort, now 39 and based in Utah, posted a video that documented her layoff. “It didn’t feel like that much of a stretch to share my layoff despite the vulnerability I displayed,” she said in an interview with CNBC. “I posted it because it was my experience.”

Viewers’ responses were “95 percent positive,” she said. People were supportive and shared similar stories, and employers started asking to see her resume. In fact, “my current employer saw my TikTok video and reached out for an interview.”

She does not regret posting that video, “especially when you consider that it helped me secure my current employment position,” she said.

Still, the consensus among career experts is to be careful. Gavin pointed out that when it comes to TikTok firing videos, “the only one that you see is the one that goes viral that everyone’s talking about. You don’t hear about the ones where the post kind of goes nowhere, or the post gets backlash or the post prevents that person from having a speedy and successful career transition.”