TikTok and HR – When Bad Advice Goes Viral

Jan 2, 2023Compensation

With millions of users, TikTok has quickly become a popular source for all sorts of advice. From life hacks to cooking tips, to professional advice from lawyers and accountants, it’s all on TikTok.

In fact, HR and recruitment influencers are becoming more and more popular. While it is great to spread knowledge and advice, especially for newer professionals, not all HR advice is created equal.

It reminds me of this quote: Advice is like mushrooms. The wrong kind can be fatal.

When we see the volume of HR advice on TikTok, we need to sift through and determine which “experts” we can rely upon.

In this article, I will focus on one area where TikTok HR is giving out false or bad information: negotiating compensation. Then we’ll talk about how you can know that the advice you’re receiving is sound.

 Girl looking on TikTok for HR advice

Compensation Data

First, you need to know how companies (should) decide on the worth of a role. When we work with a company, and do a compensation review and strategy, the first thing we do is find the best industry-relevant data gathered by an objective third party and then scrubbed for accuracy. These are an expensive investment often costing thousands of dollars and the commitment to participate in the survey yourself and provide your company’s accurately matched data. 

Then we take the jobs and evaluate each role by its autonomy and impact, coupling that with the skills, duties and experience needed to succeed. We find the best comparison and then look at the different subsections of that data to see how the budgeted salary stacks up in the market.

Negotiating Compensation

I get it. It is a charged topic, that no one has coached any of us on how to talk objectively about. Pay transparency is important, and I am a huge advocate for it in organizations that we work with. I encourage staff to talk about their salaries, and I do so knowing that we have internal equity and the company is comfortable where they stand in the industry specific market for their compensation. 

In scrolling through TikTok, there are a few trends I am seeing when it comes to salary negotiation.

The first advocates doing market research on sites to determine the industry’s average for the role. In fact, you might be saying, “Wait, Kaitlin, you can just look on Glassdoor or LinkedIn or any of the other free sites that allow people to self-report their income.” 

You would be right, I could look there, and that is one point of data. That said, working in HR for 15 years, I can tell you that it is extremely rare that when someone is responsible for reporting their salary themselves, either online or in a casual chat with friends and family, that the number they give is accurate. 

People round up, or down, depending on who they are talking to. People give inflated or deflated perspectives on their duties and seniority. 

I have literally been in conversations with five people who I work with around a table, and every one of them lied. 

Also, the data is not collected with clear guidelines, leveling or job families and based almost entirely on title. If you have no other point of comparison, it is definitely something, but it shouldn’t be the basis for decision-making. 

What do I mean?

In addition to the inaccuracy in self-reporting, these averages don’t take into account location, company size, geography or other important factors that can impact salary. As well, there are intangible perks that can be negotiated as part of your compensation, like flexible work hours or working from home, or just working for a company whose values you relate to.

The second camp promotes job-hopping. 

This one bothers me the least. You as an employee have a lot of power. If you are unhappy and have an opportunity to take on a new exciting role somewhere else, go for it. Could the grass always be greener, yes. But you live once, if it feels right, go for it. 

Finally, there’s a camp that is coaching individuals to be aggressive and abrupt when talking about salary or negotiating terms of a contract. 

In my mind, there is just no need for this as long as you are clear on what you will and will not accept as compensation. Let’s talk about it though. The tactics that this camp tend to promote, often push people outside of their values or comfort.  While you should always negotiate and should seek compensation that reflects your expertise and experience, these tactics can border on abrasive and are not the way to go. The reality is that you are speaking with someone you’re vying to work with after the conversation ends. 

My advice, be clear upfront (first conversation) on what you want to make in a role and what your value is. Ask if it is within range for the job you’ve applied for, and then in your contract make sure you work in a 6 month salary review with a possible increase %. Never fails to add clarity and comfort to the process. 

kaitlin sandor-kerr

Finding Someone You Can Trust

So how can you find advice that you can trust? 

The best way to find HR advice is to go straight to the source. Talk to people who have experience in the field, and whose values align with yours. 

For example, Support Panda has over 15 years experience in Human Resources at every level, and for companies large and small.  We are here to help you and your company to thrive. We value transparency and respect, and encourage our clients to create companies that reflect those values.

To learn more about how your company can get advice that it can rely on, book a call with us today. We would love to talk more about how you can build your own foundation of solid advice that has been proven to work.


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